THE HEALTH AND FITNESS BLOG
June 04, 2022 – By Dr. Haider Khalid
Arthritis is a common joint ailment that affects 1 in every 4 US adults. It primarily involves pain and inflammation of the joint. Unfortunately, it is a degenerative joint disease whose symptoms worsen due to progressive damage.
Arthritis can be of two types. Autoimmune arthritis presents with generalized inflammatory symptoms in addition to joint problems. In contrast, osteoarthritis is due to the wear and tear of the joint’s protective cartilage. Therefore, it doesn’t present with generalized symptoms of the body.
Doctors prescribe pain killers to manage joint pain in both types of arthritis. But for improving your symptoms, they would recommend several natural techniques. This article will tell you about some of the important natural approaches that you can adopt to relieve joint pain with arthritis.
Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
As evident from general experience, more body weight puts more pressure on the joints. Therefore, increased body weight does not directly cause the symptoms of arthritis. However, being obese or overweight may worsen your symptoms, especially pain due to pressure effects.
For this reason, doctors strongly recommend patients with osteoarthritis lose weight if their body weight is above average. Moreover, you can visit your doctor to know about your target weight. He will also tell you ways through which you achieve this goal.
Weight loss provides you with multiple benefits. It reduces the excruciating joint pain and also helps to improve the mobility of the joint due to low pressure (1). Furthermore, you can also reduce your risk of further joint damage after losing unhealthy weight.
What Should You Eat?
Do you know that your diet can either be your friend or enemy? Thus you should think before you eat. So here I will tell you about some of the foods you should eat and the foods you need to avoid.
What foods to eat?
In both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, you should prefer a diet that contains more plant-based components such as fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables contain a significant supply of minerals and vitamins. In addition, they help to boost your immune function. In this way, these dietary factors can help your body better fight the degenerative changes of arthritis.
The benefits of a plant-based diet are not only limited to boosting immunity. It is also a good source of antioxidants that help to remove several inflammatory mediators from the body (2). Less inflammation then leads to less pain in the joints.
What foods to avoid?
In arthritis, you should avoid foods like red meat, saturated fat, and other processed foods that aggravate your joint inflammation. For example, eating red meat is a potential risk factor for gout (3), an inflammatory and degenerative disease related to the joints.
In addition, these foods also increase your risk of obesity and other chronic ailments (4). Thus, it is better to avoid them.
Moreover, controlling your diet is one of the ways through which you can relieve your joint pain naturally in arthritis.
The nightshade vegetables should also be avoided as they tend to make the joints inflamed. These include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers.
Indulge in Regular Exercise
There is no scientific evidence that directly relates exercise to the management of arthritis. However, patients who indulge in regular exercise tend to have less aggressive symptoms than those who sit idle and do nothing.
Exercise can help you relieve your arthritis symptoms in several ways (5). First, exercise helps you lose weight that reduces pressure on the joints. Second, exercise keeps your joints flexible and enhances mobility, which helps to relieve pain. Last but not least, exercise provides strength to muscles that help to provide support.
You don’t have to do heavy exercise for arthritis, as it can aggravate the symptoms. Instead, you should focus more on less intense sports activities such as cycling or brisk walking.
Herbs to Relieve Joint Pain in Arthritis
You can also use herbal remedies to relieve joint pain in arthritis. Some of the effective herbs that you can use to relieve symptoms include,
Boswellia boosts immune response and helps to relieve inflammation in the joints. Both of these effects help reduce the severity of arthritis symptoms. However, its use is not recommended due to several side effects (6).
It is the extract of the pineapple plant. It is mainly known for its effect on reducing inflammation and pain. According to research, bromelain use can be a safer alternative treatment method for osteoarthritis (7).
Devil’s claw is a unique plant that shows resemblance to a spider. Hence, one of its common names is a wood spider. Extract of this plant helps reduce pain and inflammation related to arthritis. However, in a clinical study, no evidence was found that shows the betterment of the symptoms of osteoarthritis after consuming this particular herb (8).
However, in another study, patients with rheumatoid arthritis after eight weeks of treatment with devil’s claw showed significant improvement in their symptoms (9).
Other Herbal Products
In addition to the formerly mentioned herbs, some other herbs have the potential to relieve pain in patients with arthritis. Some of the important ones include,
Thunder god vine
You need to know that health authorities do not certify all herbal products. Therefore, it would be best to consult first with your doctor.
What Can Turmeric Do to Help?
Turmeric is a yellowish spice part of several Indian dishes. It contains a compound that is known as curcumin. According to research, this substance helps relieve pain and inflammation in the body (10). Indians also add this spice while drinking milk to achieve its health effects. If you have arthritis, you can also relieve your pain and inflammation using turmeric products.
- Li J-S, Tsai T-Y, Clancy MM, Li G, Lewis CL, Felson DT. Weight loss changed gait kinematics in individuals with obesity and knee pain. Gait & Posture [Internet]. 2019 Feb [cited 2022 Jun 4];68:461–5. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0966636218305873
- Benzie IFF. Evolution of dietary antioxidants. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A, Molecular & Integrative Physiology [Internet]. 2003 Sep 1 [cited 2022 Jun 4];136(1):113–26. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14527634/
- Saag KG, Choi H. Epidemiology, risk factors, and lifestyle modifications for gout. Arthritis Research & Therapy [Internet]. 2006 [cited 2022 Jun 4];8(Suppl 1):S2. Available from: https://arthritis-research.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/ar1907
- Louzada ML da C, Baraldi LG, Steele EM, Martins APB, Canella DS, Moubarac J-C, et al. Consumption of ultra-processed foods and obesity in Brazilian adolescents and adults. Preventive Medicine [Internet]. 2015 Dec [cited 2022 Jun 4];81:9–15. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743515002340
- Ellis M. 9 Ways to Get Relief from Arthritis Pain Naturally [Internet]. Healthline. 2020 [cited 2022 Jun 4]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/osteoarthritis/arthritis-natural-relief#exercise
- Umar S, Umar K, Sarwar AHMdG, Khan A, Ahmad N, Ahmad S, et al. Boswellia serrata extract attenuates inflammatory mediators and oxidative stress in collagen induced arthritis. Phytomedicine [Internet]. 2014 May [cited 2022 Jun 4];21(6):847–56. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0944711314000750
- Brien S, Lewith G, Walker A, Hicks SM, Middleton D. Bromelain as a Treatment for Osteoarthritis: a Review of Clinical Studies. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine [Internet]. 2004 [cited 2022 Jun 4];1(3):251–7. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC538506/
- Whitehouse, L. W., Znamirowska, M., & Paul, C. J. (1983). Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens): no evidence for anti-inflammatory activity in the treatment of arthritic disease. Canadian Medical Association journal, 129(3), 249–251.
- Warnock M, McBean D, Suter A, Tan J, Whittaker P. Effectiveness and safety of Devil’s Claw tablets in patients with general rheumatic disorders. Phytotherapy Research [Internet]. 2007 [cited 2022 Jun 4];21(12):1228–33. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.2288/abstract
- Hewlings S, Kalman D. Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health. Foods [Internet]. 2017 Oct 22 [cited 2022 Jun 4];6(10):92. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2304-8158/6/10/92