Arthritis pain affects some 30 million Americans and many millions more world wide. It is no wonder then that there a many arthritis remedies offered from hundreds, if not thousands, of sources, many of them fraudulent or, at best, quackery.
To understand arthritis and the source of the pain we need to look quickly at the structure of the human body. Between each joint there is cartilage. When we are young, it is normal for that cartilage to provide for the smooth, painless, operation of the joint. The cartilage can become dysfunctional for a number of reasons through injury. You have probably all heard the phrase ‘torn cartilage’.
For all of us, as we grow older, our bodies deteriorate. They don’t heal as fast, the basic cells age and, as with our eyesight, our hearing, our muscle weight, our cartilage ‘shrinks’ or disintegrates resulting int he rubbing of bone directly on bone. If you have experienced arthritis you know that this can be extremely painful. There are many painkillers available to address the pain issues but none address the arthritis itself.
Probably the best known natural arthritis pain relievers are shark cartilage and copper bands or bracelets. There are even remedies featuring snake venom. We would like to suggest that before you sign up to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on supplements and pain killers, you try a couple of the following natural remedies.
- If you are overweight, try to lose a few pounds until you are in a healthy weight range for your build and height. Remember, the slower you lose the weight the more likely you are to keep it off and not cause other health problems along the way. Every pound you lose relieves your knees of having to carry 4lbs. According to Roy Altman, MD, many people will see their symptoms disappear if they lose 10 to 20 lbs.
- Light exercise is an essential ingredient in remaining healthy and, perhaps contrary to expectations, will relieve some arthritis pain in many instances. This more likely has to do with muscle tone improvement but the chemicals (endorphins) released during exercise probably also have an impact on the realization of pain.
- Many people report having reduced pain with acupuncture. My own experience with acupuncture was that it was not helpful so I did not continue the treatment.
- Glucosamine sulfate is another common remedy that studies seem to indicate works to some degree. Unfortunately, the majority of the glucosamine sold in the United States is glucosamine hydrochloride and there are no studies indicating that this is an effective supplement.
- Chondroitin is another supplement, usually taken in conjunction with glucosamine, that appears to be somewhat effective, but only when taken with glucosamine.
There are many ‘muscular pain relief’ rubs that are too frequently used for arthritis pain. However, there are some ointments / creams that do appear to have a positive result.
- Diclofenac gel, sold in the U.S. as Voltaren Gel or Pennsaid by prescription, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory that can ease osteoarthritis pain in the knees, ankles, feet, elbows, wrists, and hands. It is uncertain if it will alleviate osteoarthritis of the spine, hip, or shoulder. Pennsaid is available over the counter in Europe and possibly in Canada.
- Capsaicin cream seems to have some effect in relieving osteoarthritis pain. Made from the same chemical that makes chili peppers hot, capsaicin cream is available without prescription. It is believed that it may be acting as some kind of pain blocker but nobody is quite sure why it works.
Arthritis remedies include assistive devices. Depending on the location of your arthritis you may benefit from the use of an assistive device.
- The Carton Caddy® is a milk carton handle designed to make it easier to handle 1/2 gallon milk, juice and other food product (sugar) cartons. The original Carton Caddy® is light and strong and for use only with 1/2 gallon waxed cartons. The Carton Caddy® XL will make it easier to handle both the 1/2 gallon waxed paper cartons, the 1/2 gallon plastic containers with the impossibly small built in handle and also 1/2 gallon soda bottles. I have neuropathy in my left hand, probably from too much guitar playing, and the Carton Caddy® has been a real benefit to me.
- Sometimes, neoprene supports for your wrists and elbows will help. There are similar devices for knees, some with articulation supports, some just neoprene wraps. As a hockey player I have used both types and they have been a benefit to me too.
- For arthritis in your hips, or knees, you may find a walking cane, shoe inserts or splints to be helpful.
Other arhtritis remedies include transcutaneous electrostimulation, TENS, which involves the placing electrodes around the affected joint and delivering electromagnetic pulses through the skin. This appears to provide short term relief. Chiropractic may break up the muscle spasms that often accompany arthritis, thus easing some pain and physical therapy can also be of assistance for some.
New arthritis remedies are being offered all the time. I am aware of Relief Factor, for example, that is offered as a 100% natural remedy for inflammatory pain. I have not tried this product but all of the reports I hear are positive. The company claims over 80% of all customers are repeat customers.
NOTE: This is informational only. We are not doctors, I am not a doctor. You should always consult your physician regarding any health issues you have.