There are Many Alternative Therapies for Rheumatoid Arthritis Sufferers
Dealing with RA
If you’ve got rheumatoid arthritis, the single best way to fight the disease is with medication. Still, as effective as RA drugs are, they can’t do everything.
Several non drug treatments out there can help you where medication can’t. And exercise is at the top of the list. Even though the prospect of exercising may seem painful, the right kind of activity can help prevent RA-related pain and disability.
Here are 10 alternative therapies for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers
“Exercise is really critical for everybody with arthritis,” Arthritis causes you not just pain; it causes you to use your joints in a way that stresses other structures. It’s really important to maintain flexibility and strength. The only way to do that is to exercise.”
That doesn’t mean it’s easy. She recommends choosing an activity that you enjoy, and not overdoing it. Options include walking, aquatic exercises, biking, yoga, and tai chi
Exercise has other benefits for RA patients, too. RA increases your risk of developing osteoporosis, and weight-bearing exercises can help keep your bones strong. Physical activity also heads off depression, which can plague anyone coping with a chronic illness, including RA.
- Physical therapy
Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy to help heal and strengthen a body part or an area that’s “acting up” and giving you problems.
A physical therapist will use heat, ice, Transcutaneous electrical stimulation, range-of-motion exercises, gentle strengthening moves, and more to help ease swelling and inflammation and get you back into shape. Physical therapy is typically a short-term option. You might go a few times a week for several weeks, until you’re feeling better.
- Occupational therapy
This type of therapy can also be a good bridge to a regular exercise plan. The idea of OT is to help a person live as independently and fully as possible, no matter what his or her age or condition.
An occupational therapist will work with you to identify problem areas in your daily life and figure out ways to eliminate them, or work around them. For example, your hands and wrists can become swollen and painful from typing on a keyboard all day long. The occupational therapist can help you modify your work area so you can use the computer more comfortably and avoid overuse injuries.
Occupational therapists can also help identify helpful devices that can make your everyday tasks much easier.
- Mind-body therapies
This is a catchall term for therapies that, essentially, help you use your mind to make your body feel better.
Mind-body approaches can include mindfulness meditation, biofeedback, breathing exercises, and guided relaxation. Certain types of exercise—such as yoga, qi gong, and tai chi—also encourage you to focus your mind in ways that can help you cope with pain, and improve strength and flexibility at the same time.
Studies suggest that meditation and tai chi may improve mood and quality of life, and there’s evidence that mind-body therapies are helpful for chronic pain and other types of arthritis as well.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of psychotherapy that helps people identify problems in the way they think and act and encourages them to change their behavior, can be helpful if you have RA, especially if you are suffering from depression.
Counselling can also help you cope with the other stresses and strains of chronic illness.
- Heat and Cold Treatment
One of the simplest home remedies is also one of the best: heat.
A 15-minute hot bath or shower can help you relax and soothe painful joints and muscles. You can also try applying heat to an area with a heating pad, or chilling out with an ice pack or ice water. Alternating hot packs with cold ones can also offer powerful relief.
But as with exercise, don’t overdo it; talk to a health-care provider about how to use heat and cold safely.
- Acupuncture/ Herbal Medicine
This is an ancient Eastern healing technique of stimulating certain points in the body—usually by inserting very thin needles and leaving them in place for between several minutes and an hour—to promote the flow of qi, or life force, through the body.
While proponents say that acupuncture can trigger the body to release the “feel-good” hormones known as endorphin’s, thus reducing pain, skeptics believe any benefit from the needle piercing is due to the placebo effect.
Only a handful of small studies have shown that acupuncture can help with RA symptoms. Still, many people swear by acupuncture, and there’s really no downside to giving it a try—unless you’re scared of needles.
As for herbal medicine to help ease the discomfort of joint pain, the Optilife Relief supplement has all-natural, highly effective combination of ingredients aimed at providing respite from RA pain as well as wide-ranging health benefits to your body.
Here is the list of ingredients you can use in your diet
Glucosamine Sulphate – It is cartilage that serves to protect our joints from wear and tear. Glucosamine sulphate helps to stimulate and replenish this all-important cartilage as well as boosting joint function.
Barley and Wheat Grass – These magnesium-rich ingredients reduce the excess levels of calcium found in joint tissues, enabling joints to function better. Consuming foods that are high in magnesium has been proven to reduce the degeneration of tissue and the symptoms of arthritis.
Papaya – Papaya is known to ease the pain of rheumatism, as well as treating indigestion and mucus excess within the body; a true super fruit!
Rice Bran – Rice bran is high in B vitamins and vitamin E, while also reducing the degeneration and premature ageing of tissue caused by free radicals.
Apple – As well as being a tasty fruit, the humble apple has been scientifically proven to reduce inflammation without resorting to synthesized chemicals.
Ginger – Another natural anti-inflammatory, ginger has been used effectively in treating the effects of rheumatoid arthritis and helping people to enjoy a pain-free life.
Green Tea Extract – Green tea is one of the strongest natural antioxidants and is highly effective in reducing the toll that damaging free-radicals take on the body. Green tea extract is also known as a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Licorice Root – Licorice root is a truly versatile, all-natural asset in combating joint pain and general ill-health. As well as reducing inflammation, the root also provides protection from nasty viruses and boosts the function of adrenal glands.
Turmeric – This useful herb offers far more than just a pleasant flavor; it also helps to reduce swelling and provide increased mobility for painful joints.
Vitamin C – Another natural agent which works to stimulate cartilage growth and rejuvenation in arthritic joints.
Lactobacillus with FOS – A friendly bacteria which works with your body’s natural processes to help it absorb nutrients more effectively, providing an overall boost to health.
Chlorella and Spirulina – Two great whole foods which provide complete proteins, chlorophyll and fatty acids to your body.
This unique combination helps to relieve the pain of arthritis and inflamed joints with one specially formulated supplement and is one of the more successful alternative therapies for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.
Depending on how your body is feeling, massage can be wonderful—or agonizing.
If your joints and muscles aren’t feeling too tender, it can be very beneficial in easing muscle tension related to joint stress, and just helping you relax and feel better. You will be the best judge of whether massage can help you on a particular day, or not.
Give it a try, if you think it might help your body feel better. But make sure your massage therapist has experience in treating people with RA.
- Take a break
One of the most important things for you to do if you have rheumatoid arthritis is not to overdo it.
When you need a rest, take it. Pushing yourself too hard can only make fatigue worse.
- Hook up
Having a chronic illness can be isolating.
But being open with your family and friends about your condition so you feel comfortable asking for help when you need it—or just having a shoulder to cry on—can make a big difference in how you feel, both physically and mentally.
There are also online and real-life support groups where you can meet other people with RA and share coping strategies.
As you can see in this article there are many alternative therapies for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers to choose from. A combination of some or all of these methods can be extremely beneficial to the way you cope with this debilitating condition.