7 Cheap And Easy Ways To Reduce Your Arthritis Pain Without Painkillers
Written by: Sarah Lawrence
Arthritis kicks my butt sometimes. My joint crippler is a chronic autoimmune variety. We’ve been in a 14 year relationship with plenty of ups and downs. I’ve tried everything short of biologics to make peace with my partner.
Finding things that work has taken time, lots of trial and error. My dance card is dotted with everything from acupuncture, biofeedback and creams to paraffin dips, massage, nutritional changes, Reiki, sauna sessions and supplements.
Truth: there are times when I’ve eaten NSAIDs like candy and would have loved a shot of something right in the eye if it would make the pain go away. The thing is, whether you have autoimmune arthritis like I do or osteoarthritis or the twangs of joint pain after doing a little too much, read on.
7 Cheap And Easy Ways To Reduce Your Arthritis Pain Without Painkillers!
I’ve been at this rodeo more than a time or two and I’m telling you – these things just may make you feel like dancing!
If you’ve had arthritis for a while, then you’ve probably tried OTCs and prescriptions to get your joint pain under control. Pain management prescriptions are among the most frequently requested and written in the U.S. In fact, enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult every 4 hours for one month.
Friends, we are a nation in pain. There’s good news and bad news in that. The good news is that there is are better options out there. The bad news is that there is an increasing problem with addiction to painkillers.
For me, learning how to manage chronic pain has been key. Of all the things I’ve tried, these 7 are some of the more surprisingly cheap and easy methods! Do double check with your doctors and health professionals before trying anything new. We want you pain free, but safety comes first, so go over your particulars with your healing team.
Without further ado, THESE are my 7 secret weapons for crushing arthritis pain:
1. Hydrate. This is SO simple, but it is incredibly and powerfully helpful! Symptoms of dehydration include joint pain and stiffness, inability or difficulty to lose weight, poor digestion, heartburn, constipation, fatigue, poor sleep, mood imbalance, difficulty clearing toxins that may show as sensitivities to foods/medicines/etc. and low sex drive.
Dr. Batmanghelidj, author of You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty! recommends 1 oz of water for every 2 lbs. or 0.9 kg of body weight in his home remedy for dehydration. If you weigh 125 lbs, you need to drink at least 7-8 glasses (~2 liters) of pure water each day with a ½ teaspoon of sea salt to replenish your lost salt in sweat, etc. Or if you weigh 200 lbs, you need to drink 12-13 glasses of water (~3 liters) and consume ⅔ teaspoon of sea salt in your foods each day.
If you exercise and sweat a lot, the recommendation is to increase your water intake by 2-4 glasses and add a couple of extra pinches of sea salt.
2. Optimize Vitamin C, Vitamin D And Omega-3. Vitamin C may help reduce cartilage loss related to osteoarthritis. It helps mop up free radicals, lessens oxidative damage to joints and keeps inflammation under control. Vitamin C also supports the immune system and healthy energy levels, which is a real win when dealing with chronic pain.
Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to speed the progression of osteoarthritis and is implicated in autoimmune disfunction. Optimizing vitamins C and D gives you a 75% chance at slowing or stopping the progression of your arthritis. Omega-3 helps reduce inflammation and can assist blood flow. Therapeutic doses of omega-3 oils rich in EPA and DHA are also known to support brain health, lift mood and decrease pain.
In addition to eating vitamin C rich foods, consider supplementing with 500- 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily and a minimum of 400 IU’s vitamin D. Vitamin K2 makes vitamin D more accessible to your body, so look for a combo supplement. Fish oil, algae, chia and hemp seeds are rich sources of omega-3.
3. Eat Grapes. Resveratrol is an antioxidant compound in grape skins that acts like a COX-2 inhibitor. By suppressing the COX-2 gene and deactivating the COX-2 enzyme, resveratrol blocks the production of inflammation at pain points or the site of an injury.
Eat one cup of white or red grapes daily. Better news: Purple grape juice and wine contain resveratrol, too, so make juice pops and enjoy a glass of wine on occasion.
4. Drink Tea. Green, black, oolong and white teas are loaded with polyphenols. Polyphenols are plant-derived compounds that help the immune system and are protective against certain diseases, including arthritis. Studies also show that tea may have anti-inflammatory properties. EGCG is the compound in green tea that suppresses interleukin-1 and helps prevent damage to cartilage in arthritic joints.
Drink up to three cups of tea daily. Green tea gets the highest grade, so make at least one cup green tea.
5. Tape it. Therapeutic kinesio-tape, when properly applied, can help support and realign joints so there is less pain and better joint alignment. Regular use by arthritis sufferers who have joint deformity and joint misalignment can result in as much as a 73% reduction in pain.
Because application technique is important, check with your physical therapist to see how to apply it to best suite your needs.
6. Herbal Dream Team. It looks like willow bark and boswellia, when used together, may be just as effective as taking a drug like Motrin. References to a recent study note that participants saw greatest relief with 240 mg of willow bark and 1,000 mg of boswellia per day. Greatest relief was felt after about a week on the combo, so the key with this is patience.
As with any supplement, the trick is to find your lowest effective dose and also take some time off from consistent dosing to allow your body to adjust and heal. Even though willow bark extract acts similarly to aspirin, it is considered safer and shows none of the intestinal risks of aspirin.
Cherry extract, cat’s claw and ginger have also done well in combination with willow bark and boswellia.
7. Castor Oil. Both topical and internal use of castor oil have been shown to be effective against inflammation and pain associated with many forms of arthritis. I always start with a limited topical application to see how my body responds before working up to larger areas or working into a more intense method.
For wrists, hands, fingers, feet and toes, it’s often easiest to rub a spoonful of castor oil into the skin rather than wrapping in a castor oil pack. Larger areas do well with castor oil packs (which are basically just cloths soaked/saturated with castor oil that are then applied to the skin and covered with a towel or plastic wrap to hold them in place).
Because castor oil helps things permeate the skin, rubbing an essential oil like frankincense (boswellia) into the painful area prior to applying the castor oil may make both more effective. Castor oil is thick, somewhat sticky and is notorious for staining cloth, so be prepared with a non-essential t-shirt or some old clean towels to help clean your hands after application.
Castor oil can be left on the skin for hours. If you’re planning on using it before bed, just pop on a pair of socks over your oiled hands and feet and lay out a towel or wrap yourself up in one to avoid drips of oil on your sheets. It’s incredibly helpful for reducing pain and your skin will benefit from more moisturizing than a spa treatment – win/win!
Whatever you try, I encourage you to consult with your doctor first if you’re taking any medications, just to be sure that you have the green light. Once you do, try to keep track of what you’re trying and how your changes make you feel.
Many of these things take some time. If your body is dehydrated or in need of vitamin support, you may not notice significant relief for weeks. Same with the white willow bark – it can be transformative, but needs a few days to begin to work it’s magic.
Do write down your baseline and assess your progress weekly. You may find that when you reassess your progress at 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 2 months, etc. that things are moving in the right direction!
Source, Source, Source, Source
Sarah Lawrence is a Certified Holistic Health and Integrative Nutrition Coach, Speaker and Reiki Master based in Southern NH. Sarah creates lifestyle transformations by coaching her clients to shift from their current habits into healthier ones. Her philosophy is that small changes, over time, can yield big results. By developing a technique that leverages the benefits of whole foods nutritionals, seasonal detoxification, reiki, aromatherapy, meditation and life coaching, Sarah artfully combines her knowledge from years of study in the fields of chemistry, nutrition and energy healing.
Sarah leads clients from frustration due chronic health issues to elation by attaining and sustaining balanced health. Her intuitive style supports true healing on all levels. Sarah studied at Fairfield University and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition; she is pursuing her Masters in Clinical Nutrition and is dedicated to continuing her studies so she can provide the best support for her clients.
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