The pain and stiffness of arthritis can be helped with all or some of the following options:
Enough but not too much exercise will mobilise the joints and keep them oiled. Non jarring sports like cycling and swimming plus brisk walking are kinder to our bodies than jogging- especially on bitumen. Start slowly and be patient if you can. Pain is not gain in this case.
Herbs, vitamins and minerals can reduce joint inflammation (e.g. ginger and white willow) and help repair cartilage ( e.g. glucosamine is particularly good for knees)- and treat underlying causes such as problems with digestion ( e.g. slippery elm and probiotics) and liver function (dandelion tea is a good liver tonic).
Do ask your local naturopath for advice especially if you are on medication.
Heat and Ice packs
Ice packs are good for recent injuries and if the joint is swollen and hot. If there is just stiffness, use a heat pack. If in doubt, try ice first, wrap it in a cloth first and leave on for a maximum of ten minutes, then have a break for a few minutes. If this doesn’t work, use a heat pack. Be careful not to damage your skin.
Relaxing muscles around the joint allow the bones to move slightly apart and stop grating on each other. Yoga, gentle stretching and massage are recommended.
Food as Medicine
The food you eat will affect your symptoms so try replacing alcohol with raw veggie juices, eat plenty of salads and if you are not vegetarian, reduce red meat and have cold water fish such as salmon, sardine or tuna three times a week.
Raw nuts and seeds ( not salted or roasted) provide important minerals. Minimise cakes, biscuits, sweets, snack and junk foods.
Testing for food allergies will tell you which foods to avoid and, if you do have allergies, show that some gut repair is needed.
If you are overweight, even losing just a few kilograms will take some of the strain off joints.
Sarah Isaacs, Naturopath
Ph (07) 4085 0054