Arthritis affects millions of people each year. It is marked by debilitating pains and inflammation in the joints. While it seems to be more common with the aging population, young people are not exempt from the threat.
Rheumatoid Arthritis may, at times be called Rheumatoid Disease. This is due to the fact that the illness may impact certain organs through its symptoms, rather than simply the joint pain or tenderness.
What Causes Arthritis?
Arthritis occurs when there’s a reduction in the normal amount of cartilage (the firm, flexible connective tissue) in our joints.
Osteoarthritis, one of the most common forms of arthritis, is caused by the wear-and-tear of the cartilage tissue as a result of an infection or injury to the joints.
However, Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues. These attacks later distress the synovium, the tissue which produces fluid that lubricates the joints and nourishes the cartilage.
Who it Affects?
Arthritis can affect everyone from infants to the elderly and is never pleasant. It can have an effect on a person’s ability to do everyday tasks such as sewing or writing or even using utensils.
Often times, this condition will lead to sleep problems or difficulties resting in certain ways.
It can also lead to additional medical problems such as anxiety and depression over no longer being capable of handling what were once daily tasks.
Arthritis is often diagnosed by the frequency and level of severity of pain found in joints. This can include most commonly finger joints, elbows, and knees.
While it is always best to get a doctor’s opinion, self-diagnoses with arthritis are not that complicated.
While it usually starts out with tenderness in the joint before progressing into pain, sometimes that is not the end.
The tension and stress on the joints have the capacity to spread into a pain in the muscles and rest of the body.
The crux of the problem is inflammation. The inflammation caused by arthritis is what sets the precedent for most of the symptoms that follow.
It is one of the most severe symptoms due to the fact that it causes a ripple effect.
It is arthritis’ inflammatory nature that hurts the body and is the root cause of nearly all of the pain that will be experienced.
When looking to treat arthritis, it is usually done by using resources that specifically target the swelling issue.
It causes problems in the joints, surrounding muscles, blood circulation, mental health, and more.
The reason that so many cases of arthritis are chronic is because of the inflammation that is only temporarily curable. It will almost always find its way back.
It is by learning to treat it that progress can be made and a person can learn to live with arthritis.
2. Joint Pain
The major symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is joint pain. This may be experienced in single spots, most commonly in the hands, arms, knees or feet. The back, the neck, and the ankles are all popular places as well.
It can also turn into more of a full body problem. This arises as the condition spreads and the stress is placed more heavily on certain spots.
In aging years, arthritis would be more likely to set in throughout certain places in the body. These usually depend on the job a person led throughout their life.
A seamstress or carpenter would be more likely to have worse arthritis in their finger joints. A ballerina, on the other hand, may be more prone to arthritis in his or her knees.
3. Eye Trouble
Dry and itchy eyes may be found in patients suffering from arthritis. This is linked directly to the general inflammation in the body.
Redness, a lack of resistance to light, and a potential for impaired vision are all symptoms that could occur.
In particular, the increased sensitivity to light and the impaired vision are big problems. When experienced, they should be reported to a doctor immediately for further care.
The inflammation that is causing the eye issues often only occurs in more severe cases of arthritis, but you should be prepared.
It is not uncommon for the severity of the eye problems to fluctuate as the arthritis is having good or bad days.
Any type of chronic pain can cause fatigue. The pain caused by arthritis may also dampen a person’s mood, leading to increased symptoms of anxiety or depression. This may make a person feel even more tired than normal.
The fatigue is both mental and physical, as the body reacts to the extra stress put on it through pain and tension.
The mind is also under stress as an individual has an increasingly harder time functioning as they were used to.
5. Tension Around the Lungs
The inflammation in the body caused by arthritis may lead to problems breathing. Any scarring created as a result of the disorder may cause a person to feel short of breath more quickly than they otherwise would have.
This is because the constant swelling of the joints and surrounding muscles can lead to pressure and tension around the lungs. This shortness of breath could, however, just be a natural sign of aging.
If a concern is had, it is best to talk to a doctor or health care practitioner for further diagnosis and treatment.
6. Swelling of the Blood Vessels
The same inflammation that causes so many of the other distinct symptoms can do damage to the body through the blood vessels.
The inflammatory nature of arthritis can lead to a swelling of the blood vessels, causing harm. This harm includes potential damage to the skin, nerves, and other organs.
How to Treat Naturally
There are medications that can be prescribed to a person through a doctor. However, many people understandably prefer a more natural approach to things rather than one latent with chemicals and things they cannot pronounce.
Below are some natural remedies that can help ease the pain and arthritis symptoms, as well as support your overall health.
1. Lose Weight
One of the most efficient ways to help soothe the pain from arthritis is to lose weight. Additional weight puts unnecessary pressure on the joints, which is the cause of a lot of tension or strain. [R]
If possible, losing a couple of pounds could make all the difference in eliminating what soreness you can.
It can be hard to deal with arthritis, as it limits what you can and cannot do. That is why something as simple as shedding a couple pounds can be so useful.
It puts the control just the slightest bit more in your hands and allows you to make a difference in how you live your life.
2. Herbs and Natural Supplements
There are organic supplements on the market with nutrients that have been known to help with joint pain. These include:
- Aloe vera
- Cat’s claw
- Green Tea
- Willow Bark
- Stinging nettle
It is always best to consult a doctor or health care practitioner before starting to take any kind of supplements.
Another effective pain relief could be found through an acupuncture appointment.
Originating in China centuries ago, professionals insert needles into different pressure points in your body. This allows for total relaxation as it soothes strains and eliminates stress in the body.
Used primarily by athletes for their back or injury pains, acupuncture could be a solid option for those with arthritis.
It can help with the pain a person would be feeling in their joints.
As well as aiding any pain that had spread out to muscles and tendons, acupuncture can relax a person so that they can sleep better. [R]
4. Heat Therapy
Warmth can help relieve some of the pain and swelling that comes with arthritis. It can help to relax the muscles and joints and to encourage blood flow.
Both of those two things are known to lessen the effects of this condition. A daily warm bath before bed can provide enough of a soothing nature to help sleep quality. [R]
Along with the encouragement of blood flow, heat also plays a big factor in increasing circulation.
Blood flow is promoted, but it ensures that the blood makes it all the way through your body rather than being cut off.
5. Cold Therapy
A lack of heat can be beneficial to those suffering from the pains of arthritis as well. Often times, a hot-cold alternation is recommended to patients.
Applying an ice pack or cold water to the affected area during a flare of pain can help.
Fifteen minutes at a time is recommended for placing such a pack against the afflicted joint. Taking a break of 30 minutes between sessions is also needed. [R]
While it can help you lose weight and help arthritis pains that way, exercise does more for arthritis than one would think.
It increases blood flow and helps to maintain flexibility in joints.
7. Deep Breathing
Deep breathing techniques such as meditation can be beneficial when in a fit of pain. They often get you to narrow your focus on your breath.
This is why it is a natural stress reliever and can help loosen the muscles that might be encouraging joint pain. [R]
While seeming like the obvious answer, a good massage can do wonders on pains in the body. It can help relax tensions and soothe aches and pains. [R]
There are even specific masseuses that specialize in treating RA. If you look online, there are plenty of free guides to specific relaxation techniques for massages based on arthritis.
What to Eat?
Turmeric possesses a property called curcumin. Curcumin is the reason that turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory nature.[R]
By simply incorporating the spice into your weekly diet, it can block proteins that cause pain. This makes it a super natural, super organic way to help your body relieve some of its tenderness.
Supplements of omega-3 can be prescribed by a doctor. Otherwise, fish full of fatty acids like tuna, trout, or cod can be a big help when looking at the dietary needs of someone with arthritis.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in these fish products can actually help serve as a method for preventing inflammation. [R]
By incorporating certain oils such as flaxseed oil or olive oil into your diet, it could help your arthritis.
Each of these oils has the right amount of fat and a certain combination of minerals and nutrients.
This allows for the oils to aid in not only pain relief, but tension and stress that can be heightened by foods like sugar.
Green tea has minerals such as K, Ca, P, and Mn that, when combined, can play an important role as a bodily regulator. This can help with nerves. [R]
Mineral water could have the same effect with the way in which its nutrients balance out the body.
Garlic can be used to treat a number of diseases, including arthritis. It can help limit cartilage-damaging enzymes, which would otherwise heighten the effect of arthritis pain.[R]
What to Avoid?
Too many sugary foods such as sweets or pop can be detrimental to the health of a person with arthritis.
Sugars release proteins in the body that then react and cause inflammation. This means that a person would be even worse off than usual in the inflammatory department.
Arthritis is an autoimmune condition, and so dairy is hardly the best thing for that. A strain of bacteria found in dairy products may actually cause arthritis. [R]
When drinking milk, it is thus best to look for organic brands and consume it in smaller doses, and perhaps look for alternatives such as organic soy or almond milk.
Red meats can be extremely high in saturated fats. This is not ideal for a person suffering from arthritis.
They can cause high cholesterol and additional inflammation, both of which would make tensions and pains in the body worse. [R]
The same strain of bacteria found in dairy products that may be linked to causing this condition is also found in beef.
As is the case with excess sugars, processed foods can do more harm than good regarding arthritis.
High levels of salt, cholesterol, saturated and trans fat, sugar, and chemicalized ingredients found in processed foods are particularly bad. [R]
They can block arteries, slowing down blood flow and increasing the level of tenderness or pain. They also contain products that can cause swelling in the body.
It is best to avoid them when possible to preserve the proper functioning of the joints.