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9 Natural Ways to Manage Arthritis

By Michelle Cemental

Arthritis can strike at any age. While the pain may be bearable early on, symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness can progressively get worse and even interfere with your ability to live life to the fullest. While there are medical treatments available, you may want to explore natural remedies to help you stay active and manage your symptoms. Here are some natural treatments for arthritis pain.

1. Do Tai Chi

This senior-friendly exercise program has ancient roots, and it is one of the best low-impact workouts for joints. As seniors slowly bend and move their arms and legs, the muscles and tendons surrounding the joints are gently stretched. This can help relieve arthritis pain and stiffness. Plus, tai chi can help improve balance while also calming the mind. 

RELATED CONTENT: 5 Low-Impact Exercises for Arthritis

2. Bring on the Heat

If you are feeling the pain of arthritis, try taking a bath or using a warm compress. Heat loosens tight ligaments that contribute to arthritis pain. How? Heat causes blood vessels to expand, which improves blood flow. More oxygen and nutrients are carried to the surrounding tissue. And this can all help relax stiff joints and muscles.  

For additional pain relief, try adding Epsom salt to a warm bath. Magnesium sulfate has pain-relieving properties that can benefit individuals with arthritis. It may help the body get rid of toxins, which can reduce inflammation. 

3. Oil It Up

Believe it or not, rubbing oils on your skin can help address the symptoms of arthritis. Extra virgin olive oil contains anti-inflammatory compounds that rival over-the-counter pain relievers. Studies have shown that applying olive oil to your joints topically can help control pain caused by joint inflammation.  

Additionally, there are a number of essential oils that may help ease joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness caused by arthritis, including the following: 

  • Turmeric 
  • Ginger 
  • Basil 
  • Black cumin 
  • Frankincense and myrrh 
  • Lavender 
  • Lemongrass

4. Wear Proper Gear

If you have arthritis, then there may be clothing or special gear you can wear to help reduce your symptoms. For example, if you have arthritis in your knees or hips, make sure you are wearing good shoes. Shoes that have a firm yet cushioned sole reduces the force of impact on a senior's joints. High tops can also provide support for arthritic ankles.  

RELATED CONTENT: Guide to Selecting the Proper Footwear for Senior Fall Prevention 

If a senior has pain in their wrists, then they could try wearing supportive gloves or even a splint during times of increased activity, such as while quilting. Kinesiology tape (KT tape) may also help address arthritis pain when applied around an affected joint. 

5. Increase Vitamin D

Vitamin D is responsible to helping you build strong bones. Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk of osteoarthritis, the type of arthritis that occurs when bones wear down over time. Low levels of this nutrient are also linked to an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis, an auto-immune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues. 

Ask a doctor to check your vitamin D levels, and consider supplements if necessary. You can incorporate foods that are high in vitamin D, like fish, milk, and nutrient-fortified foods. Getting at least 20 minutes of sunlight every day is also important for helping their body generate this critical nutrient. This boost in vitamin D can help improve your mood, too. 

6. Try Acupuncture

Acupuncture in an ancient form of Chinese medicine that involves inserting small, fine needles into the skin. The goal is to stimulate different parts of the body, triggering different physiological responses. 

While there isn’t a lot of research around acupuncture and arthritis, some studies suggest that acupuncture can help reduce pain caused by arthritis. But other studies show no correlation and that other results may be just a placebo effect. However, if you are suffering from the chronic pain of arthritis, it might be worth it to give acupuncture a shot!

7. Get a Massage

Massages can help relax your muscles and joints — even if you don’t have arthritis. Gentle to moderate pressure can loosen joints, reducing stiffness and pain. A good massage could help you improve your range of motion too.  

However, massages could also exacerbate your symptoms if you don’t listen to the signals your body sends you and communicate them with your massage therapist. Tender or very sensitive joints could actually become more damaged than helped through a massage. So, before getting a massage, speak with the massage therapist about sore spots and the arthritis pain you’re experiencing. 

8. Lose Weight

Excess weight can put more strain on your joints, especially the knees and hips. Shedding some of those unneeded pounds can help lighten the load and reduce pressure on swollen and painful joints. The best approach to losing weight is a combination of a healthy diet and exercise. Of course, we recommend low-impact exercises, like yoga or swimming, to help avoid putting too much force on already painful joints. 

9. Meditate

Our final tip for naturally treating arthritis pain is to meditate. This is a simple yet effective way to help the body and mind relax. While it may make your pain go away, it can help you learn to better cope with pain and discomfort.  

To get started, find a quiet spot in your home and focus your thoughts on something specific — like your breath, a candle, a song. Keep your mind steady on that one thing and return back to it if you notice your thoughts wandering to your to-do list. During this time, you can practice getting full breaths and maintaining positive thoughts.  

 

When arthritis strikes, the pain can be debilitating. Fortunately, these tips can help you manage your arthritis pain naturally. However, you should consult with your doctor if you are unable to manage your symptoms or they get worse. 

If your arthritis interferes with activities of daily living, know that our professional caregivers are here to help. Reach out to a Caring team near you to learn more.  

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Tags: Senior Health