David is an army-trained biomedical scientific officer, writer, and lifelong health and fitness enthusiast.
Treat Arthritis Naturally
Arthritis is a growing problem around the world, and now affects around 80% of people aged 55 and over in Britain and the USA to some extent. Symptoms include pain and inflammation of the joints, together with reduced mobility, and in its more advanced forms it can be quite crippling. However it is possible to reverse arthritis to a large extent, and bring about a significant relief of symptoms. So if you want to know how to treat arthritis using natural methods, this article will explain how you can do that.
There are around 200 different types of arthritis, but the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear of the joint cartilage over time, whereas rheumatoid arthritis, which is far more serious, is caused by an auto-immune response, where the body attacks its own cartilage. In both cases, however, joint cartilage is gradually worn away, leading to bone rubbing against bone. This causes inflammation and pain, which can range from quite mild to very severe.
Arthritis is a progressive condition that will continue to get worse unless you take steps to do something about it. So to effectively treat arthritis naturally you will need to do the following:
Eat The Proper Diet
Eating the correct diet is the first step to overcoming disease in the body, and arthritis is no exception to this. Cut out sugar, refined carbohydrates and processed foods, and eat lean meat, fish, eggs, whole grain products, fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds.
It may also be beneficial to eliminate nightshade vegetables (such as potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants) and dairy products. Nightshades contain alkaloids that can cause (or worsen) inflammation in some people, and dairy products can also aggravate inflammation. If you are sensitive to these products they could be making your arthritis worse, so try cutting them out for a month or so to see if your condition improves. If it does not you can re-introduce them, but if it does, add them back one group at a time and see if your condition deteriorates again.
Do Some Exercise
Exercise also helps to eliminate disease from the body, and although if you have arthritis you may only be able to exercise very lightly at first, you need to do what you can to help promote healing.
Gentle stretching, light weight training, walking and swimming can all be very beneficial. Just be sure to exercise within your tolerance levels, and increase gradually over time as you get fitter and your condition improves.
Lose Weight If You Need To
Being overweight or obese puts extra strain on your joints, and will worsen your condition. So take steps to normalize your body weight if you need to. The above measures of eating right and doing some exercise will of course help you do that, but for consistent long term weight loss you need to ensure you eat fewer calories than you expend on a regular basis, until you reach your desired weight.
You don’t need to go hungry though. If you eat the right foods, you can eat as much as you want and still lose weight. See my article on how to lose weight fast for more information on this.
Fast For 24 Hours Once Each Week
Fasting is the most powerful healing method known to man. In the fasting state your body is able to cleanse, detoxify and heal itself much more effectively than it could during a normal day of eating. And fasting for short periods of time on a regular basis will also make it much easier for you to lose weight.
Just drink water only from dinner one day until dinner the next day (or lunch till lunch) one day per week. The benefits of regular intermittent fasting are cumulative – the more you do it the more you will benefit.
Use Proven Supplements
Many supplements are sold for the treatment of arthritis, but unfortunately most of them will do very little to actually help your condition. Chondroitin, for example, is poorly absorbed in the intestines due to its large molecular size, so you will probably not get a great deal of benefit from taking it (although it does appear to work for some people). Cetyl myristoleate, although very expensive, also offers very little benefit. And MSM, despite some anecdotal evidence, has little scientific validation behind it.
What does work though is glucosamine, but it needs various vitamin and mineral co-factors to be present in order for it to work properly, so it should always be taken with a good quality multivitamin supplement.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids are also highly beneficial for arthritis. So for best results take these three together.
There are also various anti-inflammatory herbs and spices that can be beneficial for pain relief, such as boswellia extract and curcumin. These will only give temporary relief from pain and inflammation, however, whereas the combination of glucosamine, multivitamin and omega 3’s will actually help to rebuild the joint cartilage and reverse the condition.
The drugs you get from your doctor will not cure you of arthritis. They will only mask your symptoms while the underlying condition continues to get worse. You cannot poison your way to better health. The only way to reverse arthritis is through the natural methods described here.
Do bear in mind though that it may have taken 20 – 30 years or more for you to develop arthritis to the level that you have it today. So it won’t be significantly improved in just a few weeks. It will take time. And if your condition is very advanced you may only ever get moderate relief. But now you know how to treat arthritis the natural way, you can be sure that if you follow the advice given here, you will be able to improve your condition, perhaps quite dramatically, over the course of time.
David (author) from Birmingham, UK on December 23, 2013:
Yes you are right Peggy, even young people sometimes get arthritis these days. And keeping moving is very important.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 22, 2013:
Very true that arthritis is so common in people after a certain age...and sometimes even younger. One needs to keep moving! Adaptations must be made when living with arthritis.
David (author) from Birmingham, UK on June 29, 2013:
Thanks Alphadogg; glad you liked it.
Kevin W from Texas on June 29, 2013:
Very interesting and informative hub dwelburn. Thumbs up