Arthritis is a condition that affects the musculoskeletal system and causes inflammation and pain in the joints. Arthritis is recognized as the leading cause of disability in the United States and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 52.5 million adults suffer from this condition. Chronic pain, swelling and stiffness are some of the main symptoms associated with the condition. The causes of this disease include age, genetics, obesity, repetitive stress injuries, and more.
There are different treatment approaches for the condition. The type of treatment may vary from person to person and would depend on the type and severity of symptoms. It has been found that alternative therapies can help resolve arthritis pain. Reports from the Arthritis Foundation reveal that about two-thirds of people turn to alternative therapies to reduce joint inflammation and stiffness and for better pain management. Here are some of alternative therapies for this joint condition:
Physical therapy exercises can help increase range of motion and joint flexibility and strengthen the muscles. An active lifestyle coupled with regular and moderate physical activity is important. Depending on specific needs and lifestyle, the physical therapist will develop an individualized workout program. As per recommendations from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), people suffering from this condition need to use three types of workouts
- Strengthening exercises such as weight training to build up muscle strength
- Range of motion exercises to restore normal joint movement, relieve joint pain and stiffness and increase joint flexibility
- Aerobic or endurance exercises to improve cardiovascular fitness and control weight, which enhance overall health
Chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine are natural substances that are found in healthy cartilage. Supplements containing these substances are generally recommended for acute pain relief when used in conjunction with other medications. These supplements have anti-inflammatory effects that prevent the degeneration of the joint cartilage, which is one of the main causes for arthritis pain.
Hyaluronic Acid Joint Injections
Hyaluronic acid is a special substance present in the fluid of the knee which protects the joints. For patients suffering from this joint condition, the level of hyaluronic acid falls. Hyaluronic acid injections can help repair damaged cartilage.
Anti-inflammatory and low glycemic index (G-I) diets help reduce the risks associated with this joint condition. Many foods that can help control inflammation are found in certain kinds of fish, vegetables, beans, nuts and olive oil.
Weight control is very crucial as extra body weight may put more pressure on joints causing the cartilage to breakdown down faster than usual. Overweight results in joint pain and inflammation. Incorporate small changes in your lifestyle by giving equal importance to healthy eating habits and physical fitness. Established healthcare centers offer safe and effective weight loss programs that would enable patients to achieve a considerable reduction in weight.
Electrotherapies – TENS, IFC, and GS
Electrotherapy can ease aches and swelling in the arthritic joints. It involves applying electrical simulation to the nerves and muscle-motor fibers by placing elctro-pads around the affected area and delivering electromagnetic impulses through the skin.
Topical analgesics including creams, salves, or gels can be used to ease mild aches affecting a few joints.