Many of the millions of people who suffer from arthritis pain believe that they face a difficult choice between Advil, Tylenol, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and powerful opioid-based painkillers. The dangers of opioid painkillers are very well-chronicled and many NSAIDs are often only effective if taken in significant quantities, and that can cause unwanted side-effects including gastric ulcers and liver damage.
Luckily, there are a handful of pain relieving alternatives to medicine. Most effectively combat chronic arthritis pain that’s about the same every day, while others calm occasional flare-ups. Don’t miss this quick guide:
Soup Up Your Topical Cream
Many people get very good results from treating joint pain topically. Some products use a combination of hot and cold to loosen joints and relieve pain, while others rely on natural ingredients with proven pain-relief properties, like capsaicin.
Adding comfrey gel to these topical creams can make them even more effective. For best results, apply the combination directly onto painful joints three times a week. Don’t get this gel near your mouth or apply it to broken skin, as it has high levels of chemicals that could cause liver problems.
It’s not just for Christmas anymore. In fact, Boswellia (the plant from which frankincense is derived) is such an effective pain reliever that some publications classify it as an NSAID. This substance lowers cytokine levels and thus reduces inflammation. It also regulates behavior among white blood cells, T-cells, and some other bodily organisms. As an added bonus, Boswellia boosts the immune system.
Don’t use Boswellia as a topical remedy for more than thirty days and don’t take it orally for more than six months. The mild side-effects, like nausea and a rash, are rare and usually dissipate quickly.
Add Turmeric To Your Diet
Turmeric is one of the most-researched natural arthritis remedies. In study after study, patients who add this spice to their foods reported almost eye-popping results. Turmeric contains high levels of curcumin, one of the most powerful anti-inflammatories on the planet. Since arthritis pain is essentially joint inflammation, it’s easy to see the connection.
Don’t overuse turmeric supplements, as a volume in excess of 3,000 mg a day has been linked to heart problems. Lower levels of turmeric are almost entirely safe, even for pregnant women, except for people with gallbladder problems or blood clotting issues.
Take Some Proteolytic Enzymes
These substances, which are in tropical fruits and some other foods, have an anti-inflammatory effect which begins in the digestive system and extends to other parts of the body. The bromelain in these enzymes is also associated with better mobility.
These natural enzymes have no known side effects. Most people see the best results when they take between 500 and 2,000 mg three times daily between meals.
Monitor Diet, Weight, and Nutrition
It makes sense that extra weight places more pressure on inflamed knees, hips, and other such joints, thus causing more pain. But it’s not just the mass. Fat cells contain a variety of toxins that can make pain worse. The agents that it secretes, including adipocytokines, may be especially bad for people with osteoarthritis.
A combination of diet and exercise usually sheds these fat cells. To find the right combination, experiment with the following:
- Movement: Moderate walking often promotes weight loss. Low-impact fitness classes, perhaps yoga or tai chi, are even better. Classes are usually available for older people or those with severe mobility impairments.
- Diet: Onions, asparagus, and many other vegetables have lots of anti-inflammatory sulfur and are also excellent for weight control. The same thing applies to salmon and other fishes which have high omega 3 levels.
High fiber foods are good too. In addition to fruits and vegetables, stick with whole grain bread products (brown rice, brown bread, and so on).
With just a few lifestyle changes, you can control arthritis pain with fewer or no pills.