The Best Arthritis Remedies

What is Arthritis?

The word arthritis itself means “joint inflammation”.  There are over 100 different types of arthritis and they involve prolonged inflammation of the joint(s).  Arthritis is associated with pain, swelling, tenderness, redness, and stiffness of the joints involved.  Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are two of the more common types of arthritis.  As many kinds of arthritis there are out there are, there are arthritis remedies of all different types.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that can affect different joints of the body but most commonly the hands, wrists, and knees.  In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system is not able to correctly recognize the involved joints as its own and attacks them causing the inflammation.  The prolonged inflammation of the joints brought on by this attack can eventually result in damage to the cartilage and bone.  Severe rheumatoid arthritis can involve other areas of the body such as nerves and skin.

Osteoarthritis is another type of arthritis which is also the most common type.  It is different from rheumatoid arthritis in that wear-and-tear of the cartilage which covers the end of each bone is what brings about the damages.  When the joints lose the protection of the cartilage, the bones essentially are left to rub against each other damaging each other with the friction created.  Osteoarthritis is often noted on weight-bearing joints such as the knee or the hip for obvious reasons but it can involve any of the joints in the body.  It is believed that genetic predisposition is a big factor since family history is a big predictor for the condition.  Although overuse can definitely speed up the process, the way the joints meet and the basic layout of the skeletal structure is hereditary leaving some to be more prone to the condition.  However, it is believed by some that some degree of osteoarthritis is present in almost everyone over the age of sixty.

Arthritis Remedies

Diet modification can be a great arthritis remedy. Adding fish to your diet not only provides you with omega-3 fatty acid which is known to reduce inflammation in the body but many are also rich in vitamin D essential in bone building and vitamin A which helps the body fight inflammation as well. Flax seed oil is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acid. There is a certain amount of risk in patient taking blood thinners since it increases the risk of bleeding so it must be used after consulting a physician. Many citrus fruits rich in vitamin C are also believe to have some anti-inflammatory effect which may serve in reducing pain in arthritis.

Epsom salt is a well known arthritis remedies easily used at home. It is high in magnesium which is important in supporting the ability of the body to absorb calcium and phosphorus, two of the main bone-building minerals. The strengthening of the bones is thought to curb further damage from the loss of cartilage.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin have mixed reviews from the medical community as well as the patients. They are some of the building blocks of cartilage that also appear to stimulate production of cartilage by the body. Some of the studies show some benefits in patients with arthritis but others studies show that there is no significant improvement in pain or cartilage production resulting in the protection of the joints. They are not recommended as arthritis remedy in patients with diabetes since they have the tendency to increase blood glucose level. They have been shown to have some blood-thinning effects which may hinder use by some. Pregnant or nursing women are not advised to take them since the effects on the fetus or an infant are not known at this time. There is no long-term study supporting use of Glucosamine and Chondroitin and though it is expected for the combo to take a while to show full benefit, if it does not show any noticeable benefit after 3 months or so it could be assumed perhaps, it will not be effective for that patient.

Acupuncture is also an arthritis remedy that some may benefit from.  It is based on the thought that illness is due to an imbalance of energy within one’s body.  The more modern interpretation of the mechanism is that it may increase the release of endorphins that block pain.  Trusted by any for thousands of years, it may not be right for everyone but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that it can help with multitude of conditions including arthritis.

Exercise and physical therapy are great arthritis remedies.  Once there is pain in utilizing a certain joint, we are less likely to use the joint in order to avoid pain.  Overutilization of the joint can worsen arthritis but so can underutilization.  By not using the affected joints, they become more and more stiff and pain increases.  Engaging in regular exercise or employing modes of physical therapy one can expect to increase the ability to perform normal, everyday movements.

Medication can offer pain relief for some patients with arthritis.  Acetaminophen is often used for pain relief at home.  If pain relief is not achieved with acetaminophen alone, narcotic pain medications containing Hydrocodone or Oxycodone as well as others may be prescribed by a physician. Narcotic pain relievers, however, carry with them side effects such as constipation, dry mouth, difficulty urinating, and drowsiness which are especially worrisome in older patients who may already be prone to such issues or may cause falls which have been known to increase mortality rates.  Another class of medications called NSAIDs may also be used as arthritis remedies.  NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can decrease inflammation and have analgesic effects which may provide a two-fold benefit.  Certain types of injections such as corticosteroids can sometimes be combined with pain medications to provide reduction in pain as well as inflammation.

Joint replacements surgery is also an option for certain joints in the body and can sometimes be very helpful for badly damaged joints.  However, they are cost-effective and much like any surgery, are associated with a certain amount of risks.  Very involved discussions with a trusted surgeon are certainly recommended before taking on such measure.

There are numerous types of arthritis remedies available currently.  However, the abundance of information and routes only increase the responsibility of the patient to learn about the condition and consult the appropriate healthcare professional in order to obtain the most favorable outcome from whatever therapy chosen.   Arthritis can wreak havoc on one’s life is not well controlled.  The earlier you take control of it the less likely it will take control of you.  Seize the day today and better your life! 

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Comments 4 comments

Betty Reid profile image

Betty Reid 6 years ago from Texas

Interesting hub with good information and suggestions!

terixf profile image

terixf 6 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Betty! There are so many types of arthritis out there and as many types of arthritis remedies that I think sorting out what is best for each person is a lot of work. Being a pharmacist, I am in contact with arthritis patients very often and wanted to shed some light on some of the arthritis remedies to help.

MaryRenee 6 years ago

Terixf: Thanks for sharing this hub! Many helpful tips and suggestions! :)

terixf profile image

terixf 6 years ago from USA Author

Thank you. Arthritis can be a very painful condition but if managed well with the right arthritis remedies, the level of pain does not necessarily impede normal functioning. I wanted to share some information on different remedies for arthritis to help those who live with it everyday and those who care for them.

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