Addressing arthritis & tools to assist

Amy Gilbert, Naturopath

Arthritis is an umbrella term, covering a wide range of conditions that have a typical symptomology that includes pain, swelling, redness and warmth to the joint area as well as stiffness and reduced range of movement.

Contrary to popular belief, Arthritis is not an old person’s disease, it effects people of all ages and from all kinds of lifestyles, most ranging between the ages of 15 and 60 years of age.

Most common forms of Arthritis include:

Osteoarthritis is often referred to as ‘wear and tear’ and affects the whole joint – bone, cartilage, muscle and tissue.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and joint damage, resulting in pain and swelling in the joints.

Other forms of Arthritis include (but are not limited to) Ankylosing spondylitis, Psoriatic arthritis and Gout. There are also forms of Arthritis that affect children only such as, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.

Whilst the cause of Arthritis is often unknown, there are a number of treatment options available.

Diet plays a huge role in the treatment of arthritic conditions and many sufferers are able to pin point foods and drinks that cause them to have flair ups. By reducing the amount of inflammatory foods that we consume, we can reduce the inflammatory symptoms. Consuming a balanced diet that is rich in nuts, seeds, fish, olive oil, fruit and vegetables and eliminating processed foods, sugar, saturated fats, alcohol and often wheat will help in reducing the inflammatory symptoms.

Supplements that contain the following ingredients may be beneficial: Curcumin (Turmeric), Boswellia, Ginger, Fish Oil, Glucosamine, Condroitin and Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM).

Topical Treatments include hot and/or cold compresses to relieve pain and swelling as well as creams that contain heating or cooling and anti-inflammatory components such as arnica, comfrey, capsicum, peppermint and frankincense.

Exercise can assist in overall health and wellbeing, 30 minutes of exercise 4 to 5 times a week is important, whether that be walking, riding or swimming or gentler exercise such as Tai Chi or Yoga.

As each person and each condition is different, we recommend that you speak with your health care professional before taking on any of the above advice.

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