Joints are the places where your bones connect such as wrists, knees, hips, or fingers. Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints causing pain and stiffness. But some types of arthritis can also affect other connective tissues and organs, including your skin. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages, sexes, and races can have arthritis but it occurs more commonly as people get older. The most common types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms of Arthritis
- joint pain, stiffness, and swelling
- redness around the joint
- difficult in moving
- severe pain during daytime
Causes of Arthritis
The causes of arthritis depend on the form of arthritis. Some of the causes are:
- an infection or injuries can cause joint damage that leads to osteoarthritis.
- Severe stress on your knees during knee bends and squats can lead to osteoarthritis (OA).
- Hereditary factors
- Being overweight can make you more likely to get osteoarthritis by putting more stress on joints, particularly your knees, hips and spine.
- When too much uric acid builds up in the body, it may cause painful swollen joints which leads to Gout.
- When your body’s immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake it may cause inflammation in joints leading to a condition called Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
(Also Read: Gout- Natural and Herbal Remedies)
Treatment of Arthritis
“Ayurveda” is a combination of two Sanskrit terms “ayu” (life) and “veda” (knowledge). Medical Practitioners aim to balance the three energy forces, or “doshas,” of life: “vata,” “pitta,” and “kapha.”. Ayurvedic treatment for Arthritis often involves the usage of herbs and supplements.
Several Ayurvedic herbal remedies are promoted today for treating arthritis, including turmeric, ginger, Boswellia serrata, devil’s claw, Triphala, Guggulu (Commiphora wightii), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), willow bark extract, feverfew, Ricinus Communis (castor oil), and Ashwagandha decrease inflammation by interfering with the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body.
Willow bark from willow trees has been used for centuries as a pain reliever. The active ingredient present in the herb is called Salicin which is used to reduce pain and inflammation. Willow bark tea is used for arthritis because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Willow bark is not recommended for people who take blood thinners or anticoagulants, it may cause stomach upset. Some people use willow bark as an alternative to aspirin but always recommend consulting a doctor before starting any new treatment.
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Some studies have found that ginger extracts can reduce the synthesis of chemical substances like leukotrienes responsible for joint inflammation in OA. Ginger is a circulatory stimulant that increases circulation to arthritic joints and increases the effectiveness of other arthritic herbs in a formula.
Ginger tea is used for arthritis because of its anti-inflammatory properties and also a natural way to control sugar (diabetes), helps stimulate digestion and can also help keep your sugar at a stable level while reducing the excess Kapha in your system. Ginger can also interfere with certain medications, including blood-thinning drugs, as ginger may reverse the effects of these types of drugs.
Boswellia (Indian frankincense)
Boswellia, also known as Indian frankincense, is a medicine used in the traditional Indian medicinal practices of Ayurveda. It is extracted from trees in a kind of resin form. It is found to be effective in reducing inflammation, so it may also reduce the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) both for pain and joint degradation. The Arthritis Foundation recommends boswellic acid capsules as a potential therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis. It also inhibits cancer from spreading, and some studies have shown it may completely prevent some types of tumors.
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Curcumin is the active compound in the spice, turmeric, which is a staple of Indian curries. It acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Take curcumin along with black pepper and a source of fat for better absorption.
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Arnica, Comfrey gels and Capsaicin
Some herbal topical applicants come in the form of a cream, gel, patch, or compress that you rub on or apply to your skin. Arnica and Comfrey gels are both useful for relieving arthritis pain. Creams made with the chili pepper extract, Capsaicin, can also help to lessen pain, but they can cause side effects like a burning sensation and skin irritation.
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Several nutritional supplements are found effective in relieving pain, stiffness, and other arthritis symptoms. Glucosamine and chondroitin, omega-3 fatty acids, SAM-e, and curcumin are some of the natural products for osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body and play a role in regulating the immune system. Omega-3s have the potential benefit of protecting against heart disease and dementia, Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include nuts, seeds, and cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, cod, herring and sardines. People can also take omega-3 supplements, and take at least one gram each of EPA and DHA.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. Glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate are naturally occurring substances found in the connective tissues of the body, including the cartilage that covers the ends of bones in the joints. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties and has the potential to help build-up cartilage. The typical dosage is 1500mg for glucosamine sulfate and 1200mg for chondroitin sulfate, taken once daily. For bodyweight less than 100 lbs, the dose is generally reduced to 1000mg for glucosamine sulfate and 800mg for chondroitin sulfate. Patients taking blood-thinners (anticoagulants) should be careful taking chondroitin as it can increase the blood-thinning effect and cause excessive bleeding. Consult your physician before taking any medicine.
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- Vitamins Several vitamins are beneficial for their effects on arthritis, including the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, and vitamins D and K. If you are at high risk for arthritis, your doctor may recommend a vitamin D supplement. Vitamins D and K are both important for bone strength, and vitamin K is involved in cartilage structure. Always check with your doctor before you try any new supplement or treatment.
(Also Read: Diabetes and Treatments)
Natural and Home Remedies:
- Turmeric: The yellow spice which is commonly found in Indian dishes, contains a chemical called curcumin that may help to reduce arthritis pain. Evidence suggests that turmeric root has anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric must be cooked with some type of fat, such as cooking oil, as well as with black pepper for proper absorption into the body.
- Exercise can make symptoms such as pain and swelling better and strengthens the muscles around the joints. Exercise leads to the release of chemicals in the body called endorphins. These are painkillers produced naturally by the body. Releasing them into the blood through exercise can make you feel good. Swimming is particularly suited for patients with osteoarthritis because it allows patients to exercise without adding further stress to the joints. Being overweight can make someone more likely to have inflammation in their body. Make sure to have a healthy, low-fat, low-sugar balanced diet and exercise regularly.
- Hot and cold therapy: Applying local heat before and cold packs after exercise can help relieve pain, swelling and inflammation.
- Physical therapists can help with support devices, such as splints, canes, walkers, and braces. Splints are commonly used in the treatment of wrist arthritis. Finger splints can support individual joints of the fingers.
- Wearing nighttime cotton gloves to keep the hands warm during sleep, Paraffin wax dips, and warm water soaks can help ease hand symptoms. Spine symptoms can improve with a neck collar, lumbar corset, or a firm mattress, depending on what areas are involved.
- Meditation helps you to reduce pain from arthritis by reducing stress. When stress is reduced, inflammation and thus swelling and pain drop.
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