Arthritis is a painful, even debilitating condition that impacts millions of Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 23 percent of adults in the United States, more than 54 million people have arthritis – a group of conditions that cause inflammation and joint pain. The annual cost for medical care and wages lost from arthritis total $303.5 billion. Sadly, there is no cure for this condition, but thankfully there are some natural things that you can do that will lessen the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
Mustard and hot chili salve
Yes, it sounds strange indeed but this mustard and hot chili-infused salve is capable of helping with arthritis pain. Mustard oil, made from yellow mustard seeds, is known for its ability to knock arthritic pain out. As the essential active compound in chili peppers, capsaicin temporarily desensitizes pain receptors in the body, rendering an affected area relatively pain-free within a short amount of time.
This salve, which is easy to make, also contains peppermint and rosemary essential oils, both with powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Hot Chilli and Mustard Oil
First, make the hot mustard oil and then use it in the joint ease salve.
What you need
- 2 cups sunflower oil
- 3 fresh whole cayenne chilies, chopped
- 5 tablespoons chopped gingerroot
- 5 tablespoons mustard powder
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
How to make it
- Combine sunflower oil, chopped chilies, ginger root, black pepper, and mustard oil in the top of a double boiler. Heat gently for one hour.
- Strain and filter into dark-colored glass bottles.
Joint Ease Salve
Apply this salve twice a day to affected areas for best results.
What you need
- ¼ cup hot chili and mustard oil from above
- 5 tablespoons beeswax
- 30 drops essential rosemary oi,
- 30 drops peppermint essential oil
How to make it
- Combine oil and beeswax in a double boiler to melt the wax. Stir gently until it melts.
- As a film appears on the surface of the oil, add the essential oils and mix well.
- Pour into a clean glass jar and allow to cool.
Note: Wash your hands well after using as the chillis can burn your eyes
Other natural remedies for sore joints
Here are some other natural remedies to relieve the pain and inflammation of arthritis.
Curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric (and found in limited amounts in ginger), is similar to capsaicin in that it blocks “substance P.” According to research, curcumin is associated with pain and inflammation reduction and enhanced recovery of muscle performance. However, turmeric may increase the risk of bleeding, especially for people who take blood-thinning medications, so speak to a healthcare professional before taking turmeric.
Acupuncture as a therapy has been around for thousands of years. Acupuncture is based on the life energy, called qi (chee), which flows through the body along 20 invisible channels called meridians. If this energy becomes blocked or out of balance, pain and illness result. There are over 2000 acupuncture points connecting meridians, and stimulating these points with needles helps to correct the flow of qi and reduce pain. This includes pain from arthritis.
According to Dr. Brian Berman, MD, professor of family and community medicine and director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine,
“A well-placed needle sets off a cascade of events, producing a signal that travels along the spinal cord to the brain, triggering a release of neurotransmitters called endorphins and enkephalins, which scientists believe reduce the sensation of pain. Research also shows that inserting an acupuncture needle induces the production of cortisol, a hormone that helps control inflammation. Acupuncture may stimulate activity of other pain-relieving chemicals in the body as well.”
Hot and cold therapy
Hot and cold therapy is an effective way to keep joints lubricated and inflammation at bay. Heat relaxes muscles and can help reduce stiffness while icing sore joints before activity helps to ease muscle spasms. Cold therapy reduces inflammation, swelling, and pain that is related to arthritis and activity. Alternating heat and cold is an excellent approach to managing arthritis. Use warm therapy before exercise and cold therapy after exercise. If necessary, repeat this throughout the day for relief. Generally, 15 minutes each works well.
There is something so soothing about a massage. This ancient practice reduces anxiety and can help alleviate the pain and inflammation from arthritis. Therapeutic massage reduces the body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol; decreases the hormone arginine-vasopressin, which can also lower blood pressure; reduces inflammatory cytokines, and increase mood-boosting hormone serotonin. Licensed massage therapist Rosemary Chunco has this to say about massage,
“ The actual mechanism that comes into play is still under investigation. For example, a more restful sleep that results from a massage may help with arthritis pain.”
A study published in the 2018 Journal of General Internal Medicine found that massage was helpful for people with knee osteoarthritis. Another study from the University of Miami found that a 15-minute, moderate pressure massage daily helps reduce pain associated with hand arthritis and anxiety reduction.
Although it may be hard for people with arthritis to exercise, it is a beneficial activity that should be pursued. The good news is that you don’t have to run a marathon to benefit from exercise. A short daily walk can do things like strengthen muscles around your joints, boost energy, encourage a good night’s sleep, control your weight, improve the quality of your life and improve balance. Light strength training – even using exercise bands and flexibility exercises are also helpful in reducing inflammation and pain. If walking is painful, try activities that support your weight, such as biking or swimming.
Numerous herbs have anti-inflammatory properties that can help take the edge off of arthritis pain.
- Aloe vera – Studies show that taking aloe vera orally may help reduce the pain and inflammation of arthritis.
- Boswellia – Also known as frankincense, Boswellia is derived from the gum of Boswellia trees. Research shows that it has potent anti-inflammatory properties that help improve pain, swelling, and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis and gout.
- Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus leaves contain tannins that help to reduce swelling and pain. The impact is greater if this treatment is followed by heat therapy. Eucalyptus aromatherapy may also help treat rheumatoid arthritis.
- Ginger – Ginger is a popular culinary spice that also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies even show that ginger could be a possible alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ( NSAIDs). According to Dr. Roberta Lee, vice-chair of the Department of Integrative Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, “Ginger has anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, and antioxidant activities, as well as a small amount of analgesic property.” To get more ginger into your diet, try drinking fresh ginger tea or adding ginger to salads, smoothies, and soups
It is amazing how many natural ways there are to reduce the pain and swelling associated with arthritis. Are you ready to try some of these?
-The WellDaily Team