The freedom of movement is granted by the health of our bones and joints in the body. There are numerous medical conditions that can limit this freedom such as injury or overuse however the most common is arthritis. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention projects that by 2040 an estimated 26% (78 million) US adults aged 18 years and above will be diagnosed with arthritis.
Arthritis has a spectrum of more than 60 conditions that fall under it. The most common types that affect a majority are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis develops in middle aged people as a degenerative disease. Over time the cartilage cushion found in joint between bones wears off leading to bones rubbing against each other resulting in pain, stiffness and reduced mobility. Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto immune disease that affect people aged 40 and above. In this case the synovial tissue that lines the joints is attacked by the body’s own immune system resulting in painful inflammation. Osteoarthritis affects the feet, the knees, hips and spine while rheumatoid affects the wrists and hands.
Arthritis has no cure so the treatment seeks to manage the pain and slow down the progression of the disease. Although pain relieving mediation can improve the quality of life for those who have arthritis one may consider taking a doctor recommended supplement or a homemade one such as ginger extract twice a day. It has anti-inflammatory effects that reduce knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Other supplements include fish oil capsules, vitamin E and glucosamine.
A relaxing bath with Epsom salts is a remedy for any muscle or joint ache. Epsom salts lower inflammation relaxes and reduces muscle spasms. As it is high in magnesium and sulphates, this makes it easily absorbable through the skin having immediate effect. Other than a 20 minute soak in Epsom salt one could apply it directly. Soak a towel in a solution of two cups of the salt to one gallon of water and press against the skin.
Although many believe that exercise will aggravate joint pain, the opposite is true. Muscles get stiff and weaken due to inactivity. Such muscles not being able to support the bones puts more pressure on the joints which increases pain. Regular exercise such as swimming, water aerobics, cycling, walking and yoga can help strengthen the affected joints and muscles, consequently reducing pain.
While gaining weight makes one prone to having arthritis, losing it has the opposite effect. Obese individuals have high concentrations of cytokines which is an inflammatory chemical that plays a role in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore excess weight puts pressure on the hip joints and knees thus wearing out the cartilages.
A remedy that not only helps with weight loss but can treat joint and bone pain caused by inflammation and swelling is simply adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet. This includes eating fish which has omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds, walnuts, fruits and vegetables.
Try out these remedies and don’t let arthritis limit your lifestyle.