An estimated 27 million Americans suffer from Osteoarthritis. This painful condition is a degenerative disease in which the protective cartilage on the ends of the bones continuously wears down, causing intense joint pain. Any joint can be affected, yet the most common areas are those of the knee, hip, neck, hands and lower back.
The most common treatment method is medication, either the over-the-counter or prescription variety. However, these come with a wide range of unhealthy side effects. Instead of the meds, try these three natural remedies for reducing your osteoarthritis pain.
Rather than uncapping a bottle of painkillers, head instead to the produce stand and pick up a bag of organic tart cherries to ease your pain. The tart cherry, known also as the “pie cherry,” Montmorency or Balaton cherry may have more to offer than just its contribution to dessert. Tart cherries are high in a compound called anthocyanins, which are responsible for cherries’ deep red color.
But research has found that anthocyanins may be just as effective at relieving pain as both ibuprofen and naproxen due to their cyclooxygenase inhibitory properties. And while also found in raspberries and strawberries, anthocyanin concentration is highest in tart cherries.
In a recent study researchers found that over 40 percent of men and 56 percent of women with osteoarthritis were sedentary enough to be considered “inactive,” meaning they failed to maintain a 10-minute period of moderate activity over a week-long period.
Contrary to popular belief, exercise does not cause more wear and tear of joint cartilage. In fact, there is ample evidence that exercise can actually reduce your chances of developing osteoarthritis in the first place.
When sedentary, swelling and stiffness occur around the joint which limits range of motion. The lack of movement leads to muscle loss and can further lead to weight gain, which significantly exacerbates pain and speeds up cartilage wear.
Beginning an exercise program early in life increases flexibility, builds muscle strength and preserves cartilage, thus keeping osteoarthritis at bay. Maintaining an exercise program later in life is key to keeping the wear to a minimum. Range of motion, strength training and low to moderate-impact exercises can help current sufferers ease their pain and control their weight.
When osteoarthritis sufferers begin to feel joint pain, they often avoid moving the joint altogether or compensate for the pain by moving in an unnatural way. Both of these techniques lead to stiff and sore muscles surrounding the joint, which only result in further pain.
Massage can be a useful practice to help relieve the tight muscles that irritate the aching joints. When researchers assigned 125 individuals suffering from knee pain caused by osteoarthritis to either receive a weekly massage session or to continue with their normal treatment, the patients who received a weekly massage experienced significant improvements in both pain and function as compared with those who continued with their normal care routine.
-The Alternative Daily