How to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
This is a chronic and degenerative disease causing 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, 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.
Other symptoms that patients with arthritis suffer from are fever, fatigue, dryness in the mucus membranes (mouth, eyes, etc.), neck pain, and tingling in hands and feet.
Tips for Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis Naturally
Consume borage seed oil as a supplement daily. This oil has Omega-6 fatty acids and 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.
Figure out if you have some kind of allergy, like to milk or wheat, through a medical consultation. It has been proven that many patients can get rid of relieve the symptoms of arthritis by stopping their consumption of certain foods.
Choose the foods that are recommended 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. Also, dried fruits (walnut, almond, hazelnut, pistachio, date), keeping in mind that these have high calorie contents; leafy greens (swiss chard, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, Brussel’s sprouts, spinach), which have antioxidant properties and neutralize the effect of those well-known “free radicals” and fruit rich in vitamin C (oranges, mandarines, kiwi, mango, and strawberries).
Natural Remedies to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Apply cold compresses: This will help reduce swelling and inflammation of your joints. We suggest using ice bags and applying them directly to the area that hurts so that the pain goes away. Apply for 15 minutes max and if you want to repeat, wait a half hour. Be careful because if you use ice, you could burn your skin. It’s best to cover it with a cloth or towel.
- Apply heat to relax your muscles: You can use thermic 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 or put their feet and ankles in a bucket with hot water. If the pain is in your whole body, fill a bathtub and soak for a few minutes, until the water gets cold.
- 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: According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, proper breathing, slowly and deeply from the abdomen, can help arthritis problems by changing your emotional state. It also helps to reduce stress, tension, and anger in difficult situations.
- 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 )for example, your wrists, which are gently resting on your knees or your shoulders that “fall” beneath your neck).
- Do tai chi or yoga: Both oriental practices are very effective and safe for patients that suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. They are highly suggested for elderly people because the movements are gentle and easy. They help increase the entire strength of the bod and improve the range of movement. Also, they have an additional component which is spiritual so that the mind can concentrate beyond the pain.
Images courtesy of handarmdoc, david_jones, Francisco Antunes, Mike Schinkel and Jean Henrique Wichinoski.