Osteoarthritis pain is no joke. Those who suffer from it—and there are 30 million people in the U.S. alone who do—know that it can get worse over time to the point where it’s chronic, seriously affecting range of motion and mobility.
Our natural tendency is to look for relief through medication, and there are some medicines that tend to work well to alleviate the pain—over the counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), for example, or stronger prescription medications. However, like any drug, these have potential side effects and it may not be a good idea to take them long-term.
But since OA doesn’t go away, what’s the alternative?
It Starts with a Decision
Lifestyle changes are the first consideration if you’re looking to get relief from osteoarthritis. While you’ve probably heard it time and again, there’s no denying it—weight loss and exercise are key.
If that sounds like something you keep hearing, there are sensible reasons for that.
First, exercise helps the body by strengthening the muscles that support the joints, making it easier to move and helping to reduce pain. Because chronic pain can also cause depression, many people find exercise improves their mood.
Secondly, weight loss means there’s less stress on the joints, especially on the hips and knees, which bear most of our weight. Losing some extra pounds can help the pain and improve joint function, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It’s recommended you get at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week, but anything is better than nothing. Try to find something you enjoy, but opt for something low impact like riding a bike, walking or swimming.
The same is true of weight loss. You don’t need to go on an extreme diet (nor should you!), but if you can get a few pounds off, you’ll be helping your joints by easing some of the strain on them.
It’s straightforward: Decide to improve your lifestyle and then implement a plan in a way that works for you. Small improvements are still improvements.
The Arthritis Foundation also suggests several non-medication options for relieving the pain of OA, including:
- Hot and cold compresses
- Vitamins and minerals
- Herbal supplements
- Physical and occupational therapy
Here are a few specific ones that may bring relief, although there are lots of resources online. Just make sure you’re using reputable sources.
Fish oil. This is available either as a supplement or by eating—you guessed it—fish several times a week. The omega-3 fatty acids in some varieties of fish reduce inflammation and pain.
Ice massage. Rubbing an ice cube on a sore area can reduce the pain and helps keep inflammatory chemicals from forming in the body. However, keep it to just 5 to 10 minutes at a time.
Aromatherapy. Yes, it’s corroborated by scientific study. Vanilla can help relax you, improving your pain, and green apple also helps with pain relief by reducing muscle contractions.
ASU. This is an acronym for avocado-soybean unsaponifiables, a supplement that blocks inflammation, prevents joint degradation and actually helps restore connective tissue.
Ginger. Studies show that some types of ginger extract work fairly well for reducing pain associated with arthritis, much as NSAIDs do.
If you’re committed to getting pain relief without medication, a little research will reveal which natural home treatments have been scientifically proven effective to help relieve osteoarthritis. Being well-informed is your best line of defense.
Stem cells have been shown to produce considerable relief in helping the body heal itself from the damage done to joints by arthritis. These cells occur naturally within the body but diminish with age.
One of the safest and most reliable treatments involves withdrawing these special cells from your own body and then injecting them in a different location where you’re experiencing joint pain. This procedure must be done by a well-trained joint specialist.
Plasma therapy involves stimulating your body’s natural stem cell production by using growth factors present in your own blood. Concentrate is injected into the problem area and is helpful for improving arthritis symptoms.
As people become more aware of alternative therapies and methods of pain relief that don’t require medication, they’re less inclined to jump into invasive joint replacement surgery or long-term use of medicine, things which may bring their own set of problems.
If you’re ready to take control of your arthritis, let Flexogenix™ help. We’re experienced in gentle joint therapy that encourages your body to heal itself naturally.
Contact us and make an appointment today.