Spices can help ease Arthritis Pain

Spices can help ease Arthritis Pain

Spices can help ease Arthritis Pain

(BlackDoctor.org) — In your search for relief from the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, you might hear or read about spices and dietary supplements that are said to help ease symptoms.

But before you head to your kitchen, or the grocery store, you need to find out which ones will fit best into your rheumatoid arthritis treatment plan. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health, just about all supplements have the potential to interfere with your regular medications or cause other unwanted side effects, such as an allergic reaction, so learning more about them and talking with your doctor beforehand is essential.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Supplements

A variety of complementary and alternative claim to be helpful for arthritis. Some of the most commonly known supplements include:

Borage oil comes from a plant and contains omega-6 fatty acids, which are thought to offer people with rheumatoid arthritis some relief from pain and joint stiffness. According to NCCAM, however, results of studies involving borage oil for rheumatoid arthritis have not been conclusive. Borage oil and other oils that contain omega-6 fatty acids, such as evening primrose oil, can increase bleeding and bruising. NCCAM also warns that borage oil is made with an additive that may increase liver damage. Also, the appropriate dose of borage oil varies with each individual, so discuss what is appropriate for you with your rheumatologist.

Capsaicin cream is numbing agent that comes from cayenne peppers. The cream is rubbed onto joints that are sore and inflamed. Studies suggest that this cream is modestly effective in reducing joint pain if it is used daily. Side effects can include a burning sensation after application.

Cod liver oil, a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, is the only dietary supplement that has been strongly associated with relieving symptoms such as inflammation and pain among people with rheumatoid arthritis. “It has results similar to non-steroidal drugs like ibuprofen and can be used safely,” says Robert W. Hoffman, DO, professor and chief of the division of rheumatology and immunology in the department of medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “It also has cardiovascular protective benefits.”

The risks of cod liver oil include increased bleeding and bruising and possible exposure to mercury from the original codfish. Research has shown 10 grams of cod liver oil daily to have a positive effect on joint pain, but there are no official recommendations about how much you should take.

Flaxseed oil, which comes from ground flax seeds, also contains omega-3 fatty acids. This oil is available in gel capsules and as in oil form for salad dressings or foods, but it must be kept refrigerated. Adults can take about 3,000 milligrams a day. It is available at pharmacies, health food stores, and some grocery stores.

Ginger is a spice that comes from the root of the ginger plant. It can be ground up to a powder, used fresh, boiled as a tea, or crystallized. Ginger has been used in Ayurvedic medicine (ancient medical practices native to India) for hundreds of years to fight inflammation. Data from scientific studies is scarce and inconclusive, but at least one study has shown ginger to help relieve some of the pain and swelling experienced by people with RA. Ginger can be bought at grocery stores as a spice, tea, crystallized candy, or a fresh root. It is available in capsule form as well. It can be used daily, but you should not use more than four grams each day.

Turmeric is a spice that, like ginger, has played a role in ancient Ayurvedic practices as an inflammation fighter. Research into its effectiveness is ongoing. At least one study has shown that taking turmeric daily can help relieve morning stiffness and joint pain. Turmeric is available as a ground spice, in capsules, and as a cream. Curcumin is the active ingredient that addresses inflammation. Taking too much turmeric can cause stomach problems such as ulcers. About 1,200 milligrams a day is what is typically recommended. It can be bought at health food stores and grocery stores.

Rheumatoid Arthritis & A Healthy Diet

Although many supplements are available in pill form, it may be a healthier (and less expensive) to turn to your diet for pain relief.

A diet rich in fruit and vegetables is also a diet rich in antioxidants, which also play a role in fighting inflammation. “All RA patients should eat a healthy, balanced diet,” says John M. Stuart, MD, professor of medicine and rheumatology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. “There is good evidence that diets rich in antioxidants may have at least modest long-term benefits.”

Before trying any supplements…

If you decide you’re interested in taking supplements, talk to your doctor first about what’s right for you, and be sure to keep them informed after you begin taking the supplements. Remember that unless your doctor says differently, those with rheumatoid arthritis should not stop traditional — and more proven — treatments.

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Simple Ways To Reduce Arthritis Pain

Arthritis Pain

Arthritis Pain

At least one form of arthritis or its related conditions (osteoarthritis, lupus and gout) affects more than one in five adults in the United States — generally more women than men, with the exception of gout, which tends to affect Black men more.

If you have arthritis, joint pain can dramatically interfere with your quality of life and the ability to do those everyday activities you once did with ease. But there are easy, everyday things you can do to help provide some relief…in addition to consulting with your doctor, of course.

Exercise

Arthritis and exercise may not seem like a natural match, but staying active can definitely help your joint pain. “Joints are meant to move, and when they move they’re lubricated,” says physical therapist Patrice Winter, PT, MS, of Fairfax Physical Therapy in Fairfax, Va. Even arthritic joints benefit from motion. The key is to know your limits, Winter says. Understand the range of motion available to you and don’t push past that limit, or you can end up increasing joint pain. And skip the weight-bearing exercises — water-based activities are ideal, especially in warm water.

Work

Joint pain can make sitting at a desk miserable. Fortunately, a few simple tips can help you get through a day at the office. If you work at a desk, make sure you have an ergonomic chair that supports your body and a workstation where all your actions can be done within your range of motion. Choose a hands-free headset instead of clenching a phone between your shoulder and your head. And stay active — remember that it’s vital to get exercise when you have arthritis. Get up and stretch every 30 to 60 minutes.

Sex

Stiff joints? You can still let loose in the bedroom. Your approach to sex should involve support, support, support — and a little bit of creativity. Pillows, wedges, and rolled towels that support curved areas will improve your sexual experience, as will trying out new positions to find what’s comfortable. The most important point, says Winter, is not to always conform to the standard missionary position (one partner on top and the other underneath). Spooning, for instance, might be a more viable alternative, she suggests.

Cooking

The secret to navigating the kitchen when you have joint pain is having everything that you use most commonly in your “strike zone.” That means you may have to reorganize cooking essentials so that most items are between shoulder and thigh height. It’s also a good idea to have a counter at thigh height, which will make stirring and rolling dough easier, says Winter. Finally, plan your strategy before you start cooking so that you won’t have to carry heavy items, such as a pot full of pasta, across the kitchen by yourself.

Reaching

If at all possible, try to avoid reaching above your head. You may need some help to reorganize closets and high cabinets, putting what you need most often within easy reach to minimize joint pain. If you must get something off a high shelf — and your arthritis is not hampering you — use a sturdy stepping stool. Still, says Winter, the best thing you can do is to keep only occasional-use items on high shelves, and ask friends or family to get them down for you when you need them.

Waking

This is a good rule of thumb for people with arthritis. “First, roll onto one side. As you let your feet over the edge, push up with your torso,” advises Winter. “The weight of the legs can help the upper body come to a sitting position.” With both feet on the floor, wait for any dizziness to pass. Contract your abdominal muscles to help yourself stand up. You may want to install grab bars near your bed to make this process easier.

Driving

The key to getting in and out of the car with arthritis symptoms is, again, to move slowly. When getting in, open the door and sit on the seat with both feet on the ground outside the car. Then pivot your body to place one foot and then the other on the floor of the car. Use the car frame for support as needed. When getting out, reverse the process and make sure to use your abdominal muscles to help lift yourself out of the car after both feet are flat on the ground outside the car. If someone is helping you, make sure they don’t pull your arm to get you out of the car.

Dressing

When you have the joint pain of arthritis, there may be days when putting on your favorite outfit is too much effort. Make sure you have comfortable clothes that slip on instead of requiring that you pull them over your head. Put larger pulls on zippers to make them easier to grasp. On days when your arthritis is particularly difficult, choose raglan style sleeves over tailored sleeves and clothing without buttons.

So what should be your first step to improving life with arthritis?
Schedule a consultation with a physical therapist to help you solve some
of the problems you encounter every day — you can get personalized
advice on how to move through each day without increasing joint pain.

Arthritis pain is manageable. Talk to your doctor/physical therapist, and take it one day at a time!