How to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

· April 10, 2015
Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating illness, but there are natural ways to treat the pain and symptoms, and we bring you several of them in today's article

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic and degenerative disease. It causes inflammation in the membrane that protects and covers the cartilage of the joints. When the bone gets inflamed, it becomes damaged and eroded. This is different from arthrosis, which causes lesions to the joint cartilage. It causes a great deal of pain, especially in women older than 40. Learn how to treat rheumatoid arthritis in the following article.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

The main and most visible symptom is swelling or inflammation of joints, which will cause a lot of pain. The most affected areas of rheumatoid arthritis are the wrists, elbows, shoulders, fingers, toes, hips, ankles, and knees. It is common in those patients that suffer from this disease to have a sensation of stiffness. This happens especially when they wake up in the morning.

Rheumatoid nodules can also appear. These are bulges in the skin (especially on the back of hands and feet) or inside the body. The inflammation gives way to the deformation of joints when the disease reaches an advanced state.

Woman with arthritis in hands

Other symptoms that patients with arthritis suffer from are fever, fatigue, dryness in the mucus membranes (mouth, eyes, etc.). In addition to that they will experience neck pain, and tingling in hands and feet.

How to treat rheumatoid arthritis naturally

Borage seed oil is quite helpful to treat rheumatoid arthritis, and you can use it as a daily supplement. This oil has Omega-6 fatty acids. It has been proven to be an effective remedy to lessen and alleviate the pain that causes arthritis.

Do proper exercise, and avoid the ones that are harmful. We recommend the aerobic kind with low impact, like swimming, walking, or stretching. It’s likely that the first days you will feel pain after you exercise, but this is normal, don’t stop. When your body gets used to it, it will get less and less bothersome.

Swollen fingers with arthritis

 

Figure out if you have some kind of allergy, like to milk or wheat, through a medical consultation. Many patients can relieve the symptoms of arthritis by stopping their consumption of certain foods.

There are several foods that we can recommend for treating the pain from this disease. These are blue fish (trout, mackerel, and sardines) which have Omega-3 fatty acids and are anti-inflammatory. Vegetable oils (olive, walnut, rape, or linseed) are also rich in these acids. We recommend consuming them raw so that their properties are conserved.

We can add to that dried fruits (walnut, almond, hazelnut, pistachio, date). However, you must keep in mind that these have high calorie contents. Leafy greens are also very good. These include swiss chard, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts and spinach.

Leafy greens have antioxidant properties and neutralize the effect of those well-known “free radicals“. It’s also important to take fruit rich in vitamin C (oranges, mandarines, kiwi, mango, and strawberries).

Oranges growing on tree

Natural remedies to treat rheumatoid arthritis

  • Apply cold compresses. This will help reduce swelling and inflammation of your joints. We suggest using ice bags to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Apply them directly to the area that hurts. Apply for 15 minutes max and, if you want to do it again, wait a half hour. Be careful, because ice can burn your skin. It’s best to cover it with a cloth or towel.
  • Apply heat to relax your muscles. You can use thermal pillows, which plug in and give heat to apply to the area that hurts. You could even wet a towel in hot water and apply it. Some people heat a cloth with the steam from boiling water. Others place their feet and ankles in a bucket of hot water. If the pain is in your whole body, fill a bathtub and soak for a few minutes.
  • Use body and mind therapy. When the “conventional” treatments for arthritis are added to techniques to control stress, become aware of pain, or improve sleep, the symptoms reduce notably.
  • Breath properly. Proper breathing can help to treat rheumatoid arthritis problems. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has shown this to be effective. It has to be slow and deep breathing from the abdomen, and it can help to change your emotional state. It also helps to reduce stress, tension, and anger in difficult situations.

Read more: How to Keep Your Mind Fit and Sharp

Elderly man doing marathon

More remedies

  • Take advantage of muscular and progressive relaxation. You will need to be well concentrated and relax each and every one of your muscle groups in your body. Start from your head, through the neck and arms, back, chest, stomach, pelvis, hips, legs, and feet. You can be seated or laying down (without falling asleep). Breath deeply and slowly.
  • Meditate. This therapy lets you reduce cardiac frequency and gets rid of your pain. It also reduces depression, anxiety, stress, and helps increase concentration and self awareness. The lotus flower pose also lets you relax some muscles and joints.
  • Do tai chi or yoga. Both oriental practices are very effective and safe for patients that suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. They are highly recommended for elderly people because the movements are gentle and easy. They help increase the entire strength of the body and improve the range of movement. Also, they have an additional component which is spiritual so that the mind can concentrate beyond the pain.

Read more: Why is it Good to Practice Yoga?

Woman doing yoga outside

Images courtesy of handarmdoc, david_jones, Francisco Antunes, Mike Schinkel and Jean Henrique Wichinoski.