3 Natural Remedies for Minimizing Arthritis Pain
Chronic pain such as arthritis does not always respond well to conventional drug treatments. However, creating a program for self-management of pain using natural methods can be an effective way to regain control of your life.
Many pain control methods utilize the natural effects of disrupting pain signals to the brain. These signals, while powerful, are subject to many sources of disruption including endorphins and electrical signals. One way to convince your body to create endorphins naturally that interfere with pain is to use heat or cold to override the signals.
Use cold packs to numb specific sore areas. They are good for severe, acute joint pain and swelling caused by a flare-up of symptoms. Heat treatments relax muscles, reducing tension and pain reactions. Dry heat methods, such as heating pads or heat lamps, are useful for spot treatment, while moist heat methods, such as a bath or a hot shower, are good for more general relaxation and relief and generally ease stiffness.
Make sure that the cold and hot treatments you use are not too extreme, and protect your skin. Some pinkness is expected after this type of treatment, but excessive redness can indicate damage. If you have particular issues with circulation or blood clotting, do not use cold packs for any length of time.
Massage and Manipulation
Learn some self-massage techniques, or set up a regular appointment with a professional who has experience of handling arthritis cases. Regular massaging of arthritic joints can reduce pain and improve your range of motion by minimizing stiffness and discomfort. Arthritis pain can make movement very painful. Some sufferers become afraid of too much motion, which can lead to further stiffness, seizures and increased symptoms. By gently manipulating the joints to retain movement, this process is halted and a more normal range of movement often remains possible for a longer time.
Massage also helps circulation and brings gentle warmth to the area under treatment, providing a mild version of heat treatment at the same time. A menthol rub can increase this effect, though it must be removed if further heat treatment is used to prevent overheating. A full body massage can also be helpful by relaxing the body and reducing levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that can exacerbate pain symptoms.
Exercise and Weight Control
While avoiding pain is a natural reaction, decreasing movement because of fear of pain from arthritis can lead to extra stiffness, immobility and other problems. Proactively create and follow a program that features special range-of-motion exercises to keep joints mobile. Include general fitness exercise, such as walking or swimming if weight-bearing exercise is too painful. This helps relieve stiffness and adds to your overall sense of well-being. You also need to keep a close eye on weight gain, which a regular exercise program can help to control; excess weight on sore joints can exacerbate arthritic swelling and pain.
Arthritis is a chronic condition caused by inflammation of the joints, and it cannot currently be cured. However, the various aches and inconveniences it brings can be managed, and there are several natural ways to help improve your quality of life despite arthritis issues. A comprehensive pain management program can put you back in control, and it is likely to be of more help than short-term painkillers.