The difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis is that the former can strike at any age, which leads to an immune system malfunction that mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints, while the latter is caused by wear and tear of the joints and surrounding tissue that is associated with age. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), over time, can be quite debilitating and can lead to deformity. Western modes of treatment mainly involve the use of drugs to help keep inflammation at bay and to inhibit abnormal immune activity, although more often than not, use of these drugs leads to unwanted effects.
If you integrate natural treatment modalities to the conventional course of treatment, this may significantly enhance symptomatic relief and slow the damage to the joints. These following natural therapies are worth considering:
One of the best contributions of Ancient China to the world, Acupuncture is a Chinese healing tradition that has been used to address dozens of health conditions. Decades of Western medical research is revealing what has already been known for thousands of years: that acupuncture is a very effective and practical way of significantly improving health conditions – from depression to obesity and from physical pain to cancer and chemotherapy related problems. A lot of clinical studies on acupuncture’s effect on rheumatoid arthritis have shown the treatment to be extremely beneficial. One specific study, conducted in China, done in 2011, revealed that a combination of electro-acupuncture and traditional acupuncture led to a significant reduction in the levels of several inflammatory substances in the body which were related to the setting off of VEGF and TNF-alpha and other RA symptoms. Some studies also led to similar results which was the main way by which acupuncture alleviates the symptoms of this inflammatory disease.
Various types of supplements can be of help for the relief of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. However, some supplements should not be used if you have certain health conditions or if you are taking certain kinds of medications. Therefore, it is important to educate yourself about their use. Green tea, ginger, cat’s claw, bromelain, turmeric, and omega-3 fatty acids are some of the more powerful supplements that can help lessen inflammation. To help relieve stiffness and pain, one could try devil’s claw, boswellia, evening primrose, black currant seed, borage oil, products with GLA, and vitamin E.
When you are taking supplements, it is vital to remember it may take a certain amount of time to experience their full effects. Sometimes, you need to wait for two months or more before you can correctly evaluate whether a supplement really benefits you. They’re usually effective in addressing the root cause of the problem, so be diligent and patient when you are using them.
There are two main goals to achieve when it comes to diet. One, you need to heal the inflammation and two, you want to avoid eating any foods that you are sensitive or allergic to. Those who are suffering from autoimmune disorders usually also have certain food allergies. If you eat foods that your body negatively reacts to, it can result in all sorts of adverse effects. These may include a rise in inflammation, which, is the main issue of rheumatoid arthritis.
You may want to focus on fats when you are following an anti-inflammatory diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are good sources of anti-inflammatory substances. Omega-3 fats can be found in walnuts, hemp seed, flax seed, salmon and other fatty fish. The fatty acids that should be limited are Omega-6 fatty acids as they can cause inflammation when eaten in large quantities, which is the norm in a standard American diet. Stay away from trans fats, limit the consumption of saturated animal fats and watch your intake of mixed vegetable oils, soy oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and corn oil.
Wisely choose the carbohydrates to eat. Carbs that may lead to myriad changes in the body and cause inflammation include sugary drinks and foods, and processed or refined carbs.
Try eliminating the most common allergens all together for two or three months. Later on, add one food back slowly and one at a time to see if your body still negatively reacts to it. Gluten, dairy, nuts, and soy are the most common allergy causing foods so you need to avoid them. Do a bit of research on how to properly do an elimination diet in order to get the right results.
Anecdotal evidences reveal that a lot of people with RA experience symptomatic relief when they are follow a vegan diet—this type of diet does not use any animal foods at all.