Natural and Over the Counter Remedies to Prevent Arthritis Pain

Arthritis Herbal Remedies

by Support on May 26, 2011

From pharmacists Steve Bernardi and Dr. Gary Kracoff, good advice for arthritis victims…

Over the Counter: Get Moving to Prevent Arthritis Pain

The warm weather provides a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. It can also, however, serve as a painful reminder for people with osteoporosis, arthritis and other bone and joint diseases of the perceived limitations of their bodies.

Activities such as gardening, biking, boating and even walking can seem like too much to bear, and the temptation is all too great to stay inside. But it does not have to be this way, and even people with advanced bone and joint diseases can find a way to get outdoors and to get active.

First, decrease the stress. We now have a much better sense of exactly how bad stress is for the body. In the case of bones and joints, stress can be particularly damaging because over time it will weaken the body’s adrenal response and this can contribute to osteoporosis.

Stress must be dealt with in whatever way works, including psychotherapy, yoga and meditation, and even the creation of a daily period of relaxation. Spend 30 minutes every day doing something you love, whether it is reading, working out or doing a puzzle. Try to choose an activity that keeps either your brain or body active.

Second, diet is absolutely critical. White flour and white sugar have a direct correlation to inflammation and must be reduced to the greatest extent possible. In particular, soda does serious harm to bones, by literally leaching calcium from the bones. On the other hand, whole grains, omega 3s (found most often in non-farm raised fish), avocado and nuts can help to strengthen bones.

Third, supplements can also reduce inflammation and at the same time strengthen bones and joints, allowing people with osteoporosis and arthritis to have less pain and achieve a greater range of motion than previously thought possible. Calcium, vitamin D3, vitamin K2, magnesium and fish oil should all be considered and evaluated. There are also herbal supplements that can safely reduce inflammation as well as homeopathic creams that do the same.

It should also be noted that it is important to choose the right form of calcium and other supplements. Calcium carbonate, for instance, may not be as effective as other forms of calcium. Check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Reducing stress, improving diet, and using the right supplements will get you much of the way to feeling better and resuming outdoor activities that you enjoy. There is one more very important component that is helpful in resuming physical activity, and that is, in fact, just that: physical activity.

Start small. Don’t overdo it. Go for walks and gradually increase the distance. Some very light weightlifting can be helpful. For individuals for whom walking a distance is simply too painful, consider trying this: buy a mini-trampoline and, while seated, simply bounce up and down. This will increase agility.

Gardening can be a terrific activity because it includes so much exercise, including bending, stretching, and lifting. But be sure to use pads and other equipment that will decrease stress on the knees and that will provide greater comfort.

Most important, if the exercise creates pain or soreness the next day, don’t stop. Continue with the exercise and it will further improve the body’s agility and response.

For younger people who are concerned about developing osteoporosis and arthritis, now is the time to make those important lifestyle changes: eat better; supplement what you don’t get enough of in your diet; conquer stress; and exercise more.

The “use it or lose it” maxim is never more powerful than when discussing bone and joint health. A diagnosis of osteoporosis or arthritis should not prompt one to reduce physical activity. On the contrary, it is a clarion call to get more active.

Steve Bernardi is a compounding pharmacist and Dr. Gary Kracoff is a registered pharmacist and a naturopathic doctor at Johnson Compounding and Wellness Center in Waltham (www.naturalcompounder.com). Readers with questions about natural or homeopathic medicine, compounded medications, or health in general can e-mail steveandgary@naturalcompounder.com or call 781-893-3870.

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Treat Arthritis with Herbal Remedies

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