These Arthritis Home Remedies May Be Worth A Try As Part Of Your Overall Doctor
While medication is a cornerstone and critical part of managing arthritis, home remedies and lifestyle changes can be important in your arthritis treatment plan too, says Susan Blum, MD, MPH, chronic disease specialist, assistant clinical professor in the department of preventive medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and author of Healing Arthritis: The 3-Step Guide To Conquering Arthritis Naturally.
You need to treat arthritis from a whole body perspective, not simply a medical one, which means incorporating all facets of wellness, including what you do at home, she says. She knows firsthand of what she speaks, noting that she uses home remedies to help her own arthritis and autoimmune disorder. She swears by a daily meditation, green smoothies, gardening, and walking outdoors.
However, its important to note that home remedies should not replace medication. And you need a healthy amount of skepticism when deciding which ones to try and implement, says Don R. Martin, MD, a rheumatologist with Sentara RMH Rheumatology in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Many natural remedies arent backed by science or the research is very limited or weak. And even for therapies that have shown to be effective, supplements and natural therapies are not regulated the same way prescription medications are, so the purity and quality can vary widely, he adds.
Treatment For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Despite the natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis, some people do need additional medication or treatment to treat the condition.
Years ago, aspirin was a mainstay of therapy for rheumatoid arthritis. The problem is it doesnt modify the disease, says Dr. Rosian. It helps with the inflammation, but it doesnt slow the progression. And it gives people lots of bruising and bleeding at the doses that you need to take it.
However, people living with rheumatoid arthritis have more options today. There are more disease-modifying treatments for rheumatoid arthritis now than there ever have been, says Dr. Rosian. Common treatments include anti-inflammatory meds and prednisone, as well as more directed treatments, like immunosuppressive medicines and new families of biologics and oral biologics and injectable medications, she adds.
Its a different disease than it used to be 20, 30 years ago, notes Dr. Rosian. There are so many good medications that slow down the disease. I like to use the phrase remission on meds. People dont develop joint erosions. People dont look like they ever have rheumatoid arthritis if we can detect it and we treat them early.
What Is The Best Natural Treatment For Rheumatoid Arthritis
When you have rheumatoid arthritis, your symptoms including joint pain and swelling can come and go. The times when you feel better and your symptoms are under control are called remission. The goal of your RA treatment is remission. It can make you feel like your RA has gone away at least for a while.
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What Happens In Ra
With continuous swelling and inflammation of your joints, the joint capsule remains stretched and can no longer hold the joint in its proper position. As a result, the joint may become unstable and this can lead to joint damage. The joints affected and the extent to which this happens varies a great deal from person to person. RA usually affects the small joints in your hands and feet, but it can affect many joints including your ankles, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, neck and shoulders. The pain, stiffness, fatigue and whole-body symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can be disabling and can lead to difficulty with daily activities. Effective treatment by a rheumatologist can prevent joint damage and reduce other symptoms of RA.
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How To Tell If A Flare
How can you tell when a flare-up is on its way?
At first, the beginning of a flare-up is similar to the crummy feeling you get when you have a fever or infection.
On top of that, you may notice redness and swelling in the joints and severe morning stiffness.
In general, flare-ups can be unpredictable and often happen after stressful events. In fact, the trigger event can be physical or emotional .
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Watch: Starting Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment
This video is part of an educational project from researchers at Yale University, Berkshire Medical Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Hospital for Special Surgery, CreakyJoints and the Global Healthy Living Foundation, and ArthritisPower. It was made possible with support from the Rheumatology Research Foundation. Watch more videos from this series here.
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Questions For Your Doctor
- How do I know if my joint pain is caused by rheumatoid arthritis?
- Does RA run in families?
- What medicines would work best for me, and what are the side effects?
- Is there anything I can do to prevent flare-ups of RA?
- What are the pros and cons of surgery to treat RA?
- Does RA affect my life expectancy?
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When Ra Goes Untreated: Long
If RA is left untreated in the long-term, it can affect not just your quality of life, but the duration of it, too. Persistent inflammation can lead to a shorter lifespan, Pisetsky explains.
Uncontrolled RA can also increase your risk for heart disease, because RA-related inflammation not only affects the joints, but also the heart. This inflammation can also contribute to narrowing of your blood vessels, according to the AF, which allows plaque to build up.
People who have RA have as much as twice as high a risk for heart disease as the general population, notes the Arthritis Foundation. According to a study published in May 2022 in Arthritis & Rheumatology, the link between RA and heart problems heightens the importance of monitoring and managing heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, and being sedentary. Overall, the more advanced your RA, the greater your risk for heart damage.
Moreover, untreated RA can affect more than just your joints and your heart with complications ranging from skin issues, to bone thinning, to eye complications, and beyond.
That said, following a regular treatment plan that helps slow the progression of your RA can help protect your joints, your heart, your overall health and well-being and your life.
Adopt Healthier Lifestyle Habits
Its very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eat a good diet, consider anti-inflammatory foods, and exercise regularly . Talk with your primary doctor and/or rheumatologist about alternative treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, such as acupuncture or relaxation therapy. Reducing your to reduce your rheumatoid arthritis pain is also an important, and many times undervalued, treatment option.
Its not that a healthy lifestyle will cure rheumatoid arthritis rather, a healthy lifestyle will help you get through each day better and help you better deal with the effects of RA.
It is helpful to keep a medical diary noting medications that work, drug side effects, severity of symptoms, flare-ups, and remissions.
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Tips For Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Management
Other than the pain itself, rheumatoid arthritis can cause many other problems and disruptions in life. There are some things you can do to stay healthy and reduce your pain. These are in addition to your regular treatments.
Here are some tips to help you with your rheumatoid arthritis pain management and coping with the disease:
Dont smoke: Smoking can have serious health consequences on rheumatoid arthritis patients. Smoking causes inflammation, which can complicate these disease and cause more pain.
Be conscious of your use of joints: Try reducing the stress on your joints by being conscious of your daily activities. Picking up items and turning door handles can add pressure to your joints causing them to feel sore. Look for ways to adjust your daily habits and limit the aggressive use of your joints.
Talk to your doctor and rheumatologist: If you still feel pain despite treatment, or you notice new pain, be sure to communicate with your physician and your rheumatologist. There may be additional pain relieving options available.
Seek emotional support: Deal with any stress or trauma you may feel by joining a support group of other rheumatoid arthritis patients. Professional counseling may also help improve your mood and help you to remain positive.
If you continue to experience chronic pain, there are several options for you to try. Talk to your rheumatologist about rheumatoid arthritis pain management options that are right for your individual case.
Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis Naturally
Bone density should be maintained at optimum levels at all times. For this, a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is recommended.
Some form of exercise done for approximately 30 minutes every day will help in maintaining bone and muscle strength, which is necessary to prevent arthritic conditions from striking again and again.
Once arthritic pain develops, then apply ice packs on the affected joints for 20 minutes every 3 to 4 hours, for the first couple of days. This will bring down the pain.
When swelling decreases considerably, apply heat packs to improve blood flow to the affected area.
Perform deep breathing exercises and meditative techniques, for these will help in reducing the perception of pain.
There is this program that has been created especially for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, with the help of which their joint problems can be effectively cured. The program talks about the different abnormal body conditions that could trigger rheumatoid arthritis it helps one in finding their individual cause, and then how to follow it up with natural treatment techniques. It also reveals a whole list of exercises and foods that should be part of the sufferers treatment plan, and those medications and pills meant for treating arthritis which should actually be avoided.
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How To Know If Your Ra Is Progressing
You will know your joints will tell you, Dr. Bhatt says. The pain will get worse and you could have more swelling. Dr. Lally says that although periods of pain may resolve on their own in early RA, these episodes tend to become more frequent and longer in duration until the classic features of RA persist. In addition, Dr. Bhatt says to pay attention to non-joint symptoms like increased shortness of breath or red, painful eyes, which could be signs the RA is affecting other systems in the body. Let your doctor know if your RA symptoms are changing at all.
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Are There Any Natural Remedies For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Most natural remedies dont have enough data to support definitive claims about their benefits. But some evidence suggests these two may be helpful:
Fish oil: Possibly the most thoroughly studied dietary therapy for RA, fish oil is a direct source of omega-3 fatty acids. Moderate-quality research shows that fish oil supplements may reduce RA-related pain. Omega-3s may interfere with the formation of inflammatory molecules called prostaglandins, which in excess may contribute to RA. Still, fish oil can irritate your gut and may interfere with blood clotting and increase stroke risk when taken with aspirin or other NSAIDs. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking it.
Turmeric: The RA community is increasingly interested in the potential anti-inflammatory effects of this golden spice. Several small studies show that turmeric and its major ingredient may help treat arthritis symptoms just as effectively as pain medicines like ibuprofen. Try it in smoothies, soups, and curriesits health benefits may need more research, but its deliciousness is well documented.
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Treatment May Make You More Susceptible To Other Illnesses
Many medications work by lowering the bodys immune system, says Orrin Troum, MD, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Southern California and rheumatologist at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica. This helps the body to stop attacking the joints, but at the same time can make you more susceptible to outside infections, like pneumonia, he says.
This does NOT mean you should stop taking your meds, but its important to know so you can take extra steps to protect yourself from germs and get treatment as soon as possible when symptoms of infections occur, he adds.
Its not just the newer biologic drugs that affect infection risk. Conventional DMARDs like methotrexate and corticosteroids to manage flares can raise your risk of infections as well. Any time your doctor prescribes you medication, its a good idea to ask about infection risk and any precautions you can take to minimize them.
Ways To Improve Prognosis
Despite the unpredictability of rheumatoid arthritis progression, patients can ensure a positive outlook by doing the following:
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle including diet
- Quit smoking and other poor lifestyle habits like drugs and alcohol
- exercising regularly including walking, cycling, and swimming
- Engaging in physical and occupational therapy to help adapt daily routines to any mobility challenges
- Adhering to a personalized medical treatment plan which can include taking DMARDs and other medications
All of these methods are aimed at improving or maintaining the patients quality of life, managing disease symptoms, reducing pain, and very importantly, establishing a positive outlook for the patient.
In some cases, doctors may recommend surgery to completely replace joints or to rebuild them. This can alleviate pain and improve mobility in some cases. While surgery is a viable option, the rates of surgical joint replacements in rheumatoid arthritis patients are declining. This is largely due to the massive improvements in other treatment options, and early detection rates in modern times.
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Ra Pain: What Is The Best Pain Relief For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that can cause severe and debilitating symptoms for patients of many ages. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available today to help control the disease and reduce inflammation, which is the primary cause of pain.
One of the most important aspects of treatment is rheumatoid arthritis pain management. For patients who suffer from chronic pain or frequent flare-ups, knowing how to manage pain on an ongoing basis and as needed is an important part of improving quality of life.
The Pain You Feel Isnt From Your Bones Grinding Together
A popular myth about RA is that the characteristic joint pain is caused by your bones rubbing together at the joint. Not so, says Ed Levitan, MD, of Five Journeys, a functional medicine practice in Newton, Massachusetts. Studies have shown that even if an X-ray shows bone on bone that does not equal pain the pain comes from inflammation of the joint, he explains. So while its important to protect your joints from further damage, with RA its equally important to work on reducing inflammation in your body, he says.
What Is The Goal Of Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment
The goal of treatment is pretty simple: to keep you moving in all the ways you need to. That means reducingand ideally stoppingthe pain and inflammation of RA. The ultimate target is what doctors call remission, or no disease activity. Still, low-disease activitylike a little stiffness in the morning from time to time, instead of extreme stiffness every dayis also a reasonable goal.
What Is It Like To Live With Rheumatoid Arthritis
If youre fighting Rheumatoid Arthritis, you can live an active, normal life, but you may need to practice self-care to minimize your pain and symptoms. Here are a few ways that those suffering from RA manage it:
Physical Activity. Regular exercise is vital. Staying strong and keeping muscles active is a great way to reduce pain. Suggested activities include low-impact aerobics, dance, Pilates, yoga and other exercises that strengthen muscles and promote flexibility. Patients should see a doctor or physical therapist for recommended activities based on their abilities and then lessen the intensity if any joint damage has already occurred.
Diet. Eating foods that help keep inflammation low can be greatly beneficial to those suffering from RA. Most of these items fall into the traditional Mediterranean diet menu of fish, olive oil, fruits and vegetables. Foods to avoid include anything processed like packaged cookies and crackers, and fast foods.
Temperature Therapies. Some Rheumatoid Arthritis patients find relief using heating pads and hot baths to soothe stiff joints and muscles. Alternately, for a rapid reduction of inflammation to numb sharp pain, ice packs can be utilized.
Community. Connecting with others who suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis and/or discussing the ailment with supportive friends and family members may help to mentally navigate the condition.
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Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a lifelong disease. When its treated, it may go away for a little while, but it usually comes back. Its important to see your doctor as soon as symptoms begin. The earlier you start treatment, the better your outcome. Some of the damage from RA is irreversible, so finding the disease and treating it early is very important.
If left untreated, RA can cause other health problems. Your hands may become bent or twisted. Other joints can become deformed. Inflammation will affect your cartilage and bones. Lung and heart problems also can occur. Talk to your doctor if you notice any new symptoms or problems.
Other Supplements And Magnesium Oil
These include joint supplements which can help and are beneficial for the joints. Common joint supplements that may assist you include glucosamine, chondroitin and the well-known pain reliever, turmeric.
Magnesium oil is a mixture of magnesium chloride flakes and water. Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers have been found to benefit from its application to painful joints.
Apply magnesium oil regularly if you want to reverse rheumatoid arthritis.
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