Arthritis Pain: Super Easy Natural Methods for Reducing Arthritis Pain Most Doctors Don’t Know About
By Nathan Wei
While conventional arthritis treatments are extremely effective in controlling pain, they do present the possibility of devastating side-effects. Here are some natural treatments you might want to consider.
“This will only hurt a bit…” Urtica dioica is the stinging nettle plant. Descriptions of the use of the stinging nettle plant for arthritis dates back approximately 2,000 years to biblical times. Taken orally, products made from nettles may interfere with the body’s production of inflammation-causing chemicals specifically tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a). They may also enhance responses of the immune system. Chemicals in nettles are also thought to reduce the feeling of pain or interfere with the way that nerves send pain signals. All of these effects may reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis and similar conditions. Another similar “treatment” is bee stings. Until recently, bee sting therapy was “pooh-poohed” by the medical establishment. It turns out they were wrong. Bee venom appears to have potent anti-inflammatory properties. In animal studies conducted last year, doctors in South Korea found that melittin, the principal peptide in bee venom, blocks the expression of inflammatory genes that can cause painful tissue swelling in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
“Drink your tea…” Recent research has shown that green tea contains polyphenols – chemical compounds that reduce the expression of a gene involved in the inflammatory response in arthritis. Black tea also may be beneficial.
“Be sure to take your vitamins, dear…” Vitamin C has been demonstrated to slow the loss of cartilage due to osteoarthritis, while a diet that is low in vitamin D has been shown to accelerate the progression of osteoarthritis. In a recent study, patients who had a diet high in vitamin D (or who took vitamin D supplements) reduced their risk for progression of their arthritis by 75%. Another study looking at more than 25,000 people concluded that a low intake of vitamin C can increase the risk of developing arthritis.
“Take two aspirin and call me in the morning…” A couple of ultra natural remedies are actually quite old. Willow bark contains salicylic acid, the key ingredient in aspirin. Boswellia has been used for centuries to reduce inflammation and pain and improve arthritis symptoms. A study showed that taking these 2 herbs is just as effective as taking drugs like ibuprofen.
“Tutti frutti…” Dark colored berries such as cherries and blueberries contain anthocyanins. These are potent antioxidants. An antioxidant, is any substance that, when present at low concentrations, significantly delays or prevents the oxidation of substrates. In other words… prevents the degenerative process. The best example of a degenerative process is osteoarthritis. Fresh berries are delicious as well. Another fruit source that helps with arthritis is grapes. Grape skin contains resveratrol, a natural compound that acts as a COX-2 inhibitor. Resveratrol both suppresses the COX-2 gene and deactivates the COX-2 enzyme, which produces inflammation. A study appearing in the Journal of Biological Chemistry confirmed that resveratrol acts as both an antioxidant as well as a COX-2 inhibitor. Options for getting your grapes include eating them, or drinking grape juice or wine.
Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR is a rheumatologist and Director of the Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center of Maryland (http://www.aocm.org). He is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and consultant to the National Institutes of Health. For more info =>Arthritis Treatment