It’s 2 a.m. and you’re wide awake. Your arthritis symptoms are under control. You’ve given up caffeine, naps and late-night TV, and you practice yoga and deep breathing, but these changes haven’t worked for you. Before resorting to prescription sleeping pills, consider trying one of the following natural remedies. But remember: Talk to your doctor before starting any supplement.
Finding “home remedies” for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and other forms of arthritis is easy. Finding effective ones is a lot harder. Few have been rigorously studied, and even remedies that perform well in trials don’t work for everyone. Here are five low-risk therapies that science shows may reduce pain and inflammation.
When you need a pick-me-up, help relaxing after a hard day or even a distraction from pain while working on a project, turn on some music.
Music activates your limbic system, the “emotional brain,” which controls emotions, memories and the senses. Music triggers the release of chemicals that can influence your sleep cycles, moods and other factors that contribute to a range of physical and emotional benefits.
Researchers agree – meditation can help with a host of health problems. “Relaxing and quieting your mind by focusing on your breathing can reduce stress – even the stress that comes with arthritis flares,” says David E. Yocum, MD, director of the Arizona Arthritis Center in Tucson. His studies, as well as others, found that patients who meditated responded to stress with lower heart rates and improved immune function; and that meditation, in combination with traditional medicines, appears to help patients with chronic pain. Studies have shown that meditation inhibits or relieves pain perception. And in a study published in the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s scientific journal in April 2015, 43 patients who used a mindfulness meditation program as part of their pain management experienced lower general anxiety and depression, better mental quality of life (psychological well-being), a greater feeling of control of the pain, and higher pain acceptance.
Continue reading Easy Meditation Options for Pain
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.”
Can classical music soothe aching limbs and decrease your stress? Yes! sing researchers and music therapists alike. By listening to slow-tempo classical music, pain from chronic arthritis may ease, research indicates. Researchers at the Florida Atlantic University College of Nursing, Boca Raton, found that participants’ pain levels decreased because they were distracted by the music. Stress levels did, too. Music therapists have also found that heart muscles synchronize to the beat of music, as does breathing. When classical music rhythms mimic the average resting heart – approximately 70 beats per minute – the soothing sounds actually helped to slow fast-beating hearts.