The Best Natural Remedies for Arthritis
Did you know that nearly 25% of adults are diagnosed with arthritis? However, many people experience arthritis and never seek out a diagnosis because they opt to try natural remedies for arthritis.
If you’re searching for natural remedies to ease arthritic pain, the list below may help.
Note: If your symptoms continue to worsen, consult with a physician. You can often use natural remedies alongside traditional medicine to ease your symptoms.
The Best Natural Remedies for Arthritis
There are several natural remedies that you can try to help ease your pain and other symptoms of arthritis.
DMSO, or dimethyl sulfoxide, is a byproduct of paper manufacturing, and it comes from pine trees. It’s known to help with:
- Muscle injuries
When applied topically, DMSO can help medicines get through the skin more quickly.
DMSO for arthritis is believed to ease pain by blocking the transmission of pain signals through the nerves. DMSO gels and creams allow for targeted relief, which can be beneficial for people living with arthritis.
A recent trial found that using a gel with 25% DMSO was better at alleviating osteoarthritis pain compared to a placebo.
While more research is needed, the existing data is promising.
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is a compound found in cannabis plants (including hemp). CBD has been in the spotlight because of its natural therapeutic effects without the psychoactive effects of THC. THC is the compound in cannabis that gets you “high.” CBD does not have this effect.
CBD is believed to have:
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Pain-relieving properties
- Calming effects
Like DMSO, it can be applied topically through creams and gels to help provide people with arthritis localized, targeted pain relief.
How effective is CBD for arthritis? Research has shown that CBD is:
- Free of psychoactive effects
- Helpful for reducing inflammation and pain
When combined with other natural remedies, CBD creams and gels can help bring more targeted and effective relief for arthritis sufferers.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) has been the focus of numerous studies, with excellent results that include:
- Reduction in pain
- Daily living increase
In the study linked above, the participants consumed 3 grams of MSM, twice daily. The participants didn’t note any adverse side effects, but this may be different for you. Often used in supplement form, MSM is thought to be anti-inflammatory and can help relieve inflammation in the joints and muscles.
Also, there’s some evidence that MSM may help protect cartilage.
Generally recognized as safe, using MSM for arthritis is a good supplement to consider if you suffer from inflammation and pain that is associated with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. If you want to try consuming higher amounts of MSM naturally, it’s found primarily in the following foods:
- Fresh fruits
- Fresh veggies
Ideally, if you choose to add these foods to your diet, you’ll want to focus on fresh, whole foods. Processing foods destroys MSM.
Range of Motion Exercises
Pain, stiffness, and swelling will impact your range of motion. If you lose your range of motion, you’ll experience a lower quality of life as a result. However, if you perform the right exercises, you can:
- Maintain full range of motion
- Improve strength
- Increase and maintain flexibility
Note: Before trying any of the following range of motion exercises, consult with your physician to ensure that they won’t increase pain or make your symptoms worse.
A few range of motion exercises for arthritis you can try are:
- Neck stretches: Gentle neck stretches to the sides, forward and backward are recommended. These exercises will help keep your neck relaxed and aid in your range of motion.
- Shoulder raises: If you have pain in your shoulder, be sure to perform up and down stretches. Sit in a chair with your arms to your side. Drop one arm and push it back as far as you can before reversing and stretching the arm above your head.
- Wrist bends: Arthritis in the wrist can be helped with wrist bends that stretch the wrist upward, like waving “hello” and downward. You can also roll the wrist to the sides to stretch them further.
- Finger bends: Make a tight fist and then open the hand as much as you can. Once open, spread the fingers outward before bringing them back together.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet/Arthritis Diet
Arthritis causes the joints to swell and causes significant pain. However, your diet can be adapted to consume anti-inflammatory foods. We won’t go into the plethora of health benefits associated with reducing inflammation, but we will outline numerous dietary choices you can make to maintain an anti-inflammatory diet.
Traditionally, people with arthritis will notice that some foods cause arthritic flare-ups and others do not.
One study from 2017 found that 24% of people with rheumatoid arthritis know of at least one food that makes their symptoms worse. Additionally, 10% of people said certain foods made their symptoms better.
Focusing your food choices to match an arthritis diet means incorporating some foods and eliminating others.
Foods to Add to Your Diet
- Fish are filled with omega-3 fatty acids, primarily fish that contain large amounts of oil. Oily fish should be eaten at least once a week to enjoy its anti-inflammatory properties. A few options here include salmon, mackerel, and fresh tuna. However, you don’t want to fry these fish in bad fats because it can negate these benefits.
- Flaxseed is a great alternative to fish because it’s filled with omega-3 fatty acids and is vegetarian-friendly. However, if you don’t like either fish or these seeds, you can try supplements.
- Leafy greens, particularly dark leafy greens, are filled with antioxidants and vitamin D. Vitamin D will help your body absorb calcium more efficiently, which is obviously good for your bones and joints. A few of the greens that you should be adding to your diet are kale, spinach, collard greens and chard.
- Green tea is a nice, relaxing drink to add to your daily routine. Additionally, the tea contains very high amounts of polyphenols. The benefits of drinking green tea include anti-inflammation and slowing of potential cartilage damage.
Of course, there are other foods that you should consider adding to your diet, such as nuts due to their high-calcium and immune-boosting properties, olive oil, blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, and more.
Foods to Remove From Your Diet
A proper diet is crucial to limiting inflammation. However, you also need to consider foods that cause inflammation and remove them from your diet. Numerous foods to limit or start consuming less are:
- White bread
- Fried foods
- Red meat
With the optimal diet, you’ll focus on natural, organic foods to help fight inflammation. However, if you like to fry your food or eat a lot of processed foods, it’s time to stop these two habits, too.
Rich in curcumin, turmeric is a spice that has been getting a lot of attention for its potential to help with pain and inflammation. The rich orange-yellow spice is also high in antioxidants, which can also help with arthritis symptoms.
One rodent study found that turmeric reduced joint inflammation in rats. There’s also plenty of anecdotal evidence that turmeric is an effective pain reliever and can help with arthritis.
Of course, natural remedies for arthritis pose very few risks and are a great option for anyone that is in the beginning stages of arthritis who are trying to find some form of relief or wants to supplement their conventional treatment.
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