Causes and Cures for Arthritis

Causes and Cures for Arthritis

Arthritis is the inflammation or swelling of one or more joints in different parts of the body. Depending on the type of arthritis, some cause wear and tear, infections, and other underlying diseases. Symptoms of arthritis that stem from such causes include reduced range of motion, pain, swelling, and stiffness. Anxiety, stress, and depression are also all common complications of conditions that are involved with chronic arthritis.

Arthritis involves the inflammation of joints and can be found in places such as the feet, hands, hips, knees, and lower back. Many develop arthritis later in life and can be harmful in the long term if left untreated. Living with arthritis can inhibit the quality of life, but there are various arthritis treatments that can be done holistically to reduce pain and further prevent the risk of developing arthritis. 

Pain in the knee joint.
Image by kjpargeter on Freepik

Common Types of Arthritis Include:

  • Osteoarthritis: “wear and tear” arthritis, which develops when joint cartilage breaks down from repeated stress. 

  • Rheumatoid arthritis: disease that causes the immune system to attack synovial membranes in your joints.

  • Psoriatic arthritis: joint inflammation that develops in people with psoriasis (autoimmune disorder that causes skin irritation).

  • Ankylosing spondylitis: arthritis of the spine (usually your lower back).

  • Gout: disease that causes hard crystals of uric acid to form in your joints.

  • Juvenile arthritis (JA): disorder where the immune system attacks the tissue around joints which typically affects children 16 or younger.

Mature Woman with Wrist Pain
Image by stefamerpik on Freepik

Common Causes of Arthritis

The most common causes of arthritis include diet, lifestyle, and repeated stress on joints and having existing autoimmune diseases or infections. Most importantly, the consumption of highly processed and refined foods can trigger arthritis inflammation such as:

    • Refined carbohydrates (high-glycemic foods like bread, crackers, white rice, and potatoes): if not properly converted to energy, these carbs can stay in your body and cause inflammation, as well as weight gain and other chronic conditions.

    • Fatty foods: trans fats (like those found in processed foods, fried foods, fast foods, and donuts) can cause inflammation. 

    • Soda/sugar-sweetened beverages: Consuming too much highly processed sugar increases inflammation in your body. Sometimes it can take at least 40 grams of sugar to trigger the response -- but in today's modern processed foods that can be 1-2 servings.

    • Tobacco/Alcohol: Smoking increases your risk of rheumatoid arthritis, and alcohol has been linked to gout, another form of inflammatory arthritis.

    • Advanced glycation end (AGE) products: when food is grilled or fried at high temperatures, including pasteurized foods, the body produces toxins called AGEs. These toxins can damage proteins in your body, which triggers your immune system to destroy the AGEs with cytokines. Cytokines cause inflammation.

    • Gluten/Grain: foods produced with wheat, barley, and rye may lead to joint inflammation.

    • Food additives: many manufacturers add things like monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame, and salt to preserve food and make it taste better, but these chemicals have also been linked to agitate inflammation.

  • Red meat (burgers and steaks). Processed meats (hot dogs, brats and other sausages). Did you know these meats are considered a Group 1 Carcinogen.

  • Casein, a protein common in dairy products that our bodies do not properly digest.

Increased consumption of such foods can negatively take a toll on those who suffer from arthritis because many of the chemicals and proteins involved in such foods can trigger inflammatory cells in the body and further affect joints especially when consumed over a long period of time. 

3 Mature Women Doing Yoga Stretches
Image by Freepik

Holistic Remedies for Arthritis Pain

Although there are many chemical-based medications and prescriptions that are offered to treat chronic arthritis. There are holistic ways to further treat and prevent growing arthritis pain and inflammation. Some treatment can be done at home and the reduction of inflammatory joint pain can be minimized if done routinely. Others include using natural, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory products that do not harm the body with harsh chemicals. Many common methods include: 

    • Exercise: Exercising regularly can help to manage your weight, keep your joints flexible and strengthen muscles and connective tissues around your joints to offer extra support. It is important to start with low-impact exercises such as walking, jogging, cycling, tai chi and yoga to ease the body into high-impact mobility exercises such as pilates, swimming, endurance running, and weight lifting. Exercise is the easiest practice to execute and can be impactful in decreasing inflammation and joint pain.

    • Hot and cold treatments: The hot and cold method is a common practice in tackling inflammation, especially arthritis pain. 

      • Hot treatments can include taking hot showers or baths with epsom salt especially in the morning to help ease stiffness or using an electric blanket or warm heating pad to reduce discomfort. 

      • Cold treatments can help relieve joint pain, swelling, and inflammation by wrapping an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and applying it to painful joints for quick relief.

  • Meditation: Meditation and relaxation techniques may help reduce the pain of arthritis by lowering stress and enabling you to cope with it better. It is recommended to implement meditative practices such as tai chi and yoga, which offers meditation, relaxation, and breathing techniques with low-impact exercise for better results. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), studies have found that practicing mindfulness meditation is also helpful for some people with arthritis. 

  • Massage: Massages can provide an overall sense of well-being and may also help manage joint pain and discomfort. Although massages only offer temporary relief, it can still help reduce inflammation and reduce stress. 

  • Consume organic and locally produced foods: A diet that is rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole foods can help boost your immune system and your overall health. A vegetarian, pescatarian or plant-based diet provides antioxidants which can help reduce inflammation by eliminating waste and toxins from the body. 

    • A diet that is rich in red meat, processed foods, saturated fat, and added sugar and salt may further aggravate inflammation and can also contribute to other health conditions such as obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

  • Acupuncture: The Chinese practice of inserting thin needles into specific points on your body works to reroute energies and restoring balance in your body. It is important to find a licensed and certified acupuncturist to carry out this treatment, but is a practice to consider when pain and inflammation continues.

  • Herbal supplements: There are many herbal supplements that are safe to ingest regularly and may reduce joint pain such as: 

    • Green tea: Green tea contains polyphenols in which these compounds may help lower inflammation and the need for medications. A small study in 2018 showed that the use of green tea in treating arthritis can help with joint function when taken in moderation.

    • Ginger: According to a 2015 study, taking ginger long-term may decrease inflammatory pain and boost the immune system. Ginger can be cooked in many dishes, or can be mixed with hot teas for added aromatics. 

    • Turmeric: This yellow spice common in Indian dishes contains a chemical called curcumin and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce arthritis pain and inflammation.

      •  A common way to take turmeric is to mix it in hot tea with honey and ginger which can also boost the immune system to help fight other symptoms of arthritis as well as other illnesses. 

 Written by Chloe Galvey.

Also read our recent blog: Mocktail vs Cocktail.

Legendary Swimwear for Women Since 2011

Now is the time to get that bikini or one piece you've been eyeing because all our current swimwear and resort wear inventory is on sale! Shop now: Women's Swimwear Sale.

This blog provides general information and discussions about wellness and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This blog does not constitute the practice of any medical, nursing or other professional health care advice, diagnosis or treatment. We cannot diagnose conditions, provide second opinions or make specific treatment recommendations through this blog or website.

Suggestions of changes to diet or exercise may not be suitable for everyone. Please consult with your doctor before attempting any changes to decide whether or not such changes would be right for you.

If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment immediately. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this blog, website or in any linked materials.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.