According to the Center of Disease Control in the USA, arthritis is the number one cause of disability today. That is a pretty scary statistic if you ask me. In fact more than 20 million people suffer from the disease in the US alone!
There are several types of arthritis that basically fall under the umbrella terms of rheumatoid arthritis (which is often severe, deforming, debilitating, and sometimes even life threatening, is caused by a kind of autoimmune reaction in the body, and osteoarthritis (the most common form, which is where the cartilage on the bone wears away and you have bone rubbing directly on bone, which causes pain and can seriously damage the bone).
Conventionally, medical doctors have treated these diseases with a variety of chemical treatments, like anti-inflammatories, anti-rheumatic medications, and even steroids, in addition to physiotherapy. But, as of recently, even conventional medical practitioners have begun to join in on the parade of natural alternative treatments, some of which have been shown to be quite effective.
Number one on the list of things you can do to help or even rid yourself of arthritis or rheumatism is to change your diet. This is the most important thing. Get dairy cut down to natural dairy, preferably goat’s milk based items, if possible. Cut out corn and soy and their by-products. Add plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, preferably those grown locally and in season, but not those from the nightshade family (potatoes, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes). Cut out most or all refined carbohydrates, opting instead for healthier whole grains. Add reasonable amounts of healthy proteins, preferably ones that aren’t loaded with growth aids, antibiotics, and other harmful things. Ideally, raising the animals yourself would be great, but since that is usually not very practical, organically fed is the next best thing, and if that isn’t possible either, at least keep it at a minimum. Citrus fruit is best left out, particularly oranges and grapefruit. Tea and coffee should be a definite no-no, along with artificial additives, preservatives, and other chemicals like MSG.
Next you can begin doing natural manipulative treatments, and other bodywork type treatments. The best choice is reflexology, then acupressure, and other types after that. Aromatherapy is great for relieving the pain or discomfort of arthritis and rheumatism too. The most effective oils to rub on the affected areas would be rosemary, juniper berry, lavender, sandalwood, ginger, and black pepper. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids have also been found quite effective, and these are to be taken orally.
Magnetic therapy has been found to be valuable in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism, as has homeopathy, along with a host of other alternative treatments. Unlike conventional choices, alternatives generally do not have any side effects and they are often more effective than conventional treatments. Many people like acupuncture and find it very effective. I personally am not a huge fan of acupuncture, but I am a huge, gigantic fan of alternatives, but in my opinion, the less invasive the better.
Herbally, there are many things that can be done for arthritis and rheumatism, including light soothing herbal teas made of white willow bark, birch leaf, alfalfa leaf, dandelion leaf, burdock leaf, and other herbs. You can also soak in hot baths of sea salt.
Exercise is an important part of the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism, with walking, swimming, and yoga being particularly effective. But, if you are already doing a certain sport or the other, then please continue to do it, and throw yourself into it. You will be pleased at how effective simple movement can be!
Although arthritis and rheumatism are horrible and sometimes debilitating, there are many things that you can do to help yourself, if you suffer from either one of these. Take solace in the knowledge that you are in charge, and the more you do to help yourself, the more benefit you will get in the long run. Patience is a virtue here, though, just like it is everywhere else!