Rheumatoid Arthritis – The Best 10 Home Remedies and Treatments
Are you one of the 1.3 million Americans who has rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? This chronic inflammatory disease is a result of an autoimmune disorder, and researchers still haven’t discovered why would our immune system attack the membrane linings surrounding our joints.
RA usually affects joints, especially fingers and toes, but it can also damage your lungs, skin, vision, blood vessels, and heart.
With time, it can affect your shoulders, hips, elbows, ankles, and knees causing joint deformity and bone erosion.
Women are more prone to rheumatoid arthritis than men. Even though it’s usually diagnosed in those over the age of 40, it can also occur in youth and children. Risk factors of this type of arthritis include genetics, exposure to silica mineral, smoking, and chronic periodontal disease.
RA symptoms are not consistent. You can feel joint and muscle pain and swelling, fatigue, and morning stiffness when the tissues are inflamed. However, when the inflammation subsides, the symptoms disappear.
Although rheumatoid arthritis is an incurable disease, there are some things you can do to relieve the symptoms naturally.
For that purpose, we present you ten home treatments for rheumatoid arthritis.
One of the first things to do to relieve RA symptoms is exercising on a regular basis. It’ll strengthen your muscles, relieve fatigue, and improve range of motion. What’s more, it can help fight depression and lower the risk of osteoporosis – conditions which can easily affect RA sufferers.
Here are 3 types of exercise that’ll help you achieve that:
- Aerobic exercise – half an hour, 3-4 times per week
- Range-of-motion exercises – half an hour a day minimum
- Strengthening exercises – 2-3 times per week
You can consult an expert about the exercises you should do and avoid.
2. Hot and Cold Compresses
Alternating application of hot and cold packs can reduce your RA symptoms. The hot compress will relax your sore joints and muscles, while the cold one will reduce joint inflammation and swelling. This, in turn, will reduce your pain significantly.
- To make the hot compress, wrap a hot water bottle in a towel.
- For the cold compress, use some ice cubes and wrap them in a thin towel.
- Apply the hot compress on the aching area for about three minutes. Remove and immediately apply the cold one for about a minute. Do this for 15-20 minutes, few times a day until you get pain relief.
- Another option is to apply the compresses
Note – If the affected area is hot, red, and irritated, do not apply hot compresses. On the other hand, avoid cold compresses if you have problems with blood circulation.
3. Fish Oil
According to studies, fish oil is great for reducing joint stiffness and pain related to rheumatoid arthritis. It contains EPA and DHA – Omega 3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Moreover, this oil reduces the risk of heart disease, and this is extremely important for rheumatoid patients as they have higher chances of developing this disease.
- To reduce your RA symptoms, consume up to 2,600 mg of fish oil (with a minimum of 30 percent DHA/EPA) two times a day.
- You can also add salmon, tuna or other cold water fish in your diet.
- Note – If you’re currently on some medication, consult a doctor before taking this oil as a supplement. This is because it can interfere with certain drugs.
A 2013 study showed that the strong anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric’s active compound, curcumin, are more effective than NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
Turmeric can block certain inflammation-causing cytokines and enzymes, thus preventing joint inflammation. Here’s how to use it to treat your RA symptoms:
- Boil 4 cups of water and add a tablespoon of turmeric powder. Boil for ten more minutes and remove from heat. Let it cool before drinking. You can take it once or twice a day.
- Another option is to take it as a capsule supplement. You’ll need 500-1,000 milligrams a day but it’s best to consult your doctor first.
- As an alternative, you can include turmeric powder in your cooking.
Note – Don’t take high doses of turmeric since it can cause stomach pain. Also, don’t forget about turmeric’s blood thinner properties.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains high levels of magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium – minerals which help relieve inflammation and pain. This is why it’s recommended for rheumatoid arthritis patients. Here’s how to use it:
- Mix one teaspoon of honey, one tablespoon of raw, unfiltered ACV, and half a cup of warm water. Consume the mixture once a day.
- As an alternative, you can rub some ACV on the affected area, followed by a warm castor oil massage. Then, use a cotton cloth to wrap the area and finally, cover with plastic to prevent staining. Do this treatment before bedtime.