Rheumatoid arthritis (or RA) is a disorder of the inflammatory kind. It usually starts with affecting smaller joints like those on your fingers and toes, but can move up to your wrists, ankles, knees, hips, elbows and even shoulders.
It can ultimately lead to joint deformity or bone erosion. The statistics coming from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) say that back in 2007, over 1.5 million Americans were affected by this disease.
Some further information is that this disease can more commonly be found in women than in men, and is usually diagnosed after 40.
Still, there are some cases where young people, and even children, can develop it. There are plenty of risk factors, among which: smoking, genetics, chronic periodontal disease and exposure to silica mineral.
RA has plenty of symptoms, which can come and go randomly. When one’s tissues are inflamed, this is when this disease shows its ugly face and leads to:
Joint and muscle aches
Once the inflammation subsides in your tissues, the disease becomes inactive again, and any symptoms you’ve had will disappear for the time being.
And even though, currently, there is no known cure for this condition, there are plenty of home remedies to provide you with much-needed relief and minimize your symptoms. We’ve taken the liberty of choosing 10 such remedies for you to choose from.
Regular workouts are one of the first steps you need to take in order to prevent this disorder or, if you’ve already developed it, combat any symptoms.
It can also help with depression which is often a side effect of those with RA, as well as reduce one’s risk of osteoporosis. These are the three types of exercises best for this situation:
- Motion and range exercises – about 30 minutes a day
- Strengthening exercise – two to three times on a weekly basis
- Aerobic or cardio endurance exercises – three to four times per week for about half an hour
We also advise you to seek out an expert on which exercises are best for you as well as those which you should avoid.
2. Cold and Hot Compresses
Alternating between cold and hot compresses can also soothe any RA symptoms. A hot compress relaxes one’s muscles and joints, successfully reducing pain. A cold one, on the other hand, will dull any aches and help reduce inflammation and swelling.
You should hold the hot compress on your affected area for about three minutes. After you remove it, apply the cold one for about one minute. Keep repeating this process during the day until you achieve the relief you need.
If you wish, you can also use just the cold or just the hot compress. But remember, avoid the cold compress if you find you have problems with circulation. Same goes with the hot compress if the area is already hot, red and irritated.
3. Fish Oils
There have been a number of studies throughout the years which prove that fish oils can also serve to minimize any symptoms stemming from RA.
This is thanks to their DHA and EPA fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory in nature and help decrease any pain. Moreover, fish oils have the power to protect one from heart disease, which those with RA are usually more prone to developing.
- Make sure to eat plenty of cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna on a regular basis.
- You can also take fish oil supplements twice daily.
Just be sure to consult with your physician before taking these supplements, as they have a tendency to interfere with specific medications.
A 2012 study found that turmeric, or specifically, its main component, curcumin, has both anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric represents a great natural way of preventing joint inflammation because it has the power to block the cytokines and enzymes which cause it in the first place. Here is how to best use turmeric:
- Add one tbsp. of turmeric to 1 quart of already boiling water, and let it boil for another ten minutes. Let it cool and drink once or twice a day.
- You can also choose to take turmeric capsules (500-1000mg) three times daily, but it’s always best to consult your doctor beforehand.
- You can even add some turmeric powder to your recipes for additional benefits.
Just don’t overdo it, as even something splendid like turmeric can cause problems if taken in overly high doses. It is a natural blood thinner which may lead to an upset stomach.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV also does wonders when it comes to soothing any RA symptoms. It is abundant in many healthy minerals such as potassium, magnesium, phosphorous and calcium. It’s great for reducing inflammation and pain.
- You can take 1 tablespoon of ACV (unfiltered, raw) together with 1 tablespoon of organic honey in half a cup of warm water. Drink this concoction once on a daily basis.
- Or, if you prefer, you can apply some ACV directly onto the area affected. Then, take some warm castor oil and also rub it in nicely. Now just wrap the area in a cotton cloth and cover it with some plastic. Do this each day before going to bed.
Thanks to its potent anti-inflammatory properties, garlic also makes for a great natural soothing agent against any RA symptoms. It can hinder the production of cytokines (which are pro-inflammatory substances) and this leads to a major reduction of any swelling or pain.
For RA patients fresh, raw garlic works best, as it is also one of nature’s most powerful immune system boosters.
- Consume one to two fresh garlic cloves on a daily basis.
- You can also opt for capsules. But be sure to ask your doctor for the proper dosage.
7. Epsom Salts
When it comes to decreasing any RA-caused swelling and pain naturally, Epsom salts do not disappoint. Because they are an abundant source of magnesium, they naturally regulate one’s pH levels.
Which leads to a reduction in any swelled, pained and stiff joints. Additionally, these salts aid in the mineralization of your bones, which is a major plus.
1. Pour two cups of Epsom salt into your bathtub, which you have previously filled with warm water.
2. Soak in this mixture for about half an hour.
3. This is best done for no more than three times on a weekly basis.
This super-spice has been used by our ancestors in order to naturally treat any inflammations and inflammatory diseases. It is praised by both Ayurvedic medicine and naturopathy.
This is largely thanks to its main component called gingerol. Here are some things you can try using ginger:
- Rub a few drops of ginger oil onto the area which is affected. Proceed by exposing the area to some sunshine for about five to ten minutes. This is for generating natural heat and warmth. Repeat this method regularly for best results.
- You can also chew on some fresh slices of ginger on a daily basis.
- You can add it to your food or drink two to three cups of ginger tea per day.
If performed properly, massaging the affected areas can aid greatly in reducing RA-caused pain and relax any stiff muscles you might have. This is because massages stimulate the circulation of your blood.
- Use a combination of lavender oil with olive oil and massage the area with this mixture. Use gentle strokes.
- Another essential oil combination you can try is ten grams of camphor oil in one cup of mustard oil. Heat it up nicely, wait for it to cool and apply where it is needed.
You can do these massages two to three times each day for about several minutes for each round. However, in case your muscles and joints feel too tender, maybe it’s best to skip out on massaging them.
10. Evening Primrose Oil
This is a type of plant oil which is an excellent choice for reducing morning stiffness. This is thanks to an essential fatty acid it contains, called gamma-linolenic acid. Your symptoms are bound to decrease using this oil.
You can take form 540mg to about 2,8 g on a daily basis, in separate doses. But, once again, since this oil supplement can also counteract with specific medications, best to consult with your doctor first.
Some Extra Tips
- Make sure to move enough, so all your joints are included, but don’t overdo it with the movements.
- Avoid any situations which might cause strain on your joints.
- Learn to use the body in such a way as to make it as painless as possible for your joints and muscles.
- Rest every time you feel the need to. Don’t overwork yourself.
- Make sure not to keep your affected joints in the same position for long periods of time.
- While at your workplace, be sure to take a short pause at every hour.
- If you happen to be overweight or obese, losing some pounds will definitely make it easier on your joints.
- Follow a nutritious, healthy diet full of vitamins and minerals, as well as omega-3 fatty acids.
- If you happen to be a smoker, it would be wise to quit as it can cause further complications.
- Same goes for excessive alcohol intakes.
- Keep your brain occupied and happy to avoid any depressing thoughts or concentrate too much on your pain.
- You can even go and join a laughter club. This will not only increase your immunity, but also your personal threshold for pain.
- Consume two to three cups of green tea each day.
- For controlling pain naturally, you can also try meditation or hypnosis techniques.
- While we’re on those, acupuncture can also serve to reduce any pains and relax your muscles.