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Thursday, September 12, 2024

Arthritis — Prevention & Pain Remedies

More than 46 million Americans suffer from arthritis pain. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and is a major cause of disability in older adults. It most often affects the spine, fingers, thumbs, hips, knees or toes. What exactly is old Arthur, as my Grandmother calls it?

According to WebMD, it is a condition in which the cartilage that protects and cushions the joints breaks down over time. Eventually, the bones-formerly separated by the cartilage rubs against each other, resulting in damage to the tissue and underlying bone, causing painful joint symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand is a chronic autoimmune disease causing inflammation of the membranes or tissues lining the joints. There is no known cause, but scientists believe it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis may destroy the joint tissues, including cartilage, ligaments, tendons and bone, and, in rare but severe cases, may cause organ damage.


It goes without saying, but eating a well-balanced diet and exercising is the first step to preventing osteoarthritis. A well-balanced diet will keep the weight off your joints and ensure your body gets the nutrients it needs. Exercise, especially aerobic exercise such as swimming, walking or biking daily, can help reduce stiffness and pain, thus improving and preserving the health of your bones and joints.

Since inflammation is the antagonist in the story of arthritis, preventing inflammation is the key to a happier ending. Common advice to help prevent inflammation ranges from standing up straight to eating more fiber or to just taking some Tylenol if your pain is minor. Adding additional pressure on your joints and bad posture can cause premature wear and tear on bones and cartilage. Fiber is known for filling your internal organs to the brim and taking with it inflammatory toxins and hormones that aggravate arthritis. Therefore, getting a daily dose of fiber is a good preventative measure for reducing osteoarthritis pain. Unlike ibuprofen or naproxen (Aleve), acetaminophen (Tylenol) is not associated with stomach ulcers, so taking it for minor pain can be safe and effective.

Arthritis Pain Remedies

Capsaicin Cream – Stopping your nerve cells’ from transmitting pain impulses to the brain, capsaicin is the active component in chili peppers. Rest assured it will not burn your skin, but can certainly burn your eyes or nose if you accidentally forget to wash your hands after applying. Capsaicin cream is readily available over the counter at most local drugstores.

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) – Even though this supplement is relatively new on the scene, it has been endorsed by some doctors for effectively relieving arthritis pain by increasing cortisol efficiency which is the body’s natural inflammation fighter. MSM is a compound that contains sulfur found in minuscule amounts in food. For best results, take 1,000 milligrams twice a day for the first three days and then increase dosage to 3,000 milligrams daily until the pain subsides. Most people find comfort between 2,000 and 8,000 milligrams a day.

Ginger Root – Studies have shown ginger root blocks inflammation just as good as anti-inflammatory drugs. Sprinkle ginger on just about anything you cook up (shrimp, beans, soups, veggies, etc.), add fresh ginger to marinades or steep a few slivers of fresh ginger for 10 minutes in hot water and drink like tea for an all natural anti-inflammatory experience.

Ice Pack/Heat Pad – Feeling sore and achy? Treat yourself to a hot bath or a heating pad to the achy area. Feeling chronic pain or a sudden flare-up? Try an ice pack to the inflamed area to quash the burning.

Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfates – 500 milligrams three times a day of this supplement has shown remarkable results in studies. It typically takes about three weeks to see results, but no one is complaining yet. In fact, some are saying it’s the miracle cure, but like almost every other alternative approach out there – extensive research is still being conducted.

SAM-e – Reducing inflammation and regenerating cartilage, SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine) is known in Europe for treating depression. According to the Arthritis Foundation, 600 to 1,200 milligrams daily should lessen joint pain.

Arthritis can also be a symptom for more than 100 different conditions. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor about your arthritis pain before beginning any specific treatment and to rule out any other existing conditions. Early detection and immediate treatment of Rheumatoid arthritis, before the onset of joint damage, can possibly put the disease into remission. Visit the Arthritis Foundation for more information and take control of your arthritis pain so it doesn’t take control of you.

Medical information taken from

Carrie Robertson
Research & Community Education

Chicago Skilled Nursing
Chicago Senior Living

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