Osteoarthritis (OA) can affect any joint in your body but it usually occurs in your hands, hips, knees, and spine. The cause is thought to be a combination of factors including obesity, age, joint injury, heredity, and muscle weakness.
Many experts also agree that a breakdown of your immune system may be to blame. This can happen when viruses attack your joints and for some reason your immune system cannot fight back.
This is why it is important to take action toward prevention at the first sign of pain or joint stiffness. You can even take action before the symptoms begin by building a stronger immune system. This will lessen your vulnerability to attack from OA or other diseases.
How to Be Proactive and Fight Back Take a look at your lifestyle and work with your doctor on your diet and exercise regimen. By making a few changes in your living habits, you can take a proactive approach to pain management. You’ll also strengthen your immune system to fight back against disease.
Here are some easy changes you can make:
Moving your joints is important in relieving arthritis, so moderate exercising is a must. Walking, swimming and yoga can strengthen bones, joints and muscles and improve flexibility.
Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to keeping added strain off affected joints.
As with any chronic disease such as OA, supplements with fish oil are recommended by the AMA because they are a natural anti-inflammatory.
Eat a diet rich in whole grains, colorful fruits, vegetables, and cold water omega-3 fish such as salmon. Cutting back or eliminating red meat will help relieve arthritic pain since it can lead to more inflammation.
Home Remedies Can Really Work Commercial pain killers can produce serious proven side effects so many people choose to take a more holistic approach. Most of my patients are looking for quick relief from pain so they can get on with their daily routine. I recommend a few home remedies and natural supplements that can work wonders.
Your nerves are responsive to the sensation of hot and cold so it only makes sense that certain topical applications can bring fast relief. When you apply topical ingredients you can actually stop the pain message from reaching your brain and fool your nervous system into believing it doesn’t exist.
If you are reading labels, and I recommend you do, make certain a mix of menthol and camphor appears on the list of ingredients. These highly potent ingredients along with eucalyptus oil, juniper berry oil, pine oil and camphor can penetrate the skin and result in a cooling then warming sensation when the nerve impulses reach the brain.
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Along with topical applications you can also apply hot and cold compresses on the affected joints while reading a book or just relaxing. This is an easy therapy to include in your daily routine and you will be amazed at how much better you will feel.
Many natural supplements work well to combat the affects of OA:
Glucosamine and chondroitin aid in promoting joint health and repair
MSM is a sulfur compound that acts as an anti-inflammatory and can reduce swelling
Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) helps maintain the cell’s tissue integrity and can slow the progression of OA
Ginger has been shown to reduce both pain and the use of pain medications after 6 weeks1
There is more and more evidence to support the fact that lifestyle changes, diet, topical treatment and home remedies can help provide relief from painful symptoms of OA. You don’t have to give in to the aging process. Start living a pain-free life by getting your arthritis under control now.
Better yet, why not work on preventing the onset of OA by boosting your immune system and staying active. The result will be a happier and healthier life for years to come.
[Ed. Note: Mark Bromson, MD, is a nutritional consultant for Vitalmax Vitamins. He is presently a practicing orthopedic surgeon in South Florida. His extensive medical education includes a biology degree from Harvard College, a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from the University of Miami. Dr. Bromson is actively involved in the advancement of alternative medicine and its role in nutrition, exercise and the musculoskeletal system. To learn more, click here.]