Arthritis can be a debilitating condition that leads to daily pain, inflammation, and immobility in the joints. This degenerative condition is mainly caused by the breakdown of cartilage. Eventually, the bones will start to rub together, leading to friction, damage, and inflammation. It can worsen over time and is often characterized by inflammatory flares.
There are two types of arthritis: osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). While OA is characterized by the wear and tear of cartilage between bones, RA is a bit more extreme. It is a disease that causes the immune system to attack the joints.
Doctors will often prescribe medications to relieve arthritis symptoms but there are also a host of alternative care options to try as well.
Give CBD a Try
According to a poll conducted by the Arthritis Foundation, 29% of respondents with arthritis were currently using CBD and roughly 80% of respondents were either using it, had used it, or were considering using it.
CBD is a popular hemp-derived product that many individuals use to alleviate pain and reduce stress. While there is no definitive evidence that CBD is helpful in treating arthritis, there are emerging studies that look promising.
Researchers found that pure CBD isolate oil doesn’t necessarily reduce the volume of pain but it could make the pain less bothersome. Animal studies also suggest that CBD could have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Anecdotally, many individuals with arthritis that try CBD report noticeable pain relief and anxiety reduction.
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Smoking has far-reaching negative consequences on the entire body. Over time, it can affect the joints and connective tissue. In some cases, smoking can cause rheumatoid arthritis. Since those with RA tend to have more plaque in their arteries, smoking can lead to an increased risk of coronary distress.
Many people with chronic pain also struggle with stress and anxiety around their condition. It’s not uncommon for some individuals to use smoking as a tool to cope emotionally. But the toxins in cigarettes can place even more undue stress on connective tissue which can cause more joint problems. It’s best to seek out alternative stress-relieving options.
Try a Topical Treatment
Direct topical treatments can be a great option for supplemental arthritis pain relief. Capsaicin is a key ingredient in many topical creams and ointments. It’s a compound found in chilis that give them their hallmark spice. There are also topical CBDs that some individuals feel help with pain management as well!
Learn to Reduce Stress
Stress can aggravate physical health issues. It can worsen pain and cause arthritis to be even more challenging. Weaving a fulfilling relaxation strategy into your daily routine can help reduce stress and, ultimately, arthritis pain.
Some popular relaxation techniques include deep breathing, meditation, and gentle yoga. But there are plenty of other options for those who don’t find stillness relaxing. This could look like gardening, taking a hot bath, reading, or whatever activity helps you sink into the present. Talking to a therapist may also help aid you in finding the best path towards a more stress-free life.
Stay Active and Mobile
Staying active can help to build strength in the muscles around your joints and help you to maintain a healthy weight – two important factors in relieving arthritis. Movement such as gentle stretching can help you regain full range of motion in the joints while healthy weight loss can reduce complications associated with arthritis.
There are many ways to incorporate daily movement into your lifestyle. It can be as simple as walking and stretching or you can pick up a new activity. Cycling, swimming, gradual progressive strength training, and other low-impact aerobic exercises can help protect the joints, improve mood, and help control weight.
Treat Yourself to a Massage
Not only can a massage improve relaxation and provide an overall sense of well-being, it can also help relieve joint pain. Your doctor may be able to recommend an accredited massage therapist that is trained to treat those with arthritis. You can also learn techniques to self-massage between professional visits.
What NOT to Do
There are countless ways that you can aggravate your arthritis too. Here are a few things to avoid in order to better manage your joint health:
- Try your best to avoid high-impact activities and repetitive motion such as running, jumping, or sports such as tennis.
- Don’t overtreat the condition. While over-the-counter pain relievers can be a good option for pain relief, overreliance can become an issue. In fact, it can hinder proper healing. Talk to your doctor about the optimal alternative treatments for you.
- Stress is the enemy of any care plan. Don’t ignore any mental health issues that might come up while dealing with arthritis.