If you suffer from the joint stiffness, pain and inflammation that is characteristic of arthritis, you are probably looking for ways to alleviate your discomfort. Although various rheumatology treatments are available such as anti-inflammatory medications and pain relieving drugs, many are known to cause side effects in some individuals. Fortunately, there are ways to treat your symptoms naturally without the use of prescription drugs, and this may include diet and exercise, the use of dietary and herbal supplements, physical therapy or massage therapy. Talk it over with your primary care physician or an arthritis specialist, then consider these five options for treating your arthritis symptoms:
1. Eat More Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Foods that contain natural anti-inflammatory properties may help relieve the symptoms of arthritis. Research and studies tout the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for fighting inflammation, and some good choices for your diet include fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna.
You may also find these beneficial fatty acids in various nuts and seeds. Try snacking on butternuts, pecans, walnuts and dried chia seeds. Add these nuts and seeds to recipes as well. By incorporating more nuts and seeds into your diet, you may find that your pain and inflammation has decreased over time.
Many fruits and vegetables contain anti-inflammatory properties as well. Strawberries and blueberries are especially beneficial for fighting inflammation. Dark green, leafy vegetables are helpful as well, as many contain vitamin E which can help guard against inflammation. Kale and spinach are excellent choices, and you may also wish to eat more collards, Swiss chard, mustard greens and broccoli.
Whole grains may also help reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis. For a healthy choice, incorporate whole grains and greens together in recipes such as kale and quinoa cakes or patties. Quinoa is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, according to studies.
2. Get More Exercise
Keep moving to loosen those stiff joints associated with arthritis and to improve your range of motion. Regular exercise will also help you maintain your weight, as obesity may place added stress on joints and cartilage. If you've been sedentary, begin your routine slowly, and choose low-impact exercise, such as walking or swimming. You should not undertake an exercise program without consulting with your physician.
3. Add The Following Supplements to Your Daily Regimen
Try some herbal supplements containing ginkgo or chamomile. These are known to contain anti-inflammatory compounds. You might also want to try glucosamine and chondroitin as daily supplements to prevent further cartilage damage and reduce inflammation. As always, consult with a doctor or pharmacist as some supplements may interact with certain medications and prescriptions.
4. Seek Physical Therapy
Sessions with a licensed physical therapist may help improve your range of motion and improve flexibility, two key factors that may be impaired by arthritis flare-ups. A therapist may also show you how to use devices such as a knee brace or a walking cane. Your physical therapist may also recommend hot and cold treatments to relieve your swollen and painful joints, or demonstrate exercises you can do during sessions and at home. Keep in mind, you may or may not need a referral from your physician to receive physical therapy.
5. Massage Away Your Discomfort
Consider getting a professional massage. Massage may be beneficial in relieving pain, inflammation and stiffness associated with arthritis. For the safest results, have your massage performed by a licensed professional experienced in treating arthritic individuals.
Use caution before trying a new approach to treating your arthritis. You should always seek approval from your physician before attempting any new therapy. In addition, do not discontinue your prescription medications without consulting your physician.