Many of us, when we reach a certain age, learn to live with the odd ache and pain. That’s part of growing old. Some people, however, have more excruciating aches that they must put up with on a daily basis. If you are one of them, this article may be of help to you.
Arthritis, in its most simplest form, is a constant pain in one or more of the joints of your body. One definition on the Internet states, “The pain from arthritis occurs due to inflammation that occurs around the joint, damage to the joint from disease, daily wear and tear of joint, muscle strains caused by forceful movements against stiff, painful joints and fatigue”.
There is a lubricant in your joints known as “synovial fluid”, along with cartilages, which absorb shocks and ensures that the ends of the bones are protected. When this becomes damaged, the ends of the bones rub against each other causing pain, known as osteo-arthritis.
Again relying on the Internet, we find gout can be described as “recurrent attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis. It is caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood which crystallize and are deposited in joints, tendons and surrounding tissues”.
There are several types of arthritis and related ailments, not everybody is going to benefit from the same remedies. But perhaps you can gain some relief from one or two of the following all-natural, non-medicinal suggestions.
Readers of my past articles will know I sing the praises of juicing. A good juicing machine can extract the nutrients and enzymes from fruits and vegetables and immediately inject them into your bloodstream. Well, according to an interview with Eve Campanelli, PhD in Prevention magazine, 85 percent of her patients had experienced at least partial relief of arthritis-related symptoms by drinking two glasses of black cherry juice twice a day. She recommends using cherries which have been kept cool and moist, and which have a deep maroon or black colour.
What makes cherries so beneficial? Studies show that eating cherries and/or drinking their juice helps to keep uric acid levels in check. Some say they are the most powerful medicine in the world for eliminating gout. Eat a cup of cherries a day. Strawberries, blueberries, oranges and guava also help to neutralize the uric acid.
Gout, a 1799 caricature by James Gillray
Pineapples are also highly recommended, as they are the only source of the anti-inflammatory enzyme “bromelain”. The more you read about this enzyme, the more you will be amazed at this all-natural wonder. (Bromelain can be taken as a supplement). It is a natural anticoagulant that breaks down the blood-clotting protein fibrin, therefore possibly helping to improve the symptoms of angina. Bromelain has potent anti-inflammatory properties and may improve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It is said to have anti-cancer properties, aid with urinary tract infections, and so much more.
For vegetables, none may prove any more effective than celery. A nutrient found in celery, “luteolin”, has been shown to be highly effective against inflammation. Luteolin is also found in smaller amounts in peppers, parsley, thyme, basil and peppermint. Include two or more glasses of fresh celery juice with your daily diet.
And according to Cherie Calbom, M.S, a certified nutritionist, and co-author of “Juicing for Life”, people with rheumatoid arthritis should include in their daily diets juices high in the anti-inflammatory nutrients. She adds that parsley, broccoli, and spinach can assist in the treatment of arthritis, since these contain beta-carotene, along with carrots, apples, and ginger, all of which contain copper.
Vitamin E is helpful not only in preventing the breakdown of cartilage, but also in aiding the components necessary for the manufacture of cartilage. Collagen, which is an important element of the cartilage, requires the presence of vitamin C. There are, however, some foods you may want to avoid. In some individuals, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers can actually prevent collagen repair.
Here are a few other natural remedies that can be taken in supplement form:
- Glucosamine & Chondroitin – two of the most popular arthritis relief supplements, these two compounds are found naturally in the body and can aid in promoting joint health
- MSM – a naturally occurring sulphur compound that acts as an anti-inflammatory
- Manganese – an important antioxidant nutrient that helps facilitate enzymes and slow the aging process, useful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
- Niacinamide – also known as Vitamin B3, it helps maintain the integrity of cells and tissues, slowing the progression of arthritis
- Turmeric and Ginger Extract -two powerful anti-inflammatory herbal extracts that have shown to be effective in the treatment of the rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis.
There are herbs that have been used to treat joint pains for centuries. Some herbs typically used for arthritis include: black cohosh, devil’s claw, feverfew, rosemary, stinging nettle, wild cucumber bark and wintergreen. Your local health store should carry most of these, and they can provide you with the best method of ingesting them.
Another alternative treatment that you may want to consider is acupuncture. According to Dr. Peter Yea of the Canadian Association of Acupuncture, almost anyone with arthritic pain will feel some relief after the first treatment. Based on the Chinese theory, acupuncture is thought to decrease pain by increasing the release of chemicals that block pain, called endorphins, (morphine-like chemicals produced in our own bodies during times of pain or stress). Many acu-points are near nerves. When stimulated, these nerves cause a dull ache or feeling of fullness in the muscle. The stimulated muscle sends a message to the central nervous system, causing the release of endorphins. The endorphins then block the message of pain from being delivered up to the brain.
Ultrasound heat therapy is also known to benefit individuals suffering from arthritis. Ultrasound works by warming the affected areas, then invades the body and reaches the inner tissue. Muscle tissue and ligaments are very receptive to this form of energy. The relief this form of treatment provides is long lasting.
Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) has both anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties and it can be absorbed through the skin. Magnesium is one of the most important of the essential minerals in the body, and it is commonly deficient in the American diet. A common remedy for arthritis is a hot bath of Epsom salts. The heat of the bath can increase circulation and reduce the swelling of arthritis.
And a couple of final helpful tidbits: (1) Take a spoonful (or two) of pure apple-cider vinegar daily (2) Drink as much water as you can to flush uric acid from your system.