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By: Marissa Salvesen on October 21st, 2014

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Natural Ways to Ease Arthritis Pain

assisted living | Healthcare For Senior Adults | arthritis | Aging & Caregiving

arthritisArthritis -- caused by the wearing away of joint cartilage which over time leads to bone rubbing against bone -- can be a painful and debilitating condition.

While it’s possible to treat arthritis with painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications, these are often accompanied by unpleasant side effects.

If your aging loved one is suffering from arthritis pain, try these natural remedies known for offering gentle relief, free of side-effects.

Weight Loss

While it’s far from a quick fix, weight loss is a significant and lasting remedy for arthritis. Every pound you lose results in an exponential decrease in pressure on the knee joints. If your loved one struggles with arthritis in their knees, a 10 or 20 pound weight loss may completely eliminate the symptoms. 

Physical Activity

Exercise and weight loss go together, but both offer unique benefits to arthritis sufferers. Moving your joints on a regular basis helps keep them flexible. Stick with low-impact exercises, such as swimming and water aerobics, which promote joint flexibility without putting stress on your body. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking and running, should be limited to soft surfaces.

Massage Therapy

While a visit to the chiropractor won’t cure your arthritis, it may offer relief from muscle spasms and scar tissue caused by the condition. Massaging arthritic joints can improve range of motion while lessening pain. Physical therapy is also an invaluable resource for people suffering from arthritis, as are self-massage techniques.

Acupuncture

Multiple studies have shown the benefits of acupuncture for arthritis pain relief.  This ancient Chinese medical practice uses needles to stimulate energy flow and bring the body into better balance. While acupuncture may not work for everyone, many people have had great success in alleviating joint pain through this treatment method.

Dietary Supplements

Bromelain, devil’s claw, stinging nettle, boswellia, ginkgo and thunder god vine are all reported to help reduce joint pain associated with arthritis. Other recommended herbal remedies include avocado soybean unsaponifiables  (ASU), rose hips, turmeric and fish oil, although there is no conclusive evidence regarding their effectiveness. Just be sure to speak with your physician before taking any new supplements.

Relaxation Techniques

Yoga, deep breathing exercises, and other relaxation methods not only reduce stress, but also foster critical coping mechanisms. In particular, the practice of mindful meditation has been shown to offer relief for people suffering from the combination of arthritis and depression.

Electricity

Transcutaneous electrostimulation (TENS) and electroacupuncture have both been proven to help ease joint stress while offering temporary pain relief. In the former, physical therapists surround the affected joint with electrodes, which deliver electromagnetic pulses. The latter treatment involves placement of needles -- which deliver an electric charge -- at acupuncture points. 

Hot and Cold Therapy

Both hot and cold treatments offer relief from painful muscle spasms and other arthritis symptoms. Warm baths and showers ease stiff joints, while heating pads help loosen up the body. Alternatively, cold treatments, such as gel ice packs, offer immediate pain management. 

While joint degeneration is part of the aging process, pain doesn't always have to go along with it. These natural remedies offer relief from arthritis pain while enhancing overall quality of life.

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About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

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