How to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

· 19th June 2015

Rheumatoid arthritis is degenerative disease that causes inflammation in the membrane that protects the cartilage of the joints. This condition can be very painful and is especially prevalent in women over the age of 40. This inflammation of the membrane causes damage and erosion to the bone. This chronic condition can be debilitating but there are a number of natural ways to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

There are various symptoms to look out for. The main symptoms are swelling and painful inflammation of the joints. The commonly affected areas of the body include the wrists, ankles, shoulders, knees, hips and the fingers and toes. Many sufferers feel stiff first thing in the morning and find it difficult to mobilise these joints without pain.

Another symptom are rheumatoid nodules, which appear as bulges in the skin. These bulges can also occur inside the body but are especially common on the hands and feet. When this degenerative disease is more advanced, this inflammation and bulging can lead to severe deformities of the joints. 

Some other less obvious symptoms include fatigue, fever, dryness in the mucus membranes (such as the mouth and eyes) and a tingling sensation in the hands and feet.

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Ways to combat rheumatoid arthritis 

Exercise

It is important to exercise regularly but focus on low-impact activities to lessen the chance of aggravating the joints. Good choices include walking, swimming and stretching. Yoga is a great form of exercise to try.

Allergies

Some people have allergies to certain foods, such as milk or wheat. It can be helpful to arthritis sufferers to discover if they have allergies as this can increase pain in the joints. Patients should have a medical consultation to rule out allergies, because many people feel relief from arthritis symptoms once they eliminate a certain food from their diet.

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Food

Certain foods can help aid mobilisation and improve joint function. It is an excellent idea to consume borage seed oil as a daily supplement. This nutritious oil contains omega-6 fatty acids. Borage seed oil has been proven to lessen the pain associated with arthritis.

There are a number of excellent food choices which can help to relieve pain from arthritis. Blue fish, such as trout, mackerel and sardines, are good choices as they all contain omega-3 fatty acids and are anti-inflammatory. Vegetable oils are also high in essential fatty acids. Other foods which can reduce arthritis symptoms include: dried fruits, leafy green vegetables, and fruit that is high in vitamin C.

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Natural remedies  

In addition to altering your diet, here are various other methods that can help relieve symptoms of arthritis: 

  • Cold compresses

This helps reduce swelling and inflammation in the joints. It is easy to use bags of ice and apply them directly to the painful area for 15 minutes at a time. Always cover the ice with a cloth first because it can burn the skin.

  • Hot compresses

Heat can help to relax the joints and muscles. You can use a plug-in thermic pillow or simply soak a towel in hot water. Another simple method for a heat treatment is to soak feet in a bowl of hot water or for a full body treatment, lie in the bath.

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  • Relax the mind and body

The body and mind are strongly connected. Relaxing the mind can help to relax the body. Controlling stress and improving sleep can help to improve the symptoms of arthritis and reduce pain. Concentrate on relaxing every muscle in the body, from the head to the feet.

  • Breathe properly

Proper breathing helps hugely in controlling pain. Proper breathing means taking slow, deep breaths from the abdomen. The right kind of breathing can help arthritis pain by changing your emotional state, which reduces tension and stress.

  • Meditate

Meditation is linked to relaxation, concentration and deep breathing. Meditation can reduce the resting heart rate and reduce pain. It also helps to alleviate depression, and stress, while increasing concentration and self-awareness.

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  • Practise yoga 

Both yoga and tai chi are excellent for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The basic poses are simple and gentle on the joints and so they are ideal for the elderly and those with mobility problems. Yoga and tai chi strengthen the body. These exercises can also help you to relax and de-stress. Used alongside proper breathing and meditation, yoga and tai chi are powerful methods of reducing pain from arthritis.

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