Natural treatments for rheumatoid arthritis range from hot and cold compresses, magnets, massage therapy, herbs, natural supplements, and water relaxation remedies.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is one of the most common autoimmune disorders and an inflammatory condition that causes pain and swelling of the joints, especially the smaller joints of the hands and feet. It generally affects both sides of the body at the same time.
Symptoms of RA tend to come and go over a person's entire lifespan, and they may range from non-existent or mild to moderate or severe.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), natural treatments for rheumatoid arthritis may range from moist heat, magnets, and massage to herbs, natural supplements, and relaxation remedies. Although some of these natural treatments may help RA, none of these therapies is fully grounded in science and many have not been completely tested for side effects . Before you use any unprescribed remedy, always talk to your doctor.
The most promising natural treatment seems to involve seafood. Fish, in particular, seems to be particularly effective at curing arthritis. Some people discovered that when they added fish to their regular diets, their arthritis symptoms lessened. They continued to improve with continuous intake of fish. Eventually, people realized that it was the fish oils in the fish that was treating their arthritis problems.
Omega-3 - Although omega-3 fatty acids reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, they don't appear to slow the progression of the disease. But, there is reasonably strong evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may help people with rheumatoid arthritis. The results of controlled studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. One of the ways it appears to work is by decreasing the production of inflammatory chemicals. Although flaxseed oil is often used as an alternative to fish oil, it doesn't appear to have the same anti-inflammatory effects as fish oil at achievable intakes.
Herbs - Herbal remedies used for RA include boswellia, equisetum arvense (horsetail), devil's claw, borage seed oil, and many others. To date, no evidence supports their efficacy. (Boswellia is a herb that comes from a tree native to India. The active ingredients are the boswellic acids, which have been found to block chemical reactions involved in inflammation.)
Prickly Ash - Native American tribes were the first to use prickly ash as a natural remedy for rheumatoid arthritis. Prickly ash tea is a bitter, but effective concoction know for it's positive effects on the circulatory system.
Cold Compresses - Cold tends to reduce joint swelling and inflammation. You can apply a cool compress or ice pack to the affected joint during an RA flare-up to help ease inflammation and pain.
Hot Compresses - Heat also tends to relax your muscles and stimulate blood flow. Try a moist heating pad, a warm, damp towel, or the newer microwavable hot packs. Soaking in a hot tub is also a good way to relax stiff muscles.
Aspirin - Many arthritic patients have been taking aspirins as a temporary pain-reliever with good results in some cases.
Diet - Many patients with RA try dietary approaches, such as fasting, vegan diets, or eliminating specific foods, that seem to worsen RA symptoms. There is little scientific evidence to support these approaches but some patients report that they are helpful.
Lotions - Creams or lotions containing capsaicin may be applied to relieve minor joint pain from rheumatoid arthritis. Those containing camphor, menthol, or turpentine oil may mask pain and provide some relief from minor symptoms.
It is important for Rheumatoid Arthritis patients to maintain a balance between rest (which will reduce inflammation) and moderate exercise (which will relieve stiffness and weakness).
You may also like to try some of the remedies listed at Natural Relief from Arthritis and Joint Pain
Bear in mind that a recent report found many herbal medicines and complementary therapies do not offer any relief in rheumatoid arthritis. In a review of published data on natural remedies researchers found that a majority of them were totally ineffective at relieving a patient's symptoms. However if you find something works as a natural cure for your Rheumatoid Arthritis pain, good luck.
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