How to soothe arthritis pain naturally
Over 54 million adults and 300,000 children in the United States alone have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Arthritis is a life-long disease that causes chronic and sometimes debilitating symptoms such as pain, stiffness, limited range of motion, and swelling that requires constant management. Traditional anti-inflammatories and other prescribed medications come with a list of side effects for long-term use, so it’s not surprising that arthritis sufferers are looking for natural solutions.
These two types of arthritis include osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
OA mainly results when wear and tear of cartilage causes bones to rub together, leading to friction, damage, and inflammation.
RA is a systemic condition that triggers symptoms throughout the body. It’s an autoimmune disease and happens when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy joint tissue.
1) Use hot and cold therapy
Heat and cold treatments can help relieve arthritis pain and inflammation.
- Heat treatments can include taking a long, warm shower or bath in the morning to help ease stiffness and using an electric blanket or moist heating pad to reduce discomfort overnight.
- Cold treatments can help relieve joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. Wrap a gel ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to painful joints for quick relief. Never apply ice directly to the skin.
2) Get enough exercise
If you have arthritis, exercise can help you:
- manage your weight
- keep your joints flexible
- strengthen muscles around your joints, which offers more support
Exercising with a trainer or another person may be especially beneficial, as it increases motivation.
Good options include low-impact exercises, such as:
- swimming and other water activities
3) Manage a healthy weight
Your weight can have a big impact on arthritis symptoms. Extra weight puts more pressure on your joints, especially your knees, hips, and feet.
Guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology and Arthritis Foundation (ACR/AF) strongly recommend losing weight if you have OA and overweight or obesity.
Your doctor can help you set a target weight and design a program to help you reach that target.
Reducing the stress on your joints by losing weight can help:
- improve your mobility
- decrease pain
- prevent future damage to your joints
4) Get a massage and/or acupuncture
Massage can help manage joint pain and discomfort. Ask your doctor to recommend a massage therapist who has experience in treating people with arthritis. Alternatively, you could ask a physical therapist to teach you self-massage.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical treatment that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on your body. It may reduce arthritis pain, and the ACR/AF conditionally recommend it.
Be sure to find a licensed and certified acupuncturist to carry out this treatment.
5) Meditation & Reducing Stress
Meditation and relaxation techniques may help reduce the pain of arthritis by lowering stress and enabling you to cope with it better. Reducing stress may also help lower inflammation and pain.
The ACR/AF recommends yoga. Yoga combines meditation, relaxation, and breathing techniques with low-impact exercise. Studies have found that practicing mindfulness meditation is helpful for some people with RA.
Anxiety, stress, and depression are all common complications of conditions that involve chronic pain, such as arthritis.
6) Follow a healthy diet
A diet that’s rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole foods can help boost your immune system and your overall health. There’s some evidence that dietary choices can affect people with both RA and OA.
A plant-based diet provides antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation by eliminating free radicals from the body.
On the other hand, a diet rich in red meat, processed foods, saturated fat, and added sugar and salt may aggravate inflammation, which is a characteristic of arthritis.
7) CBD for arthritis
What is CBD?
CBD – cannabidiol – is an extract of the hemp plant, in the same plant family as marijuana, and shares many of the benefits. While cannabis is grown largely for its THC content (the psychoactive ingredient), hemp plants are grown for their high levels of CBD. The CBD products you find in stores and online contain only trace levels of THC and won’t get you high no matter how much you take.
CBD is a compound found in cannabis that many use for achieving overall well-being and balance in body and mind. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is zero public health risk or abuse potential associated with it.
Benefits of CBD for Arthritis
Cannabinoids attach to receptors in your brain and immune system that manages pain and inflammation, and studies have found that taking CBD may relieve joint inflammation and protects the nerves, helping to manage the pain of arthritis.
CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory. Recent research believes that many diseases and illnesses in the body are caused or worsened by inflammation. Arthritis causes constant inflammation in the affected joints, and though more research needs to be done on the use of CBD, anecdotal evidence all shows that CBD reduces inflammation.
Very Few Side Effects
One major benefit of CBD is that it is all-natural, and unlike other painkillers (off the shelf or prescribed), there are no side effects of long-term use, and very few people experience any side effects of taking CBD. If they are in this minority, symptoms are minor, such as nausea or fatigue. Traditional NSAIDs work quickly and effectively, but they can have adverse effects on the stomach and liver if you use them constantly, and prescription painkillers such as opioids come with the risk of addiction. CBD can be used forever, with no risks.
What CBD to take for Arthritis Pain
As you’ll know if you spend even five minutes searching for CBD products online, there is a wide range of products available, from oils and gummies to salves and capsules. Whatever way you prefer to take it will help relieve your arthritis pain, but you may find applying balms, salves and creams to the affected joints gives you the fastest benefits. If you don’t have access to a salve, you can simply rub oil onto the skin.
How Much Should I Take?
Your CBD product will have a serving guide on the packaging, but the best way to use CBD for arthritis is to use a topical and rub it onto the affected area. Once you’ve used CBD a few times, you’ll be able to increase the dosage until you find a level that is right for you.
Where Should I Buy CBD From?
Where you buy your CBD products from is up to you and your research but be sure to check that you are purchasing it from a respected retailer and that they tell you what is in the product on the packaging. For arthritis, we always recommend our own LivKind CBD Balm as we provide our customers with our lab results, exactly how much CBD is in the product, a full list of ingredients, and additional lavender and eucalyptus to aid in your healing. If you want a CBD salve that is completely open about everything that’s in it, this is for you. If you want to take CBD as an oil, we have that too.
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*You should always contact your Dr if you are already taking medications and shouldn't stop taking medications without discussing with your Dr first. The FDA has not approved hemp or CBD for any medical purposes, and LivKind makes no medical claims about CBD or our products.