Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic condition of the joints that affects approximately 350 million people worldwide caused by wear and tear on your joints as you age. This disease affects any joints but it mostly occurs in the knees, hips, neck, lower back, and the small joints in your fingers, thumb, toes.
Sounds uncomfortable right? And to top it off, this disease doesn’t have a cure so you’ll really have to tolerate the pain. The good news here is that there are certain medications that can alleviate your pain— from lifestyle changes, over the counter drugs, to natural remedies. Read and know more about the natural ways in countering the early signs of osteoarthritis.
What’s Going on in the Early Signs
So, what’s going on in the early phase of osteoarthritis? Here’s what: the cartilage between your joints becomes worn out and get torn while being inflamed. This then leads to the loss of water in the joint which causes the cartilage to be rigid which results in the difficulty of moving the surrounding joints.
This disease is called degenerative since it is a slow process, and some people have early symptoms for years before the disease progresses. One of the common symptoms is the pain, which is commonly felt at the back, neck, knees, and hips. Together with this is tenderness which can include visible swelling in the area of the joint. Then there’s joint stiffness; abnormal sensations such as hearing your joints cracking or clicking when you move.
Countering it in a Natural Way
The following natural treatment that is to be discussed will only help alleviate your pain, thus you should consult first with your doctor if you want to try these out, especially if you are considering to take any over the counter drugs or natural supplements. Nevertheless, these natural remedies will help you tolerate the pain you are feeling due to osteoarthritis.
Hot and Cold Compress
This is the first aide that you go for: the hot and cold compress. When it comes to pain, these compresses are beneficial, which are also easy to do—the heat helps in the joint stiffness while the cold compress is best for joint pain. Compresses also reduce muscle pain or spasms in the joint, helping you to avoid the uncomfortable abnormal sensations (cracking or clicking noises).
Epsom Salt Bath
Due to the magnesium in the Epsom salt, it helps alleviate the pain and the inflammation due to osteoarthritis— which helps provide all over relief especially for joint pain. All you have to do is buy Epsom salt from a drugstore and have a bath of warm water at about 38 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes.
Topical Ointments and Creams
Topical ointments and cream are the typical alternatives to oral over-the-counter medications like the ibuprofen and acetaminophen. These topical gels and cream contain aspirin or analgesics which effectively numbs the pain. You just have to apply it directly to the affected joint. Do remember that it is suggested to talk to your doctor before using any of these products.
Turmeric (Curcumin): Inflammation, Pain, and Stiffness
Turmeric is part of the ginger family which has an active compound named curcumin that helps osteoarthritis in different ways, like helping reduce the pain and stiffness during flare-up while fighting off inflammatory compounds. The recommended dosage for the capsule is 400 to 600 milligrams per day and 0.5 to 1 gram for powdered extract, 3 times a day.
Green Tea: Anti-inflammatory Beverage
Polyphenols are found in green tea which helps reduce inflammation and your need for medications. In fact, there is a study by Arthritis Research and Therapy which suggests that green tea increases cartilage protection. However, due to the risk of liver problems and side effects from its concentrated amount, it is best to take green tea in moderation.
Ginger: Pain reducers
According to a 2015 study in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, ginger decreases the risk for osteoarthritis-related disability when taken for a long-term, it is also great for reducing pain from the disease. However, just like in any natural remedy, ginger also has its side effects and risks which is why it is recommended to be moderately used as a spice instead of it in a supplement form.
As what was said before, osteoarthritis is a lifelong condition with no cure, this is why managing this condition and its symptoms goes a long way to stop further damage to your joints. Together with natural remedies and lifestyle changes, it will provide extra relief for the pain you are feeling.
Although these aren’t meant to replace your treatments, they will provide relief for those who suffer osteoarthritis. Just remember that it is highly suggested that you consult your doctor first before you try these natural remedies to help alleviate pain or treat osteoarthritis.