Alternative medicines are widely used for alleviating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and improving the movement of the joints affected by arthritis. There are a number of natural treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis. Alternative medicines include treatment options that are normally not considered as part of allopathic care.
Alternative medicines normally used for treating rheumatoid arthritis include herbs, dietary supplements and mind body therapies. The effectiveness of these treatments varies. While a number of these alternative arthritis treatments are supported by scientific studies, further researches are needed to prove the efficacy of others.
Alternative Medicines for Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Magnets used in the form of pads, disks, necklaces and bracelets are often effective in reducing rheumatoid arthritis pain. Preliminary evidences have supported the efficacy of magnets in controlling arthritis pain. However, the pain reducing mechanism of magnet therapy is still unclear. This therapy is not recommended for pacemaker and insulin pump users.
Mind and Body Therapy
High levels of stress tend to aggravate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. By calming the mind and reducing stress, mind-body therapy helps to reduce the perception of pain. Secretion of stress hormones can be reduced with the help of mind and body therapy.
Mind and body therapies commonly used for treating rheumatoid arthritis include yoga, tai chi, deep abdominal breathing, meditation, visualization, biofeedback and acupuncture.
Yoga poses can cause significant improvement in grip and mobility of the joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis. By combining the poses with deep breathing exercises, yoga helps in stress management.
The gentle movements of tai chi are considered safe for rheumatoid arthritis patients. They help to strengthen the joints and improve the range of motions. Tai Chi also improves mood and reduces the sensation of pain by helping the mind to focus away from the painful areas of the body.
Deep Breathing Exercises
Slow deep abdominal breathing can lower secretion of stress hormones. It helps to maintain the normal heartbeat even during stressful situations. In rheumatoid arthritis patient, this helps to reduce the perception of pain.
By relaxing the mind, meditation helps to reduce anxiety and depression, the emotional conditions that increase the pain perception. Moreover, meditation helps rheumatoid arthritis patients to focus the mind away from the painful joints.
By closing the eyes and imagining yourself in a serene location, visualization detaches the mind from the painful areas of the body. Visualization contains elements of deep breathing exercises and meditation.
Through biofeedback, you learn how to identify your body’s reaction to pain and learn strategies to control these responses and calm your mind.
In this traditional Chinese medicine, needles are inserted in specific areas of the body, called meridians, to remove obstructions in the energy flow that trigger pain and facilitate smooth flow of energy or qi through the pathways. Scientists believe that the acupuncture induces secretion of endorphins that reduce pain by obstructing the pain signals.
Diet and Supplements
Dietary changes may help in reducing arthritis pain and inflammation. Food items containing natural anti-inflammatory substances are primarily used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis pain.
A Mediterranean style diet combined with short periods of fasting helps to keep the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis under control. Eliminating allergens from the diet and limiting consumption of dairy and meat is recommended for rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Fish oil is the richest dietary source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Researches suggest that regular intake of fatty fish or fish oil supplement reduces pain and stiffness of the joints. Side effects such as increased risk of bleeding and stomach upset can be avoided by consuming not more than 3 grams of fish oil daily.
Borage Seed Oil
Borage seed oil contains anti-inflammatory fatty acids that can reduce inflammation of the joints by obstructing the activities of inflammatory chemicals produced by the immune system.
According to studies, borage seed oil helps to reduce inflammation and stiffness of the joint when taken at least for six weeks. Diarrhea and bloating are possible side effects of borage seed oil.
Curcumin, the bioactive constituent of turmeric, is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. When taken daily, turmeric or curcumin supplement reduces swelling, tenderness and stiffness of the joint. Curcumin supplement is not recommended for people suffering from gallstones or gallbladder problems.
Medicines Used To Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
Vitamins For Women With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Remicade Medications For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Essential Vitamins For Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Top 9 Causes Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
This popular spice is recommended in Ayurvedic texts for treating inflammatory conditions. Regular intake of fresh ginger may benefit rheumatoid arthritis patients. However, consuming excess gingers may boost bleeding risk. People suffering from diabetes, bleeding problems and heart diseases should consult their physician before taking ginger for reducing joint inflammation and pain.
The anti-inflammatory constituents of the herb boswellia can reduce inflammation of the joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis. Although boswellia is well tolerated, in some cases it may cause stomach upset.
White Willow Bark Extract
White willow bark contains anti-inflammatory compounds called salicylates. The pain reducing property of white willow bark is comparable to that of aspirin. Rheumatoid arthritis patients with a history of aspirin allergy should avoid white willow bark. It may cause bleeding, kidney problems, skin rash and upset stomach.
Cat’s claw contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help in treating mild joint inflammation. Herbal supplements containing cat’s claw may cause headache, dizziness and nausea.
Avocado and Soy Unsaponifiables
Supplements containing avocado and soybean extracts promote regeneration of connective tissues, a property that may help to treat degeneration of joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis. Sometimes this supplement causes upset stomach.
Homeopathy is a popular alternative therapy for rheumatic arthritis. The appropriate homeopathic medications vary, depending upon the symptoms and temperament of the patients.Homeopathic medicines most widely used for treating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are Rhus toxicondendron and sulphur.
Chiropractic care can be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis patients. By applying different chiropractic techniques, chiropractors help to reduce stiffness and improve mobility of the affected joints. Often chiropractors combine chiropractic techniques with massage, rehabilitation exercises, magnet therapy and electronic stimulation to mobilize the joints.
Bathing in the mineral rich water and heated tap provides significant relief from the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. The natural hot springs and the Dead Sea region are the best places for balneotherapy.