While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you can help slow its progression and prevent it from worsening
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease, causing your immune system to attack healthy cells in your body. While there is no cure for this chronic inflammatory condition, new drugs and treatments can help slow its progression and prevent it from worsening.
17 ways to treat rheumatoid arthritis naturally
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a Chinese traditional therapy that requires a trained practitioner. There is no specific research regarding the effects of acupuncture on RA, but limited studies have reported that it reduces the amount of chemicals that cause inflammation.
- Biofeedback therapy: Biofeedback therapy involves a technique to control automatic responses such as heart rate and blood pressure. Your therapist will teach you stress management techniques, which can help prevent attacks (flare-ups) of RA and ease your pain.
- Massage: Massage can help relieve pain. If you have had acute RA for a long time you may benefit from massage therapy from a trained massage therapist.
- Exercise: Regular exercise may help strengthen the muscles near the affected joints. A physical therapist can provide guidance to make sure you are following the right techniques.
- Heat: Heat helps relax your muscles and increase blood circulation. You can use a moist heating pad, warm damp towel, microwaveable hot pad, warm shower, or hot tub.
- Cold: Cold has a numbing effect that reduces pain and swelling. Use an ice pack for 15 minutes at a time and take a 30-minute break in between.
- Topical ointments: Most ointments are made from capsaicin which can be found in chili peppers. Application on affected joints may help reduce RA pain.
- Passive muscle relaxation: This involves contracting and relaxing all of your muscles—from your face to your feet. Inhale while contracting and exhale while relaxing.
- Tai chi: Tai chi is a slow and gentle type of martial art. While it’s unclear whether it is helpful in relieving RA symptoms, it may help improve strength, flexibility, and balance.
- Turmeric: Also known as curcuma, this herb blocks a protein that causes inflammation and helps reduce pain.
- Deep breathing: Taking deep breaths from your abdomen can help calm you and relax your muscles.
- Meditation: Focusing on your breathing can help you distract you from pain or other symptoms.
- Visualization techniques: This can help reduce stress and involves closing your eyes, taking a deep breath, and imagining yourself in a peaceful place.
- Yoga: Yoga is good for both body and mind and helps increase flexibility and reduce joint pain.
- Aromatherapy: While aromatherapy may not have a direct effect on inflammation and pain, it can help boost your mood.
- Fish oil: Some studies show that supplements containing fish oil reduce the stiffness and pain that comes with RA. Fish oil may cause side effects and can interfere with other medicines, so consult your doctor before using it.
- Plant oil: Oils from some plant seeds such as evening primrose and black currant contain fatty acids that help reduce pain and stiffness caused by RA. These oils can cause side effects and may interfere with other medicines, so ask your doctor before using them.
It’s important to remember that these home remedies are not a replacement for traditional medical treatment, including medications.
Can dietary changes help with rheumatoid arthritis?
A diet rich in lean protein, polyphenols (colorful veggies and fruits), antioxidants, and complex carbs can help curb cellular inflammation. Keeping away from refined sugars, fast foods, and saturated fats can also help you avoid frequent flare-ups.
Try having balanced meals rich in fruits, nuts, olive oil, healthy fats (salmon, avocado, walnuts).