Arthritis is a common ailment characterized by swelling and discomfort in one or more joints. It impacts individuals of every age, but it is most severe in the elderly. The most frequent arthritis symptoms are joint pain and stiffness, which worsen with age.
Among the many types of arthritis, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common, with the former affecting the cartilage between bones and the latter affecting the immune system to disrupt the joint lining.
Conventional medicine and physical therapy may not be effective for everyone, prompting some people to seek out alternative treatments for arthritis, such as acupuncture, massage therapy, and mind-body approaches to managing their pain more naturally.
Types Of Alternative Treatments For Arthritis Pain Management
Arthritis can cause discomfort and reduced range of motion in joints. Conventional treatments such as NSAIDs and DMARDs can help manage these symptoms. However, they have their limitations.
Acupuncture, massage therapy, mind-body practices, herbal remedies, supplements, and vitamins provide a more natural approach to the management of arthritis. These alternate remedies help manage arthritis by reducing inflammation, improving circulation, and promoting relaxation.
These treatments may be especially beneficial for patients who do not want to use prescription medications or have had little success with standard therapy.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy in which tiny needles are inserted into precise areas on the skin to stimulate the body’s natural painkillers and promote recovery. A qualified practitioner will put these small needles into selected locations along your body’s meridians – or energy channels – to target regions of joint inflammation and relieve pain during an acupuncture session.
Along with the traditional acupuncture techniques, contemporary, more effective techniques like electro-acupuncture and moxibustion can help manage arthritis.
The electro-acupuncture method includes stimulating the acupuncture needles with an electric current to increase the therapy’s benefits. In the Moxibustion technique, the practitioner burns mugwort leaves near the skin’s surface at critical acupuncture points.
Although acupuncture is a highly efficient treatment for arthritic pain, it has few side effects. Feeling dizzy or faint after an acupuncture treatment is normal and can occasionally result in bleeding and bruising. However, before attempting this treatment, you must visit a skilled acupuncturist and discuss it with your doctor.
- Massage Therapy
Massage treatment is another option for alternative treatment for arthritis. This complementary therapy can help relieve arthritis pain and stiffness. Several studies have found massage effective enough to decrease the stress hormone cortisol and drop levels of the hormone arginine-vasopressin, which helps lower blood pressure.
It also helps reduce levels of several inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-4 and IL-10, and raise levels of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin. Therefore, massage treatment for arthritis can benefit you by:
- Minimizing pain.
- Increasing blood flow to the joints.
- Increasing the range of motion.
- Increasing quality of life.
- Improving mood.
Deep tissue massage, in particular, can benefit persons with arthritis since it involves applying strong pressure to the body’s deepest layers of muscle tissue and connective tissue to relieve tension and promote relaxation.
Other massage techniques, such as Swedish or Shiatsu, may help improve circulation, stimulate the immune system, and reduce stress. Other massages that can ease the discomfort include hot stone massage, myofascial release, rolfing, and trigger point massage.
Massage treatment can also help people with arthritis improve their joint mobility and flexibility. However, it is critical to engage with a qualified massage therapist who has expertise in dealing with arthritis clients, as well as discuss this option with your doctor if you have any concerns about potential dangers or side effects.
- Herbal Remedies
Natural therapies can help you manage moderate symptoms, especially with additional treatment choices. Some herbs contain anti-inflammatory qualities that can alleviate the discomfort associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or osteoarthritis (OA). Ginger, turmeric, and willow bark are all popular alternatives since they have natural anti-inflammatory effects.
Turmeric, a yellow spice, contains an enzyme known as curcumin. It contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It is believed that turmeric may help lessen arthritis pain and inflammation. Traditional and alternative medicine practitioners may utilise Boswellia serrata, known as frankincense, for its anti-inflammatory qualities.
According to a 2019 review, boswellic acid has anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit people suffering from RA, bronchial asthma, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory illnesses.
- Mind-Body Techniques
Meditation, deep breathing, guided visualisation, and progressive muscle relaxation are all mind-body therapies that can help reduce pain and other arthritic symptoms.
Other mind-body practices, such as yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises, have been shown to help relieve joint pain and stiffness caused by arthritis. Yoga, in particular, may improve flexibility and range of motion while decreasing stress levels.
Meditation and breathing techniques help reduce anxiety, which can reduce arthritis pain. One may learn to channel this bi-directional experience toward stress reduction and well-being by understanding the mind-body connection.
While performing these skills, working with an experienced teacher is critical to ensure appropriate form and safety precautions are taken. Like with any alternative therapy approach, it is critical to consult with your doctor before beginning to confirm that it is safe for you.
- Supplements and Vitamins
Arthritis management can be effectively carried out naturally by adding supplements and vitamins to food. Omega-3 fatty acids are useful in lowering arthritis-related inflammation and joint discomfort, and vitamin D are essential for maintaining bone density and immunological function.
Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are two of the most common options for osteoarthritis patients and can help improve joint health and reduce inflammation. But it’s crucial to remember that certain studies have had conflicting outcomes, so consult your doctor before using these supplements.
According to preliminary research, glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin sulphate are safe and well tolerated except for side effects like nausea, diarrhoea, and gastrointestinal discomfort. However, diabetic patients should take little care since glucosamine sulphate may enhance insulin resistance.
As a result, diabetic people should exercise caution and only use glucosamine sulphate under medical supervision. Based on your general health, medication usage, and other personal circumstances, they can determine whether this supplement is right for you.
Finally, while alternative therapies for arthritis pain management may provide comfort for some people, they aren’t used for medical counseling or prescribed medicine. Before attempting any alternative remedies, it is critical to consult with a healthcare expert.
It can help guarantee that the individual’s treatment is safe and successful. Also, for the best outcomes in arthritis pain management, it may be beneficial to investigate a combination of alternative and traditional treatments.