Category Archives: Natural Therapies

smart diet tips arthritis

11 Smart Eating Tips for Arthritis

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just snap your fingers and know you’d never gain weight as you grow older? Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen. Exercise, cutting calories and smart eating are mandatory if you want to sail through your later years without putting on extra pounds.

The good news is, unless you are obese or have health issues, you don’t necessarily have to embark on special diets to keep extra weight at bay. All you have to do is choose your foods wisely. Ideally, you should make smart eating decisions before you put anything in your mouth.

Follow these recommendations from Larry Tucker, PhD, an obesity researcher and professor in the department of exercise sciences at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. They will help you avoid the numerous temptations we all face every day, from the birthday cake at the office party to Sunday brunch with the in-laws.
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Health Benefits Ginger

Health Benefits of Ginger for Arthritis

Do you keep ginger in your spice cabinet? Maybe it should be in your medicine cabinet. Besides being a tasty spice often used to enhance holiday treats, ginger can soothe upset stomachs and diminish nausea, and studies show it may help pain and inflammation, too.

In fact, a University of Miami study concluded that ginger extract could one day be a substitute to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The study compared the effects of a highly concentrated ginger extract to placebo in 247 patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. The ginger reduced pain and stiffness in knee joints by 40 percent over the placebo.

“Research shows that ginger affects certain inflammatory processes at a cellular level,” says the study’s lead author, Roy Altman, MD, now at the University of California, Los Angeles.
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Neck Pain Arthritis Massage

Reduce Neck Pain From Arthritis With Massage

Neck pain is one of the most frequent pain conditions, second only to back pain – with a reported 30-50% of adults experiencing it. And those living with arthritis know all too well the discomfort that can come from simply shaking their head Yes or No.

However, according to research done at the University of Miami School of Medicine, daily self-massage, coupled with regular massages from a therapist, can reduce neck pain caused by arthritis.

Participants in the study, who were already diagnosed with neck pain due to arthritis, received weekly moderate pressure massages, along with directions on how to complete those same massages on themselves daily.
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warm water therapy for joint pain

Use Your Tub to Fight Joint Pain and Stiffness

Soaking in warm water, with or without minerals, is one of the oldest forms of medicine. And there’s good reason why this practice has stood the test of time. Research has shown it works wonders for all kinds of musculoskeletal complaints, including fibromyalgia, arthritis and low back pain.

“Water is wonderful,” says Carol Huegel, a physical therapist with ReQuest Physical Therapy, Gainesville, Fla. Huegel says submersion aids sore joints three ways: It reduces the force of gravity that’s compressing the joint; offers 360-degree support for sore limbs (almost like an Ace bandage); and can increase circulation and decrease inflammation. And Huegel says its moist heat is more penetrating than the dry heat you’d get from a heating pad.

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Heat for Joint Pain Relief

Bring on the Heat for Joint Pain Relief

If your joints start to ache after a long day, try warming them up instead of popping a pill. Heat relaxes the muscles around painful joints and increases blood circulation, which can help you feel better fast. When a hot bath or shower isn’t convenient, try one of these options.

Electric Heating Pad

How It Works: Plug it in, wrap in cloth, apply for 20 minutes.

Best For: “They’re one of the best ways to heat a large body part – a hip, back, shoulder, knee – especially before activities like stretching,” says Doreen M. Stiskal, PhD, department of physical therapy chair at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey.

Pros: They’re easy to use and store; heat up quickly.

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Meditation for Arthritis Pain

Meditation for Arthritis Pain? A Beginner’s Guide

Meditation includes many different practices of focused thinking and relaxation and studies show it can help people with arthritis. No matter what technique you choose, the goal is to improve coping strategies for pain and reduce symptoms like stress and anxiety. Maybe you’ve even tried it – but two minutes felt like two hours and after each 20-minute session, the result was the same: You created a mental to-do list and had a sore behind. You’re not alone.

“We are so used to multitasking that we find it difficult to sit down and turn off our thoughts,” explains Scott Zashin, MD, a rheumatologist and clinical assistant professor of internal medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas. “Meditation is not a quick fix; it takes time.”

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Massage for Osteoarthritis & Fibromyalgia

Hands On: Massage Helps Keep Laurie Active with her Grandchildren

Laurie stays active with massage therapyDiagnosed with fibromyalgia in her 30s and then osteoarthritis (OA) in her 50s, pain has been a pretty consistent factor in Laurie Steiner’s adult life. But, as an active grandmother and frequent caretaker of seven grandchildren, Laurie doesn’t have the time to let the pain keep her down.

“I have a busy life, like most women,” says Laurie. “I watch several of my grandkids, which involves a lot of lifting, as well as getting down and dirty with them when we play together. I may have fibromyalgia and arthritis, but I can’t let it keep me from the things I love.”

In treating her pain, Laurie has been diligent in avoiding certain pain medications in fear that they will make her too tired to make it through the day.

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safe arthritis supplements

Pick a Safer Supplement for Arthritis

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees supplements, so any vitamins and herbs you buy for arthritis symptoms, whether at the store, online or even at your doctor’s office must be safe – right? Not necessarily. Although every over-the-counter (OTC) drug must have been proven safe and effective before it’s released, FDA regulations only require that supplements must not be “adulterated” or “misbranded,” and asking manufacturers and distributors to follow safety requirements of the FDA and the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994.

If the FDA uncovers violations, it issues a warning or may recall the product. “But the process can take months and even years. In the meantime, potentially harmful products continue to be sold,” says Pieter Cohen, MD, an internist at Cambridge Health Alliance, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston and a leading expert on supplement safety. ( reveals just a handful of recalls in the past year, for issues including salmonella contamination and undeclared ingredients.)

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Healthy Choices: Massage Therapy a Part of a Lifestyle Makeover

Kathleen Stoddart Rheumatoid ArthritisWhen Kathleen Stoddart was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) two years ago, she knew there would be some things she couldn’t control. But, when she realized some things were within her control, she immediately got to work.

“When I was diagnosed with RA, one thing the doctor mentioned was smoking,” recalls Kathleen. “I had been a smoker for a long time. “I kept thinking that if there was any behavior I had that contributed to making my RA worse, I would do anything to change it. Within a month of my diagnosis, I quit smoking completely.”

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Natural Pain Relief for Arthritis

Natural Relief for Arthritis Pain

There are many ways to manage arthritis pain and get pain relief. No single treatment is guaranteed to produce complete and consistent relief from pain. Often, you need a combination of methods. And you may need to add or stop a treatment over time as your condition changes.

You may get pain relief from nonprescription medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve). Or your doctor can prescribe a stronger medication if those don’t work. But you may have side effects or the medications might not provide complete relief for you. Here are other proven methods you can try to soothe arthritis pain in addition to pills and medical treatments.

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