Arthritis is now the most common cause of disability in USA, and it is on the rise. In a study by John Hopkins Arthritis Centre, the average time lost from productive work as a result of back pain and arthritis was a staggering 5.2 hours per week. Long-term use of pain-relieving medication can have unpleasant side effects, so let’s look at a few of Nature’s remedies that are at our disposal. These, in combination with stretching, weight loss and other techniques, may be useful tools in the fight against pain.
Glucosamine – an amazing sugar
Glucosamine is what’s known as an amino sugar, which means it’s a kind of sugar/protein hybrid. It is produced in our bodies, but its production naturally slows as we get older. It is needed to produce substances that are the building blocks of our cartilage – the layer of tissue that keeps our joints well lubricated – and reduce the possibility of our bones painfully grinding together, which is essentially what happens in arthritis. A supplement of Glucosamine may therefore help in the repair of cartilage and therefore reduce pain.
Glucosamine is best taken in combination with Omega 3 oil, which is found in cold water fish like sardines, salmon and mackerel. Studies have found that these fatty acids can help to reduce inflammation and therefore assist with pain.
Reach for the vinegar
The use of apple cider vinegar dates back thousands of years and has always been a popular folk remedy. In fact, it is said it was used by Hippocrates. It has long been known to help with arthritis, and although we don’t know its mode of action, there’s no harm in including it in your diet, as it is great when used in salad dressings and marinades.
Be aware of nightshade
Yes, you read it correctly – there are foods commonly used in our diets that belong to the same family as the notorious deadly nightshade! While that doesn’t mean they’re poisonous, they do contain substances that need to be safely broken down by the body, and some people appear to be sensitive to these compounds. Some, although not all, arthritis patients find that by cutting down on these foods can help reduce joint problems. The culprits, amazingly, are tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and aubergines. Maybe give them a miss for as little as a week and see if your symptoms improve.
Wise old Hippocrates used to say, “Let food be your medicine.” Why not see if these simple measures help to reduce your chronic pain?
Jenny Holt is a freelance writer and mother of two. She loves nothing more than getting away from it all and taking her pet Labrador Bruce for long walks, something she can do a lot more now she’s left the corporate world behind. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org!