Natural Pain Relievers for Arthritis

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Welcome back to my series on arthritis pain. It’s a subject close to my own heart as I am an arthritis sufferer.

I have had arthritis in my knees for much of my adult life and the pain can reduce you to tears when it’s left untreated.

Fortunately, my wife Jane and I aren’t in favor of the old school “suffer in silence” attitude. We believe that if you’re in pain the best thing that you can do is to seek help and get rid of that pain as fast as possible.

Get Your Doctors Advice First

Our family physician is a lovely man. He cares about me and Jane and our children. I have no doubts about his professionalism or dedication. He is our first stop for health advice and often we’ll go back to him before we try something new.

Jane and I are firm believers that you can supplement pharmaceutical medicine with natural remedies. It is not an either/or situation but both.

We do not subscribe to the idea that doctors and pharmaceutical companies exist solely to get rich, we think that’s a nonsense.

Even if it were true, the richest these companies can get is if you live a long life and keep buying their products.  They have all the incentive in the world to sell things that work.

Natural Remedies Have Their Role To Play Too

We also know, for a fact, that many natural compounds aren’t worth researching and developing into drugs because they can’t ever make a profit.

A company can’t suddenly start bottling a plant and demanding $300 for it. You’d just grow the plant in your backyard and pay nothing for it.

So, there’s a synergy to be had from combining the two. When it comes to arthritis, however, your doctor’s advice comes first.

There may be serious consequences for not getting early treatment and diagnosis, so please don’t mess around see the family physician and feel free to talk about natural additions to your treatment regime with them.

Natural Remedies For Arthritis

Now, with that in mind, let’s talk about natural remedies that you can use to complement your pharmaceutical regime for arthritis:

Acupuncture or Acupressure

I’ll level with you as far as I am concerned, the jury’s still out on acupuncture and acupressure. The theory is this – your body is surrounded by an energy field “qi” and that field is somehow thrown out of whack when you get sick.

This “qi” can be fixed by the use of either needles (acupuncture) or ice (acupressure) at certain points on the body. When it comes back into alignment, the pain goes away.

The trouble with this theory is that there’s never been any detection of this “qi” by a scientist and they’ve been looking.

The World Health Organization recommends acupuncture for many conditions including arthritis, but the truth is – there’s not much evidence to back it up. A report from an acupuncture representative body in the British Medical Journal showed that it performs worse than a placebo does.

I have, for the sake of completeness, tried acupuncture. It’s not an unpleasant sensation. It doesn’t hurt (as you might think it would) and it was very relaxing. It also did nothing for my pain. It might work for you; however, many people seem to think it does. So, I include it for completeness’ sake here.

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Meditation

Meditation, on the other hand, is something that I do promote. It too has a somewhat shaky scientific basis but it has worked for me.

One thing that you should be aware of is that meditation is not a religious ritual. You are not imperiling your immortal soul if you decide to meditate. While it is true that some religions’ adherents do meditate more than others – there’s no religious element to pure meditation.

It is simply the art of relaxing and learning to listen to your body and bring yourself to a state of peace. This seems to help with inflammation and to reduce depression both of which are big contributing factors to pain.

My favorite meditation text is Chade-Meng Tan’s “Joy On Demand” and you can buy it from Amazon.

Tan used to work for Google and was their Chief Happiness Officer. The reason I love this book is that it teaches a 2-second meditation technique you can put into practice anywhere and you don’t have to go into the lotus position for it.

Hot And Cold Therapy Can Work Too

This is, I guess, an extension of the acupressure concept but I can see how it might be efficacious in treating some forms of arthritis. If you use hot presses and other warming treatments (such as showers, baths, electric blankets, etc.) you may find that this helps keeps your joints limber.

Conversely, in moments of extreme pain, then an ice pack may reduce the pain on the joint. This would work by reducing inflammation, temporarily, which in turn should provide relief. It also has the benefit of not involving any needles.

If you don’t have an ice pack to hand, then use a bag of frozen vegetables but wrap them in a towel to avoid freezer burns. You don’t want to give yourself a new form of pain while dealing with the old one.

Consider Massage

I’ve never been able to tell if a massage reduces my pain or if it just reduces my stress which reduces the inflammation which reduces the pain? Does it matter? Absolutely not. It reduces my pain and that’s all the counts.

You don’t need to pay for a fancy massage, ask a family member to gently massage the afflicted area.

Overall

These are a selection of natural pain relievers which have some demonstrable benefits in reducing arthritis pain. There are others which I shall look at in about two weeks but first, next week, I want to look at a routine that will help your arthritis every single day! See you soon.


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