Alternative Therapies for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive and painful condition of the joints. Although standard treatment with medications is favored there are alternative therapies that can help where the medications stop. Exercise is at the top of the list. Even though the thought of exercising sounds painful, there are many activities that can be performed to help reduce the pain, maintain mobility and reduce the disability. Being overweight can put added stress on some of the joints, such as hips and knees. By adding a weight reducing diet and a routine exercise regimen will also help the pain from RA.

Stretching and walking are simple and inexpensive. These will help strengthen the muscles and maintain range of motion. If there is access to a warm pool swimming and water aerobics are another method and this can also increase socialization and decrease depression.

One of the easiest home remedies is heat and ice. Alternating cold and heat can be very beneficial. The cold will decrease the swelling and pain. Heat will relax the muscles that surround the affected joints. A warm bath or shower always feels good.

There are topical ointments and creams that can be rubbed onto the joints to help relieve the pain and stiffness. Those products that contain menthol, salicylates, camphor and capsaicin get have better results.

Acupuncture has been helpful for many patients. This is when a skilled person inserts small needles into what are called “pressure areas”, and releases the natural painkillers in the body. It also shows a decrease in disease activity and number of swollen joints. Sometimes electrical stimulation is applied to the end of the needle.

Mind-Body techniques are based on the interactions between the body, mind and emotions. Some of the techniques include yoga, hypnosis, biofeedback and tai-chi. This therapy also helps reduce stress, improve sleep and decrease pain.

Proteins and Peptides for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Studies have proven that when a combination of certain proteins and peptides are injected into a patient with RA their immune system is strengthened. Since RA is triggered by the auto-immune system, these proteins and peptides can help the autoimmune system stop attacking the body allowing the muscles and bones to start to regenerate.

Some supplements that are known to help are fish oils. The omega-3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and reduce morning stiffness. Thunder god vine also has anti-inflammatory properties. Black currant seed, borage oil and evening primrose oils have all shown some positive relief of pain and inflammation.

Physical therapy is another option that can be used. A physical therapist will design a plan, including exercises; perform range of motion and heat and cold therapy that will be specifically tailored to the patient and their needs. Occupational therapy may also be included in this plan. These specialists will also develop a plan to help with the challenges of everyday life, from buttoning clothes to brushing your hair. Working together some of these obstacles will become easier.

These therapies are meant to be used in conjunction with medication. Always consult a healthcare provider before starting any new activity, herbs or supplements.

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