Arthritis is a highly painful and disruptive disability that affects millions of people globally. In fact, arthritis is the number one cause of disability in the Western World1 and can become so severe as to leave an individual permanently bed-ridden and in severe discomfort. Over 20 million people experience severe arthritis.
Unfortunately though, arthritis is also a highly misunderstood problem. Many people do not recognize the severity of arthritis for instance, writing it off merely as ‘joint pain’. Likewise, many people fail to recognize the huge variety of conditions that can fall under the broad umbrella term ‘arthritis’. Actually, there are over 100 different forms of the condition, all of which range in severity and vary in terms of the area they affect. This makes arthritis particularly hard to manage and unfortunately, there is currently no known ‘cure’ for most forms of the condition.
But just because there’s no cure, that does not mean that you have to struggle alone with the condition. Arthritis therapy is a form of therapy provided by physiotherapists and which can provide significant relief. If you are suffering with arthritis pain, then it’s important that you recognize the nature and seriousness of the problem and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
What Does Arthritis Therapy Involve?
As there is no cure for arthritis, therapy will always focus on minimizing pain and discomfort and managing the condition.
This can in turn include a number of different approaches which might vary depending on the type of arthritis, the location and the severity.
Manipulation and massage for instance can sometimes be used to try and restore mobility, reduce pain and encourage circulation to the affected area. At the same time, therapists might provide the patient with exercises that they can use themselves on a more regular basis to improve their flexibility and reduce swelling. These exercises can also be used to try and slow down the progression of joint pain and to maintain normal flexibility and movement.
If you don’t use a particular joint, then this can lead to decreased movement and increased pain. However, the wrong type of movement can end up causing a lot of pain or damaging the area further – and for these reasons it’s often advisable to seek consultation regarding the best type of movement to encourage healing.
On top of this, your physiotherapist might also be able to recommend certain types of medication and can assess things like your diet and routine to see how this might affect your general health. Arthritis pain is largely caused by inflammation. In some cases, this inflammation is a result of a previous injury or repetitive strain. In others, it can be a result of the immune system attacking itself. Medication and certain dietary methods can help to reduce swelling, soothe pain and ensure a healthier response from the body. A physiotherapist can also recommend rest, elevation and other techniques as necessary and generally help you to make the best decisions for your health and for encouraging a speedy recovery.
Supplements That Help Arthritis
- If you are not eating plenty of fatty fish regularly, supplement with fish oil. Fish oil has been proven to fight inflammation and help with a number of different diseases. This works by changing the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6, which in turn can reduce the inflammation.
- Talk to your primary care physician about getting on low-dose aspirin therapy, which would mean taking one or two baby aspirins per day. It sounds silly, but it’s actually a common practice. It can help reduce inflammation in the body. Baby aspirin therapy has long been a part of cancer prevention2.
- Start taking coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): Take up to 100 mg with your biggest meal of the day.
- If you have a risk of developing metabolic syndrome, start taking alpha-lipoic acid. Take between 100-400 milligrams a day.
- Vanilla extract is a highly potent anti-inflammatory supplement3.
- Capsaicin is also an effective anti-inflammatory agent (don’t be confused by its role in occasional neurogenic inflammation). It also helps to reduce perception of pain, by modulating production of the brain chemical “substance P.”4
Likewise, changing your diet and aiming to consume fewer inflammatory foods (such as highly processed foods and sugars) can also make a big different.