Arthritis by definition is an “inflamed jointed”- Arth= Joint, Itis = inflammation. There are three types of arthritis – Osteo/degenerative arthritis which causes cartilage, the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint—to break down and decay causing bone to bone irritation/inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the joints, beginning with the lining of joints. A relative new form of arthritis has also been discovered, Reactive arthritis-one that results in joint pains that come and go-often due to an underlying infection or reaction due to a food sensitivity or exposure to a biotin (Mold increases in concentration when it rains and if sensitive it can cause your joints to swell and become painful-ie “My Arthritis Flairs Up When It Rains”.
Regardless of the type, here are some proven natural techniques that can help you to kick “Uncle Arthur” to the curb:
EPSOM SALT SOAK – One of the top remedies for bone and joint pain, an Epsom salt bath, may help relieve pain—particularly heel pain. Epsom salt baths are proven to relieve pain, including arthritis pain and inflammation, psoriasis, sore muscles and tired and swollen feet.
If your feet and ankles hurt, soaking them in a deep pan or bucket may help. If your arthritis pain is more widespread, a warm bath with Epsom salt can help relax muscles and relieve pain.
COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENTATION – Known for improving skin health and reducing joint pain, collagen is essential for those with reactive arthritis. In a clinical trial of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, type II collagen was shown to decrease swollen and tender joints after three months.
The Arthritis Foundation explains that collagen supplements include a form of predigested collagen that make the essential amino acids more available to your tissue. In a recent study published in Nutrition Journal, researchers found that individuals with osteoarthritis taking type II collagen experienced less pain, less stiffness and better functioning than those taking the placebo.
It is important to note that type II collagen should be taken in smaller doses (20 mg to 40 mg) as it is not intended to be used as a collagen builder, but as an element to train the immune system to stop attacking the existing collagen in the body.
MEDITATION – Reactive arthritis can cause moderate-to-severe pain and inflammation in the joints. This pain and discomfort can affect the quality of life. Meditation, in the form of guided meditation, visualization exercises or other forms can help ease both acute and chronic pain. The Arthritis Foundation states that arthritis symptoms aren’t just physical; this disease takes atoll emotionally as well. A clinical trial—the results of which were published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine—found that meditation practice improves pain and depression symptoms, as well as quality of life.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET – Arthritis symptoms and inflammation go hand-in-hand. While you are experiencing reactive arthritis or Reiter’s syndrome symptoms, eating a diet low in inflammatory foods is essential. Expand your diet with some of the top anti-inflammatory foods: green leafy vegetables, Brussels, celery, beets, broccoli, blueberries, wild-caught salmon/fish, organic bone broths, coconut oil, avocado oil and curcumin/turmeric.
CHIROPRACTIC CARE – Since its inception in 1895 chiropractors have been adjusting spinal and extremity joints to treat a wide range of ailments and diseases. Chiropractic is most helpful with arthritis by re-aligning the joint so that normal movement scan take place. This can relax the muscles, improve flexibility and reduce joint pain. According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), chiropractic treatments can help relieve arthritis pain and several studies have been done showing that regular chiropractic care over time (10+years) can prevent arthritis from forming and slow/stop the progression for those already diagnosed.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY SUPPLEMENTS – Since the arthritis pain is from an inflamed join, the obvious way to stop the pain is to reduce or eliminate the inflammation. Natural, plant-based anti-inflammatories are far better than over the counter anti-inflammatories (such as ibuprofen).
Some of the best anti-inflammatory supplements include • Mullein • Curcumin • Omega-3 • SAM-e • Zinc • Cat’s Claw
ICE + HEAT THERAPY (Infrared Heat) – Ice therapy can help to reduce swelling and pain, while reducing inflammation (Note: Never place ice directly onto your skin for long durations). Use an ice pack or cold pack on your inflamed/painful joint for 15-20 min. Then, immediately, place an infrared heating pad onto the painful joint for 15-20 min. You can also use a hot water bottle and a warm, moist towel. This “ice-heat” contrast therapy when done for 1-2 hours, in 15-20 min alternating sessions, can help to not only reduce inflammation but invite fresh blood and other nutrients into the joint for natural repair.