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Ways to tackle arthritis without medication

You experience joint pain or you may feel pain in your hands. Perhaps you find it difficult to get up every day. You 

walk slower because your legs and back hurt. You have arthritis.

There are natural ways to regain fluidity of movement and decrease or even eliminate the joint pain from arthritis.

Yoga

The goal of Yoga is to bring together body and spirit and promote good health and healing. Yoga is very effective in improving your flexibility in a gentle manner to combat arthritis. In addition to helping you with your arthritis problem, Yoga will give you a great feeling of relaxation and calmness.

Massage

Massage is a great tool to relieve the pain of arthritis. The healing hands of a professional massage therapist will stretch your muscles and loosen your joints. There are many places to find a qualified massage therapist. Check with your local chiropractor and your yellow pages.

Feldenkrais

This is a combination of exercise and massage that can help arthritis patients simultaneously loosen and exercise their joints and muscles. Your Feldenkrais therapist will gently massage your body while guiding your body toward small, simple movements that are aimed at increasing flexibility. Feldenkrais can help your body "remember" old movements that your body is no longer able to do, or which you have been doing incorrectly over the years. Movement is gentle and unforced. You should feel looser, more flexible, and less stressed after a session of Feldenkrais massage. Your therapist can also teach you exercises that you can do at home when you are feeling stiff and pained.

Chiropractor

A visit to the chiropractor can often be beneficial to arthritis patients, particularly if you are affected in the spine or back muscles. Many arthritis sufferers receive spinal adjustments that can help relieve back, neck, and overall muscle pain and pressure. Speak to your doctor before you visit a chiropractor. Some patients may not be good candidate for chiropractic therapy because their joints may be too fragile. If your doctor agrees that you may receive some benefit from it, ask for a recommendation. Try to find a chiropractor that has experience working with arthritis patients, and who is gentle enough that you can visit them on a regular basis.

Diet and Exercise

Conventional medical science, quite frankly, offers little in the way of long-term serious help for the arthritis sufferer. This is ironic since there are so many people in the United States alone who are subjected to its aches and pains in some way.

Many of these people are looking towards other, more natural means to alleviate the symptoms and stop the cycle of pain. There are two options – available to everyone – that should be at the top of your list: diet and exercise.

Exercise. While it sounds like the last thing someone with painful knees or other joints really wants to do, it's one of the best things you can do for your body. Regular exercise is absolutely necessary for keeping healthy joints healthy, relieving stiffness reducing the pain and fatigue associated with arthritis, and improving both your muscle and your bone strength. It's also an essential tool in weight control. Being overweight, statistics say, makes you more vulnerable to developing arthritis.

Your personal health care practitioner should encourage you to exercise. She or a physical therapist can also help you tailor a program that is suited to your individual needs. Included in these activities should be exercises that can provide greater range of motion for more flexible joints, strength training for muscle tone and low-impact aerobic activity.

The best exercises if you have severe arthritis are water-based activities: swimming and water aerobics. The buoyancy of the water puts less of a strain on your joints. These are an excellent methods, additionally, to help build your strength, ease stiff joints and relax your sore muscles.

Other good low-impact activities for those who suffer with joint problems include bicycling – both outdoor biking and using a stationary bike. You might also want to investigate yoga. It's slow, gentle movements will, not only help you extend your range of motion, but it'll also help relieve those sore joints. All without the pounding of running or aerobic exercises.

They say we are what we eat. Your diet is, without a doubt, the most effective tool you have in constructing a healthy, active lifestyle. It's only been within the last 25 or so years, that the mainstream medical establishment began noticing this. 

If you plan to lessen your arthritic symptoms by changing your dietary habits, start with water. Drink more of it. Drink at least six to eight glasses daily. This, many health care practitioners agree, flushes toxins from your body.

At the same time, you'll want to carefully switch your diet from processed and packaged foods which are all too prevalent today to a more basic menu. Increase your intake of green vegetables. Eat more green, leafy vegetables as well as celery, kale and okra. Ensure that you eat a wide-range of veggies and other foods, from carrots to avocados, to seaweed and spirulina. Especially beneficial to the arthritic patient are barley and wheat grass products. Both of these have anti-inflammatory and detoxifying effects on the body.

And don't forget to include cold-water fish in your new line of menus, too. Cold-water fish are especially great for those with arthritis, because they possess plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids. 

Just as there are foods that help alleviate your arthritic condition, there are certain foods that are best left uneaten. These only make the aches and pains of your arthritis worse. Many of these are from the nightshade family of foods, including tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes and peppers. 

Another plant of the nightshade family is tobacco. If you smoke and have arthritis, try to find a good smoking cessation program and kick the habit. If you don't smoke, don't even think about starting.

Another category of food that only worsens your pain is called calcium inhibitors. They include red meat, dairy, eggs and chicken. But there are other food and drink in this category as well, including alcohol, coffee, refined sugar – and anything made with it – as well as salt. If it's impossible to totally give up these foods, then at least try to cut back on them as much as possible. You'll discover that the pain is far less severe when you do.

Arthritis:  Self-Care

 

Sure, there is no cure for arthritis.  That doesn’t mean you need to give up all hope and give in to the progressive disease.  Not by a long shot!  There are plenty of ways you can take control of your own health to slow the onset of this joint disease – and ease some of your pain in the process.

 

Don’t show any signs of arthritis yet?  Great!  If you follow these suggestions, you may be able to postpone developing this joint disorder for a while.

 

Start with a healthy diet.  The more research that’s performed, the stronger the connection between diet and the alleviation of arthritis symptoms becomes.  And antioxidants are a major player.  One of the most widely accepted causes for arthritis is the presence of unstable molecules called free radicals.  These free radicals attack and destroy healthy tissue, including your joints.

 

Free radicals are best thought of as nutritional terrorists.  Being unstable, they snatch electrons from other molecules in their quest to achieve stability.

 

A diet abundant in antioxidants can help quell the terrorist activity.  According to Dr. Jason Theodosakis, in his book The Arthritis Cure,  these are the most critical sources of antioxidants, as well a the quantity you should consider taking:

 

Vitamin A:            5,000 I.U. (International Units)

Vitamin C:            500 to 4,000 mg

Vitamin E:            100 to 400 I.U.

Selenium:            55 to 200 mcg

 

Now here’s a “near” antioxidant that can also be invaluable in helping alleviate your symptoms.  It’s called boron.  Technically, it’s not classified as an antioxidant, but it does possess some function of these free radical scavengers.  And it appears to be vital in keeping your joints healthy.  Boron’s importance stems from its ability to keep some cells from releasing free radicals.

 

Results from clinical trials on boron’s effectiveness on joint health are sparse.  But, some studies show that it, indeed, has a beneficial effect on this degenerative joint disease.  And anecdotal evidence backs this up.  In geographic regions where boron intake is low, osteoarthritis rates are fairly high.  Conversely, in areas where the population eats foods high in boron, arthritis rates are low.

 

What are good natural sources of boron?  Two of the best are cauliflower and apples.  If you prefer to take a boron supplement, your serving size should be about 3 mg.

 

Eat foods that counter your use of medications.  Start with eating foods high in iron.  These include organ meats, like liver, heart and kidney, lean red meat as well as cooked, dried beans and peas.  Other foods rich in iron, which may not immediately come to mind are dark green leafy vegetables, fish, poultry and prunes and prune juice.  You may also want to ensure you eat plenty of whole grain breads and cereals.  Oysters are also a good source of iron.

 

Maintain a healthy weight.  The connection is getting clearer all the time:  if your weight is at a healthy level, your chances of developing arthritis decline.

 

In fact, one study conducted by researchers at the Boston University Arthritis Center found that women who lost an average of 11 pounds over the course of a decade were nearly half as likely to develop arthritis than those who weight the same or more than they did in that same time frame.

 

 

 

 

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