Home Remedies for Osteoarthritis

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As you get older, you may find that your joints no longer work as youthful as they once did. Plagued with pain and discomfort, you could be feeling the effects of arthritis that attacks the cartilage in your body. To ease the severity of symptoms and lead a healthier life, you should consider the benefits of home remedies for osteoarthritis.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Also known as degenerative joint disease or osteoarthrosis, a patient with osteoarthritis is affected by one of the most common forms of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is known to attack any joint in the body, but the most common body parts involves the hands, hips, knees, neck, and lower back. Osteoarthritis gradually worsens over time, and there is sadly no cure that exists to date. Treatments for the condition usually focus on relieving pain and helping a patient stay active.

Causes and Symptoms

Osteoarthritis is caused by the wearing down of cartilage (the cushioning between the bones) associated with the joints Symptoms gradually develop over time, and as the arthritis continues to worsen, the cartilage completely disappears and starts to cause bones to rub against one another. Many times, the cause of osteoarthritis is unknown, but aging is a significant factor. The ligaments and muscles around the joint will also start to loosen and weaken.

Other factors associated with osteoarthritis include your family tree, being overweight, previous fractures and other joint injuries, long-term overuse in sports or at work, bleeding disorders (like hemophilia), disorders that affect blood supply near a joint, and other types of arthritis, such as chronic gout.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis usually appear in middle-aged people and with nearly everyone showing signs by the age of 70. There are some patients that do not exhibit any symptoms [1]. However, when symptoms do emerge, they may include the following:

• Joint pain with deep aches
• Pain that worsen after activity
• Joints that grate while in motion
• Joint swelling
• Limited mobility
• Muscle weakness around arthritic joints

Osteoarthritis Home Remedies

When treating osteoarthritis, it is important to address common issues, such as pain, decreased joint movement, weakened joints, and other disabling effects of the condition. Depending on the joints that the disease has attacked, you should consider the following home remedies:

a) Ginger Tea:

Some people drink ginger tea to ease the symptoms of their osteoarthritis.

b) Tylenol:

Reach for a Tylenol to ease the pain of osteoarthritis, which provides relief with fewer side effects than other over-the-counter remedies.

c) Exercise:

To maintain the overall movement in your joints, regular exercise is very helpful for a patient with osteoarthritis. If light walks and riding a bike are too strenuous to start with – consider utilizing a swimming pool.

d) Hot and Cold Treatments:

Applying alternating treatments of heat and cold can provide relief for osteoarthritis pain.

e) Epsom Salt:

Epson salt (or magnesium sulfate) is a mineral that occurs naturally. The salt has medical powers that can ease arthritic joints and painful muscles. Add two cups of Epsom salt to a warm bath and soak for 30 minutes. As you soak, the salt works to improve circulation, fight inflammation, and promote healing of the body.

f) Dietary Changes:

To supplement home remedies for osteoarthritis, try embracing a healthier, well-balanced diet to keep the body in fit condition.

g) Rest:

It is important to allow painful joints to rest, which gives the body time to heal. Try slowing down for at least a couple of days to encourage a more efficient road to recovery. Avoid greater pain and more damage by staying off of your feet.

h) Elevation:

To decrease inflammation and promote healthier blood flow, it is suggested to elevate joints affected by arthritis. Lay on a flat surface, such as your bed, and position your weakened joint on a pillow – above your heart level.

i) Massage:

To relieve muscle tension associated with osteoarthritis, massaging the muscles around affected joints can boost circulation to much-needed regions of the body. Massage encourage cartilage repair and reduces joint stiffness. For the best results, use an oil to treat inflamed joints.

j) Olive Oil:

For better results, use warmed olive oil when massaging painful joints.

k) Shed a Few Pounds:

Overweight patients will find it in their best interest to lose a couple of pounds so that there is less weight bearing down on arthritic joints.

l) Joint Protection:

Protect your joints when participating in your favorite activities to promote healing and lessen pain – especially during strenuous or athletic activities. For example, if you are a gardener with osteoarthritis in the knees, it is a must to use a cushion when kneeling down to weed or plant in your garden.

m) Tai Chi:

The movements and positions associated with tai chi involve using the mind and body to combat physical issues. For an osteoarthritis patient, this form of exercise and meditation can help improve posture, balance, flexibility and strength.

n) Ginger Root:

Consuming four grams of dried ginger root on a daily basis can help reduce inflammation associated with osteoarthritis.

o) Avoid Running and Jogging:

Avoid putting your body through harsher activities, such as jogging and running, which puts more body weight on joints affected by osteoarthritis. Instead, take a walk when exercising the body.

p) Vitamin C:

Consider increasing your consumption of foods containing vitamin C, as it is reportedly effective in treating osteoarthritis symptoms.

q) Walk the Dog:

Your pooch can help you stay moving, as well as lend a hand in reducing joint pain.

r) Exercise the Hip:

Exercises for the hip can lessen osteoarthritis symptoms. Consider leg swings, where you gently swing your leg out to the side, and then alternate sides. Leg extensions works by extending your leg gently backward, and then alternate to the other leg.

s) Exercise the Knee:

Exercising the knee can help promote joint mobility and lessen arthritis pain. A few moves to consider include straight leg raises (where you sit in a chair with one leg straightened, and then raise it straight out in front of you. Alternate legs) and leg curls (where you lie on the floor on your stomach, and gently bend your heel back toward your buttocks). Your hips should be on the ground when performing the latter exercise.

t) Castor Oil:

When massaging arthritic joints, enhance the treatment by rubbing the skin down with castor oil.

u) Hot Vinegar:

Hot vinegar can provide a soothing massage for joints affected by arthritis. This home remedy is best followed right before going to bed.

v) Oregano:

Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, adding oregano to your meals can help treat arthritis inflammation, as well as provide the body with beneficial antioxidants.

w) Say ‘No’ to Red Meat:

Cutting back on red meat can help reduce arthritis pain. Some people eliminate the food altogether or eat the meat no more than once time per week.
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x) Fish Oil:

Some fish types offer oils that can help fight inflammation in joints. While some people choose to take a fish oil supplement, others enjoy adding certain kinds of fish to their diet.

y) Hot Towel:

Wrap a heated damp towel around a painful joint to ease symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Resources

[1] http://health.yahoo.net/channel/osteoarthritis.html

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