Everyone has heard of Arthritis. It is rare to meet a person who is not affected themselves, or at least closely associated with someone suffering from Arthritic pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. The word literally translates into joint inflammation (arth=joint, itis=inflammation). Arthritis can strike any age group, whether male or female; even children deal with it. With over 53 million Americans suffering from it, Arthritis is considered the dominant cause of disability in America. Unfortunately, that number is expected to continuously increase over the years.
The term “Arthritis” loosely pertains to more than 100 rheumatic diseases caused by joint or muscle inflammation, swelling, and pain. If you deal with it, you know it is a menace! Many things are attributed to the cause of arthritis but a few that have been identified are joint injuries, microbial agents that infect and damage joints, excess body weight, and occupations that involve repetitive movements.
Different Causes and Effects
Some types of Arthritis, like Osteoarthritis, are caused by normal “wear and tear” of joints. Others types, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, are caused by an attack of the immune system on the joint linings. Those suffering with arthritis may have to endure chronic pain, or just sporadic painful episodes. Pain ranges from mild to severe. Some of those affected, find their symptoms maintain the same intensity, while others gradually worsen with time. Permanent changes can occur in pain-ridden joints, for example, knobby finger joints. X-rays often show the unseen damage to joints.
The most important thing that is affected is one’s quality of life. When it hurts too much to write, type, climb stairs, bike, play golf, or whatever it is that you love but cannot do anymore, it invades your happiness. No one deserves to give up their dreams or activities due to pain. Listed below are 20 tips that may help you find relief from Arthritis.
The primary goals in dealing with arthritis are to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, revitalize tissues and joints and restore your body to the original pain threshold in order to be able to live a healthy lifestyle.
1) Emu Oil
Emu Oil is the only natural oil available that is transdermal. This means it can penetrate all 7 layers of skin and reach the muscles and tissues. Basically, the human skin has a natural, water-tight barrier that prevents many lotions and creams from actually penetrating through the skin. Emu Oil has a special fatty acid profile that replicates the cell structure of human skin. This unique oil so closely resembles our skin that it is able to penetrate through to the muscles and joints. Not only can it do all of this but it also has healing and anti-inflammatory properties. The Australian Aborigines are the first people to be recorded as using Emu Oil for minor aches and pains, as an aid in wound healing, and as a protectant from harsh wind and sun. Not only is it great for aches and pains, but also, thickens skin, moisturizes dry and cracked skin, reduces age spots, reduces wrinkles, softens callused feet, reduces stretch marks, reduces acne inflammation, softens dry cuticles, and promotes healthy nails. If you are interested in trying a topical lotion containing Emu Oil, you should check out Real Time Pain Relief.
2) Arnica Montana
In 2003, twelve general practitioners, six rheumatologists, and two general medicine specialists collaborated on an in-depth study of the use of Arnica Montana for osteoarthritis. They asked 204 participants, who all suffered from multiple osteoarthritis in their fingers, to apply the product 3 times a day to the affected fingers. Conclusions were outstanding: “Arnica gel was shown to be as effective as 5% ibuprofen gel, and was equally well tolerated. In addition, the arnica gel was evaluated as more effective by the patients and their doctors.” Arnica gel is derived from a perennial herb cultivated in North America, and is used topically for conditions such as arthritis, bruises, sprains, sunburn, joint pain, sore muscles, and chapped skin. Even though ibuprofen gel is known to help with pain, it is widely known to cause sensitivities after long periods of use. Arnica is not only superior for relieving pain but also does not cause sensitivities when applied topically! Real Time Pain Relief contains this amazing ingredient!
3) Reduce Substance P with Capsicum
Substance P is your body’s way of communicating to you when and where you are experiencing pain. Once you are aware of this pain, your natural instinct is to take an aspirin, acetaminophen, or NSAID, or even apply a topical product that contains high levels of menthol. These products are designed simply to mask your pain. They may work, but only temporarily. The reason for this short term relief is because your body recognizes that the pain is masked and creates more communicators (Substance P) because your brain needs to get the message of pain. This is why the first time you had a headache and took an aspirin it worked like a miracle, but as time went on you had to increase your dosage, or even upgrade to a more potent form, in order to achieve relief. Since your body cannot dissipate Substance P naturally, it is up to you to reduce it and restore your natural pain threshold. Applying Capsicum topically is the only scientifically proven way to achieve this! Just a word of warning though, Capsicum is derived from chili peppers and can cause burning and severe skin irritation. However, the topical pain reliever, Real Time Pain Relief, contains a powerful, yet gentle, form of Capsicum so that you do not have to worry about having adverse reactions when trying to reduce your Substance P levels!
4) Avoid Overtreatment with Toxic Drugs
While it is helpful to occasionally use acetaminophen, aspirin, or NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs- ibuprofen), daily use of these drugs can cause damage. These drugs are the leading cause of hospitalization for kidney failure, liver failure, and intestinal bleeding. In the last few decades, they have been responsible for millions of hospital visits and thousands of deaths in the United States. In 2006, Harvard Medical School released a report that every year 458 accidental deaths occur from painkillers. They do not believe that this number will decrease anytime soon. One of the major factors linked to the rise in accidental overdoses is known as “drug creep”-a dangerous influx of acetaminophen consumption due to the fact that numerous medications contain acetaminophen but treat different ailments. Many people are not aware that their doctor prescribed medications often contain acetaminophen, and sometimes overdose when they take their painkiller along with a dose of an Over-The-Counter painkiller. In the United States, acetaminophen is the number 1 reason for calls to Poison Control. In the US and the UK, it is the leading cause of liver failure.
5) Try Heat Therapy
Moist heat, in particular, provides relief from Arthritis pain because it dilates the blood vessels and increases oxygen and blood flow. It encourages your muscles to relax around the joints. Many doctors recommend starting your day with a heat compress. Heat therapy can be achieved by taking a warm bath or shower, or soaking in a hot tub for at least 15 minutes. If these methods are not preferred, moist heating pads (available at most pharmacies) provide temporary relief. Always check the temperature before applying to the skin; you do not want to burn yourself. If you have access to a hot tub and pool, you may respond well to 10 minute rotations in the hot tub and cold pool. For example, take a dip in the hot tub for 10 minutes, then switch to the pool for 10 minutes, and repeat.
6) Apply a Cold Compress
Cold compresses are great aids to reduce pain and inflammation because they constrict blood vessels that cause the swelling. However, professionals recommend not overdoing cold therapy; 15 minute applications are the maximum amount of time suggested. Always be sure to give yourself at least 30 minute breaks between treatments. Since icing can cause some stiffness around the joints, doctors recommend saving ice therapy for the end of your day to reduce inflammation caused during your daily activities.
7) Try swimming for a low impact form of exercise
It may seem like a bad idea to try to exercise if you are feeling pain, but actually it is important for people with Arthritis because it increases flexibility and strength and can reduce joint pain. However, if you find regular exercising to be too much for your arthritic joints, you should focus on swimming or water walking. Water is buoyant so it supports the weight of your body and reduces joint stress: “Being in the water ‘unweights’ your joints, which is really great for people in a lot of pain” declares Patience White, M.D of George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Exercising in water allows you to strengthen and build muscle because it exerts 12 times more resistance than air. An added bonus for this form of exercise is that you can find heated pools which promote relaxation for your muscles. Both the shallow end and the deep end are viable options, it simply depends on your preference. Just remember the deeper the water, the more strenuous your workout becomes.
8) Drink Green Tea
Researchers from Case Western Reserve University conducted lab studies and discovered that Green tea may slow the progression of arthritis and cartilage damage because it blocks Interleukin-1, which is a pro-inflammatory cell in the body. Another benefit of Green tea is that it is high in antioxidants and polyphenols which have anti-inflammatory properties.
9) Add Omega 3 Fats to your Diet
According to a study, Omega 3 Fatty Acids are great for those with arthritis because they have inflammation-fighting qualities. They work by inhibiting the production of enzymes, known as inflammatory cyto-kines and prostaglandins, that wear cartilage down. They are successful at reducing inflammation because they convert into resolvins which are powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals. Participants in the study reported less joint stiffness, reduced swelling and tenderness in joints, less overall pain, and increased strength. The best Omega 3 sources to consume are Walnuts, Flax seeds, Chia seeds, salmon (wild, fresh, or canned), Halibut, Tuna, Cod, Herring, Rainbow Trout, Sardines, Mackerel (not King), Pacific Oysters, and Anchovies. Experts say eating one to two servings of these fish per week can reduce inflammation.
10) Decrease Consumption of Omega 6 Fatty Acids
Diets high in Omega 6 fatty acids, which are found in animal products, margarines, and refined vegetable oils, like corn oil and safflower oil have been linked to Rheumatoid Arthritis. In fact, scientists have made a direct correlation between nearly every inflammatory disease and the high consumption of Omega 6 fatty acids in our diets. In the early 20th century, a push was made for the vegetable oil industry. Everyone began using some type of vegetable oil or margarine made from these oils. What no one knew is that vegetable oils have very high amounts of Omega 6’s and that these fatty acids cause internal inflammation. Human tissue acquires around 10% of our calories from highly unsaturated fats. It absorbs as much as it possibly can. Omega 6 fatty acids contain about 75%. Therefore, a diet high in Omega 6 promotes a very inflammatory environment for the body. Recent research revealed that the average person today consumes 10-25 times more Omega 6 fatty acids than our ancestors. Studies reveal that Omega 6 and Omega 3 compete for the same conversion enzymes, so if you cannot help but consume high amounts of Omega 6s you should try to take a fish oil supplement to try to counterbalance the bad fatty acids in your system. The more Omega 3’s in your system, the less Omega 6 your tissue can absorb.
11) Use Willow Bark
Willow bark has been around for centuries. There are records from Hippocrates time that patients who suffered from fever and inflammation were told to chew on the bark. It is commonly used to treat pain, especially low back pain and osteoarthritis, but also, inflammatory conditions like bursitis and tendinitis. The ability to help with pain and inflammation is because willow bark contains salicin, which was used to develop aspirin and has the same qualities. Along with this attribute, it also contains antioxidants, fever reducing abilities, antiseptic and immune boosting properties. Researchers from the University of Maryland Medical Center believe that Willow Bark reduces pain and inflammation (but not fever) just as effectively as aspirin but at a lower dosage. Real Time Pain Relief is one of the few topical pain relievers out there that contains Willow Bark.
12) Eat Grapes
Researchers from Texas Woman’s University conducted a 4 month clinical study to see if eating grapes really helps with inflammation. 72 men and women diagnosed with osteoarthritis participated in the study. Some were given a placebo powder, while others were given a whole grape freeze-dried powder. The study revealed that the organic chemicals in grapes known as polyphenols helped reduce pain, and improved overall mobility and flexibility.
Another reason to consume at least one cup of red or white grapes a day is because the skins of these grapes contain another natural compound called resveratrol which is a natural COX-2 inhibitor. COX-2 is an enzyme that is accountable for the pain and inflammation of arthritis. NSAIDs are consumed because they work as a COX-2 inhibitor, but grapes are better for your overall health, considering the fact that you do not have to worry about liver failure from eating too many grapes.
13) Add Extra Virgin Olive Oil to your Diet
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is not refined, has been found to contain oleocanthal which is known to interfere with COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. Both of these enzymes cause inflammation in the body. In 2005, a study was conducted on oleocanthal and researchers discovered that it inhibits inflammation in the same way as ibuprofen. However, it is believed that once Olive oil is exposed to extreme heat many of these benefits are lost. It would be beneficial to find a way to incorporate the raw oil into your diet, perhaps add it in by mixing your own salad dressings. Olive oil is a great substitute for vegetable oils and butter. However, even a healthy oil such as this contains a high amount of calories. Try to use it moderately especially if you are focusing on reducing your weight to help with arthritis pain.
Glucosamine is a natural compound that is found in high concentrations in the joints and connective tissues. The body produces it to build tendons, cartilage, ligaments, and joint- lubricating synovial fluid. Glucosamine increases the production of synovial fluid and builds the cartilage around the joints and it protects the remaining cartilage from additional break down. Studies show that 90%-98% of Glucosamine Sulfate is absorbed into the body. Glucosamine decreases pain, reduces inflammation, increases mobility and range of motion. Since there are few reports of side effects and it’s healing power is evident, 80 countries throughout the world approve it for the treatment of arthritis pain, as well as for other joint and muscle pains. Research shows that Glucosamine may be just as effective, if not more, than NSAIDs which have harmful side effects. While NSAIDs provide pain relief, they also reduce the production of cartilage in the body. Therefore if you pop an NSAID for that pain you may be contributing to a lifetime of pain and dependency on drugs. Glucosamine does not just mask your pain like drugs, it helps repair the damage so that pain is actually relieved.
Note: Real Time Pain Relief has used Glucosamine and Chondroitin key ingredients since 1998.
15) Boost your Vitamin C and D intake
It would be beneficial to boost your intake of Vitamin C and Vitamin D because doctors believe that being deficient in these minerals can lead to loss of cartilage and arthritis pain. A study recently unveiled that people who have a diet rich in Vitamin D or took a Vitamin D supplement reduced their risk of worsened arthritis symptoms by 75%. Doctors from this study recommend consuming 400 IU to achieve optimum results. This mineral is also plentiful in oily fish, Vitamin D fortified bread, and dairy products. Sunshine is also a great way to soak in some Vitamin D. A different study of 25,000 people revealed that consuming 500-1000 mg of Vitamin C reduces a person’s risk of developing arthritis by 30%. They recommend consuming anywhere from 500-1000 mg of Vitamin C supplement daily. Foods that contain Vitamin C include kidney beans, oranges, strawberries, mangos, pineapple, and bell peppers.
16) Carefully Choose your Proteins
Many people consume high levels of proteins, but research is starting to reveal that these high levels may be causing inflammation in the body and rheumatoid arthritis. The body’s digestive tract naturally breaks down and absorbs food. The lining of the intestines is very choosy about the nutrients it releases into the bloodstream and what it keeps around to digest longer or eliminate. When things are functioning properly, it only allows tiny particles through, but when the lining becomes inflamed, larger particles begin to leak through into the body. All of a sudden, the immune system goes into attack mode because it mistakes these nutrients as invaders. It can even cause the immune system to attack normal body cells which is directly correlated to rheumatoid arthritis in the joints. Some people have reactions to specific proteins in foods, when this happens their immune system produces antibodies that attack these proteins and lead to inflammation in the digestive tract. Gluten, found in many grains like wheat, oats, rye, and barley, as well as milk proteins, is the main culprit. If a person is unaware of their issue, their intestines tend be in a constant state of inflammation. Doctors recommend focusing on lean meat proteins such as fish, poultry, and seafood. Viable plant-based protein sources are also great options. Consider eating soy products like tofu, legumes, Walnuts, Almonds, Pecans, Brazil Nuts, and seeds.
17) Stay Hydrated
Our bodies need water, at least 50 ounces a day. Staying hydrated is very beneficial for joints and muscles. It helps your body maintain the proper blood volume and allows nutrients to move through your body and into your joints. Joints are like hinges that are connected by ligaments and coated with cartilage to keep the bones from rubbing together. Plenty of fluids keeps your joints and cartilage cushioned and lubricated, and keeps waste moving through your body. If your body has enough fluid then your joints have the cushioning and nourishment that they need.
18) Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight significantly increases the amount of pressure on your joints. Extra weight can cause arthritis to progress quickly and be more painful. While losing weight cannot reverse damage that has already occurred, it can decrease the amount of pain and keep further damage from happening. A recent study found that knee osteoarthritis in obese women would decrease by 31% if they brought their weight down. For overweight men, the data declared that it would decrease by 21.5%. A great place to start with a weight loss plan would be to cut out trans fats, avoid partially hydrogenated oils, and reduce consumption of saturated fats. These have been dubbed as instigators of inflammation and weight gain because the body has a difficult time breaking them down.
19) Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
If your diet is low in natural fruits and vegetables it could be causing the growth of harmful bacteria which may contribute to arthritis symptoms. Whole fruits, berries, leafy greens, and vegetables are all rich in vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatory antioxidants like Vitamin C and E, and phytochemicals. They are also rich in fibers that provide the beneficial bacterias that balance the gut and keep bad bacterias that cause inflammation in the body down. You should eat at least five (preferably more) servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Studies have revealed that Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferers who change their diets by increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption found their symptoms to significantly improve, and in some cases, disappear completely. Besides consuming fresh, raw produce, you can add roasted, baked, steamed, or stir-fried produce to your diet. Instead of cakes and cookies for dessert or snack time, try to appease that sweet tooth by consuming fruits.
20) Consume Ginger
Ginger is said to have anti-inflammatory properties when consumed. It contains numerous potent substances known as phytonutrients that fight inflammation. According to the Journal of Medicinal Food, ginger acts just like NSAIDs do by inhibiting the enzymes cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2. (COX 1 and COX 2). Other research discovered that ginger impedes leukotrienes, which are inflammatory molecules, as well as switches off certain genes that contribute to inflammation. In fact, a recent study at the University of Miami concluded that ginger may be a viable replacement for NSAIDs. After conducting a study that compared the effects of a high concentration of ginger versus a placebo in 247 patients dealing with osteoarthritis, researchers found that ginger reduced their pain and stiffness by 40%. Ginger comes in many forms like tinctures, teas, oils, powders, and capsules. Researchers found all forms to have benefits, but the capsule form had the greatest. Experts suggest looking for a “super-critical extraction” but recommend consulting with your doctor before adding this to your health regimen as it can interfere with certain medications.
Bonus Tip: Use Menthol Properly
Menthol is an ingredient used in most topical pain relief products. Be very cautious if the Menthol levels are high because it can create a pain masking scenario that cause high levels of Substance P to accumulate in your body. There are also consumer reports warning that it is possible to receive serious chemical burns on your skin. Most of the cases occurred with products containing high concentrations of menthol and menthyl salicylate. Be aware if your topical pain reliever contains more than 3% menthol or 10% menthyl salicylate. Real Time Pain Relief has been committed to a balanced, Ingredient Based Therapy since 1998! By maintaining Menthol levels at or below 1%, there is no concern for serious chemical burns, but the effectiveness of the ingredients in our product is not decreased.