7 Ways to Soothe Arthritis Pain—Naturally

Wednesday Nov 21 | BY |
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If you don’t like the side effects from drugs, there are several natural alternatives for joint pain.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that nearly one in two people may develop symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (OA) by age 85 years. One in five Americans have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

New medications are coming out all the time. Just recently, the FDA approved Pfizer’s new rheumatoid arthritis (RA) medication called “Xeljanz,” which will be an option for patients who aren’t experiencing relief with other medications. Some studies have found that early, aggressive treatment with current medications can help more sufferers go into remission.

A lot of arthritis patients, however, aren’t comfortable with prescription drugs. Those that are designed to treat RA often suppress the immune system, which can make patients more susceptible to infections and other health problems, including cancer. Side effects from other arthritis medications can include skin irritation and sensitivity, stomach upset, gastrointestinal bleeding, fluid retention, weight gain, eye problems, and more.

7 Natural Options for Joint Pain
Hoping to sidestep these unpleasant effects, many people turn to natural remedies. Here are seven that may be effective for you.

  • Tai chi. The movements in Tai chi are slow and gentle, which makes the exercise perfect for arthritis patients. Early studies have found that Tai chi helped RA patients improve muscle function and stiffness, as well as reduce pain and stress levels. Numerous studies have agreed that exercise always helps, but Tai chi combines movement with focus, helping to not only improve joint function, but relax the body as a whole, which helps reduce pain.
  • Acupuncture. Several studies indicate that acupuncture is a good option for those with arthritis. One from China found that both traditional and electrical acupuncture reduced tenderness in patients with RA, and another from Germany found that acupuncture helped patients with OA to feel less pain and stiffness, and to enjoy improved joint function.
  • Magnets. A Harvard University study found that people with knee OA who wore a sleeve containing a high-powered magnet over the affected knee reported greater pain relief after four hours than those wearing a placebo knee sleeve. Other studies have been inconclusive. Magnets are said to work by stimulating the release of the body’s natural painkillers and increasing blood flow to the tissue. Many arthritis sufferers report that magnetic therapy is helpful. You can read more about it in the research reports of William Philpott, M.D., called “Magic of Magnetic Healing—The Real Magic Bullet.”
  • Ginger. Some studies have found evidence that ginger helps relieve arthritis pain. Japanese researchers note that red ginger (Zingiber officinale var. Rubra) is regularly used in Indonesian traditional medicine as a painkiller for arthritis. Other studies have found ginger to be comparable to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as it also inhibits Cox 1 and Cox 2 enzymes related to pain. Ginger extract also helps inhibit inflammation, and has been found in studies to relieve muscle pain. Try fresh ginger on foods, ginger tea, and ginger supplements of 30-500 mg daily.
  • Sam-e. A naturally occurring chemical in the body, Sam-e has been found in many studies to treat pain, stiffness, and joint swelling, while improving mobility and rebuilding cartilage. Clinical studies have found the supplement to work as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). A U.S. study found that it took longer to take effect, but when it did, it was as effective as Celebrex in reducing pain and improving joint function. Recommended doses are 400–1,200 mg per day—check with your doctor to avoid potentially dangerous interactions with other medications.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. The Mayo Clinic states that foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce RA pain and stiffness. A 2011 study found that omega-3 in fish oil could substantially and significantly reduce the signs and symptoms of OA, as well as slow the progression of the disease. An earlier study also indicated that omega-3s can improve symptoms of RA, helping patients to rely less on NSAID pain relievers. Recommended dose is about 2,000 mg of omega-3 supplement 3 times a day, or one tablespoon of flaxseed oil a day.
  • Capsaicin cream. Capsaicin is an active compound in hot peppers, and when applied topically, has shown to help relieve the pain of arthritis. A 1991 study found that capsaicin cream was a safe and effective treatment for arthritis, reducing pain for most participants. A more recent study found that applying 0.0125% concentration capsaicin-containing gel over the knee three times a day for four weeks gives more pain relief compared to a placebo. Those with sensitive skin, however, should try just a small amount first, as some patients reported burning and stinging at the application site.

What about glucosamine and chondroitin, a popular supplement combination for joint pain relief? In the most recent study—a large trial funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases—researchers reported that those who took dietary supplements of glucosamine and chondroitin for knee OA fared no better than those who took placebo. Some previous studies found different results, so this remedy remains questionable. Many patients have found results with about 1,500 mg a day of glucosamine alone, according to Johns Hopkins.

Other potential herbal remedies include borage seed oil, thunder god vine, stinging nettles, bromelain and turmeric.

Do you have a natural remedy for arthritis? Please share.

* * *

“Do Magnets Help Osteoarthritis?” Arthritis Today, October 2012, http://www.arthritistoday.org/community/expert-q–a/osteoarthritis/arthritis-magnets.php.

“Acupuncture Gets Respect,” Arthritis Today, July 2012, http://www.arthritistoday.org/treatments/alternative-therapies/complementary-therapies/acupuncture-gets-respect.php.

“A Negative Verdict for Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplements,” Johns Hopkins Health Alert, September 28, 2009, http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/alerts/arthritis/JohnsHopkinsArthritisHealthAlert_3123-1.html.

Leo Galland, M.D., “Ginger’s Health Benefits: Fighting Pain, Inflammation, Arthritis,” Huffington Post, April 18, 2011, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leo-galland-md/how-to-fight-inflammation_b_849387.html.

“Supplement Guide: Sam-e,” Arthritis Today, October 2012, http://www.arthritistoday.org/treatments/supplement-guide/supplements/sam-e.php.

University of Bristol (2011, October 18). Omega-3 fatty acids shown to prevent or slow progression of osteoarthritis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 9, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2011/10/111017111600.htm.

Ariza-Ariza R, et al., “Omega-3 fatty acids in rheumatoid arthritis: an overview,” Semin Arthritis Rheum, 1998 Jun;27(6): 366-70, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9662755.

Deal CL, et al., “Treatment of arthritis with topical capsaicin: a double-blind trial,” Clin Ther 1991 may-June;13(3): 383-95, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1954640.

“A Low Dose of Capsaicin in Gel Helps to Control Pain in Knee Osteoarthritis Patients,” Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, 2010, By Weerachai Kosuwon, MD; Winai Sirichatiwapee, MD, From the Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20973322.

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Kevin,
    Here in Brazil we use magnesium cloret (cloreto de magnesio) to dissolve arthrosis.
    It is unexpensive, you find it in drugstores, no prescription neeeded.
    It’s a white powder, 33gr that you dissolve in one liter of water, and you drink a licor glass every morning.
    It takes some time, but gives extraordinary results.

  2. Eva says:

    It seems that many prescriptions mask the symptoms versus treat the underlying cause.
    Organic castor oil applied topically on affected areas can reduce painful flair ups.
    Also works well for menstural cramping.

  3. Suffering clients may use the seashore sand which is very effective against arthritis of any kind and I have been using it to treat myself and my clients. I do it outdoor or indoor. However, I strongly advise the use of my invented CALE magnetic massage machine first with PHL DOH-FAD license already before a client is exposed to the seashore to make sure that there would be no STROKE that could possibly happen if client is risked by possible Stroke. My magnetic massage machine is available and the proceedure in well indicated in my book “THE POWER OF GOD (Prolonging Life)” which deals with Nature’s Scientific Healing Technologies and is now in the finishing touches. It reveals incredible healings not anymore within the knowldege and power of conventional treatments.

    I pray and hope that the world may know of the healing gifts given to me by the Good Lord.

  4. Just this morning I was video chatting with my aunt, and she mentioned that she was recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Before I could ask her what her doctor recommended, she confessed to a sugar addiction. At this point, she’s willing to add things (like supplements), but not give up her favorite sugar-laced foods. A work in progress, I suppose, but I’m not giving up on convincing her to make important lifestyle changes!

  5. In terms of Ayurveda, guduchi as one of the most effective arthritis natural remedies, has been used since ancient times. It has both bitter as well as astringent tastes and can increase the moisture of bodily tissues and has potency and is heavy to digest. With these properties, guduchi helps in normalizing all the three doshas kapha, pitta and vata especially when used with clarified butter, honey and sugar respectively.

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