Natural Remedies for RA Relief
Natural Remedies for RA Pain Relief
Those who suffer from RA often find significant pain relief from alternative medicine and natural remedies.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a complex disease of the joints and immune system. Treating it with the skills of a team from many disciplines (both conventional medicine and alternative methods) provides the most effective management. Much more attention is now given to the RA patient's role with this team.
Researchers believe that a combination of factors are involved but admit that ONE exact cause is unknown. Remedies that provide relief for one person may not result in the same relief for another.
The use of various alternative methods of management along with conventional medical treatment is a logical belief about this process toward long-term successful relief.
Not everyone responds to treatment in the same way. There are a lot of important factors to understand and consider when choosing any remedy, including the potential benefits and risks for you. This article is meant to compliment the treatment of your doctor by revealing some additional remedies BEYOND drugs that have helped others significantly.
Foods Known to Remedy RA Symptoms
Adapt your diet a little more each day with these foods that help relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It doesn't have to be a drastic change in one day, but the sooner you injest more of these nutrients, the sooner you may notice relief from RA pain.
- WATER! We all benefit from drinking lots of water, yet people with RA need it even more so. Avoid dehydration as it will affect the joints and increase pain.
- Cold water fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herring have been known for their high Omega -3 fatty acid content. The essential fatty acids are particularly needed by folks who suffer from RA.
- Consume a diet rich in whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
- Include fruitin your diet daily, especially avocados, pineapple, bananas, and blueberries.
A true story about about avocados...Dr John Heinerman, a medical anthropologist, reports he has not found a single case of RA among the Mayan Indians of the Yucatan Peninsula and Guatemala who regularly consume ripe avocado pears. The same is true of various native North West Amazon tribes who live in areas where wild avocados grow in abundance. Only when they give up avocados and start eating a Westernized diet do they start suffering from the disease." (J Heinerman, Encyclopedia of Healing Juices, Parker Publishing, 1994).
- Increase your consumption of vegetables, especially sulfur-containing foods such as legumes, garlic, onions, brussel sprouts, and cabbage. Now if you are shrinking away thinking...YUCK! ... :-) you WERE, weren't you? ...hang in there, for there are creative ways to consume these nutrients, like green smoothies and such.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Non-Drug Remedies
Consider forms of alternative medicine to supplement your RA meds, or maybe even eventually replace them.
While it may be easier said than done, efforts to decrease stress and get adequate sleep is critical for those with RA.
Learn ways to detox the body of harmful impurities.
Soak hands in warm salt water. Take an Epsom Salts bath.
Magnet therapy, fish oil supplements, homeopathy and acupuncture are a sampling of complementary treatments that have been found to be of benefit. Magnet therapy works for some people, but it's not understood why - scientific evidence is still lacking.
Copper There has been some evidence of copper's possible link to RA. Blood levels of copper are often elevated in people with rheumatoid arthritis, which leads some to believe that copper is being drawn out of body tissue stores and then transported by the blood to fight inflamed joints. It is known that copper, like zinc and selenium, is used to form anti-inflammatory compounds in the body and can help counteract the inflammation that occurs with rheumatoid arthritis. Copper is also essential for the body's manufacture of connective tissue, the ligaments, tendons and such that wrap around a joint like rubber bands and keep it stable. In the body, copper combines with salicylate, a compound found in aspirin, and improves the drug's pain-relieving ability.
Nutrients for Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Some swear by borage oil and evening primrose oil both being essential fatty acids which contain very high amounts of GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid) which helps to improve blood pressure and circulation. This GLA may already be included in a quality Omega essential fatty acid supplement, but is worth checking since some swear by this ingredient.
- Copper There has been some evidence of copper's possible link to RA. Blood levels of copper are often elevated in people with rheumatoid arthritis, which leads some to believe that copper is being drawn out of body tissue stores and then transported by the blood to fight inflamed joints. It is known that copper, like zinc and selenium, is used to form anti-inflammatory compounds in the body and so can help counteract the inflammation that occurs with rheumatoid arthritis. Copper is also essential for the body's manufacture of connective tissue, the ligaments, tendons and such that wrap around a joint like rubber bands and keep it stable. In the body, copper combines with salicylate, a compound found in aspirin, and improves the drug's pain-relieving ability.
- green-lipped mussels - A lipid extract from green-lipped mussels was shown in a clinical trial to be effective in reducing pain and improving arthritic condition and improvement of joint function. In this study, 70% of 60 osteoarthritis patients put on a diet of the green-lipped mussels lipid extract were found to have experienced significant improvement in joint tenderness, morning joint stiffness, grip strength and overall have better mobility after four and eight weeks. Another study in Scotland resulted in 76% of RA patients put on the green-lipped mussels lipid extract to report significant improvement.
- Aborigines have used Emu oil as a natural cure for centuries, and research has confirmed that it can reduce inflammation and pain. In some cases natural cures like this have proven to be more effective than the usual prescribed medication.
Quality Supplements and RA Relief
Foods to Avoid & Common Allergies with RA
Identify and eliminate food allergies. The most common food allergies found in people with RA were: wheat, corn, milk and other dairy products, beef, nightshade family foods (tomato, potato, eggplant, peppers, and tobacco.
These food allergies will vary from person to person, so it is recommended to eliminate or limit the following categories of food one at a time - for two months each category. At the end of each trial period, restore the eliminated items to your diet. You may find that one or more has influenced your arthritis symptoms.
- all sugar except natural fruits
- citrus fruits
- wheat, corn and soy
- milk and foods made with milk products.
- saturated fats (meat, dairy) and all hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated or trans fatty acids.
- food additives and preservatives.
- foods high in sugar and simple or refined carbohydrates.
Rheumatoid Arthritis - Did YOU Know?
- in the same way there is a link between diabetes and blood pressure, there is a link between rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease?
- there is an association between autoimmune disorders and food allergies. Victims of rheumatoid arthritis can suffer flare-ups when they eat certain foods?
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Exercise
Regular movement via wise exercise is KEY for RA!
The pain of arthritis will often make exercise less enjoyable, so those with this condition may be tempted to give up being active. However, doctors suggest that one of the best remedies for rheumatoid arthritis pain is movement. This leaves many people wondering what their best option is: how do they remain active without risking more pain? Gentle range of motion exercises that are low impact are the best options.
* Swimming is excellent since it is aerobic yet easier on the joints than weight bearing exercise. The Arthritis Foundation says the following in "Why Water Exercise?" "The soothing warmth and buoyancy of warm water make it a safe, ideal environment for relieving arthritis pain and stiffness. Immersing in warm water raises your body temperature, causing your blood vessels to dilate and increasing circulation. Water exercise is a gentle way to exercise joints and muscles. Water supports joints to encourage free movement, and may also act as resistance to help build muscle strength. Using a spa adds a component to the therapy - massage. Jet nozzles release warm water and air, massaging your body and helping you relax tight muscles."
* Yoga As a low-impact exercise, yoga it puts very little strain on the joints. Other advantages include: Yoga promotes strengthening and stretching the body, and also supports relaxation and proper breathing. All of these benefits can help with rheumatoid arthritis pain. Doing yoga also improves blood circulation to joints, which relieves pain and inflammation. There are many poses which can relieve pain in specific areas like the hands or hips. Practicing yoga helps balance all of the body's systems, including its immune defenses. Correcting immune system problems can greatly reduce the instance of pain related to rheumatoid arthritis.
* Walking for at least 20 minutes can make a big difference if swimming or yoga feels beyond your reach. A brisk daily walk will improve circulation and provide aerobic benefits to relieve RA symptoms.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2009 Carolan Ross