Natural remedies for joint pains

A rthritis literally means inflammation of the joints. It can afflict anyone at any age. The joints typically involved are the hands and feet, wrists, ankles, knees, toes, neck and hips. The onset of arthritis is usually associated with the overuse of joints and muscles, sports injury. genetic predisposition, presence of abnormal cartilage, age-related changes in collagen matrix repair mechanisms, overweight, lifestyle and nutritional factors.

As most forms of arthritis are progressive, meaning that the condition deteriorates with time, early treatment is essential to minimise damage and promote healing. However, if the damage is severe, including muscle atrophy, cartilage destruction and loss of critical fluid in joints, then healing can be difficult and sometimes impossible.

There are generally three common forms of arthritis

Osteoarthritis generally appears as part of the ageing process. The degeneration that occurs in osteoarthritis is attributed to wear and tear of the weight-bearing joints. The cartilage, which is a tissue designed to cushion joints and ensure smooth motion breaks down followed by hardening and the formation of large bone spurs in the joint margins. As a result, there is pain, deformity and limited mobility with minimal inflammation.

Rheumatoid athritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the entire body, including the synovial membranes surrounding the lubricating fluid in the joints. There is abundant evidence that rheumatoid arthrttis is an autoimmune reaction, where antibodies develop against components of the joint tissues. Yet what triggers this autoimmune reaction remains largely unknown. Speculation and investigation has centered around genetic susceptibility, lifestyle factors, nutritional factors, food allergies and microorganisms.

A disease of overindulgence, Gout is due to the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints, tendons and other tissues. Gout usually strikes without warning. The affected joint, in majority of cases the big toe, becomes swollen and extremely painful. If left untreated, gout can become chronic and lead to joint damage and deformation. It may also cause the formation of kidney stones that subsequently lead to kidney damage.

Joint Pains Management
A holistic approach for joint pains management include the following

Herbal Medicine
There are several potent herbs that have been proven beneficial for painful joints. Celery seed, Guaiacum and Sarsaparilla are among the popular ones.

Celery Seed (Apium graveolens)
Celery seed has been traditionally used in the successful treatment of rheumatism and arthritis. A study at Newcastle University Australia confirmed that celery seed extract is effective in reducing the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. It is regarded as a diuretic, eliminating acidic metabolites through the kidneys, making it very useful in gout.

Guaiacum (Guaiacum officinale)
Guaiacum is stated to possess anti-rheumatic actions, thus useful pot only for stiff and painful joints but also affected muscles. Another wonderful action of Guaiacum is its ability to prevent and treat uric acid accumulation in joints.

Sarsaparilla (Smilax ornata)
The word " Sarsi" is derived from the name of this herb and synonymous with root beer. Aside from its popularity in the making of this beverage, Sarsaparilla is also very beneficial for rheumatic and arthritic conditions. It is used mostly to cleanse and purify the body system of toxins.

Celery and Guaiacum are often used in combination with Sarsaparilla, Ginger and Capsicum to effectively reduce pain, swelling and prevent tissue damage at the joint areas. Herbs like Turmeric, Devil's Claw, Liquorice can also be beneficial in the treatment of joint pains.

Dietary / Nutritional Therapy
Dietary therapy involves the achievement of normal body weight as excess weight puts stress on weight-bearing joints. A healthy diet rich in complex carbohydrate and dietary fibre is recommended. All red meat and animal fats should be eliminated from the diet as they can be converted in the body to certain substances that are inflammatory. Supplementation with 80°/a of Evening Primrose Oil and 20% of Marine Fish Oil will help to lessen the inflammatory responses.

As arthritis can be food allergy-induced, it is best to avoid some of the culprits like wheat, corn, dairy products, seafood, tomatoes, potatoes, oranges, eggplants and peppers. Cutting down on the consumption of alcohol, caffeine and sugar can be of great values in treating arthritis.

It is also vital to have adequate intake of anti-free radical nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamins C, E and mineral zinc in the diet. Judicious use of these nutrients help to protect against deterioration of arthritic condition by neutralising the damaging effects of free radicals as well as retarding the erosion of cartilage.

Self Help
Self-care plays a critical role in the treatment of arthritis.

- Moderate exercise can be very beneficial in improving joint mobility and reducing pain in arthritic sufferers. Exercise strengthens the supporting structures (muscles, tendons and ligaments) and increases the range of motion and flexibility of the joints.

- Have sufficient rest as fatigue or even mild tiredness can exacerbate arthritis.

- Opt for a message therapy to reduce joint stiffness and improve blood circulation in the affected joints.