Rheumatoid arthritis, sometimes simply abbreviated RA, is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the joints. Of course, certain risk factors such as smoking, obesity, family history, and exposure to environmental toxins can trigger the disease, but RA may be an autoimmune condition as well. (1) With so many potential risks, how can you help control RA? Well, rheumatoid arthritis natural treatments can help control painful RA symptoms.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
- Joint pain – Swelling in and around the joints can last for six weeks or more. Joint pain is most common in the wrists, feet, hands, ankles, and knees.
- Inflammation – Redness, heat and tenderness near inflamed joints, as well as pain and soreness, usually occur in a symmetrical pattern, impacting both sides of the body.
- Morning stiffness – Look for stiffness that is usually worse right after waking up and gets better throughout the day.
- Muscle aches
- Trouble moving normally, trouble bending over, climbing stairs, walking, or exercising
- Loss of appetite
- Low-grade fever (2)
Rheumatoid Arthritis Natural Treatments
1. Eat an Anti-inflammatory Diet
First, a diet high in antioxidants can help control rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Also, rheumatoid arthritis natural treatment foods include those that are naturally high in omega-3 foods, such as nuts and seeds. You see, omega-3 foods help reduce inflammation around the joints. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats for natural treatment for RA pain and swelling. For example, consider the Mediterranean diet. (3)
2. Stay Active
As anyone with RA knows, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can make exercise difficult, but it’s important to stay active anyway. In fact, joint pain tends to be worse after periods of inactivity. Therefore, staying active, especially with low-impact exercises such as cycling, walking, water aerobics and Tai Chi, is important for people who suffer from RA. (4)
3. Manage Stress Levels
Stress can increase inflammation in the body. This, in turn, can lead to pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints and muscles. Therefore, those with RA should get plenty of sleep and manage stress levels properly. Relaxation techniques include yoga, meditation, and deep breathing, and these practices can help relax muscles, balance hormones, and decrease cortisol levels. (5)
4. Try Natural Pain Remedies
At this time, many people turn to over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers to combat painful RA symptoms. But other options are out there! Start small with ice packs and warm baths can help manage painful symptoms. Or go for more dramatic relief. Rheumatoid arthritis natural treatment options include massage therapy, acupuncture, acupressure, and essential oils. Essential oils that work as home remedies for arthritis in the hands and other parts of the body include ginger, orange, myrrh, frankincense and eucalyptus. (6)
5. Reduce Inflammation Using Natural Supplements
Similar to the anti-inflammatory diet, anti-inflammatory supplements work as rheumatoid arthritis natural treatments. For example, turmeric and ginger extracts, boswellia or frankincense, and omega-3 supplements all help to reduce inflammation and swelling in the joints. Also, consider taking a DHA supplement. Fortunately, there are high quality, vegetarian DHA supplements now available. But be mindful of how your body reacts to supplements, and include them in a well-balanced diet. Unfortunately, supplements can’t replace good nutrition, so use supplements in addition to good food. (7)