I love to dance and go to Pilates classes—staying active is important to me. But as I get older, I notice that I’m a little stiffer when I get up in the morning. This is not uncommon as we age, but it means that it’s more important than ever to keep moving and eating healthy. As we age, we have a greater risk of developing osteoarthritis, which causes pain and stiffness in the joints.
Meanwhile, many of us have jobs that require us to sit for hours. Then when we get home, we often choose sedentary activities to relax after work, like watching TV. Don’t get me wrong—there’s nothing wrong with tuning into your favorite shows. But it’s so important to prioritize moving your body. That’s what it was built for!
Moving your body can help keep your joints flexible and alleviate stiffness. Even just doing some gentle stretching each day can be a great way to start. If you already have osteoarthritis, you know how painful it can be. I’ve included six natural remedies for osteoarthritis to help you improve your health and take some control over your quality of life.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
There are different types of arthritis. The two we often hear about most are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune condition that affects the joints and many other different body systems including the eyes, heart, lungs, and skin. Osteoarthritis impacts the joints only and is the most common type of arthritis—in fact, almost 33 million adults in the United States have osteoarthritis. 
Osteoarthritis specifically affects the joints, particularly the hands, neck, lower back, knees, and hips. The cartilage breaks down between the affected joints causing osteoarthritis pain.
While it can occur at any time, osteoarthritis usually starts when someone is in their 50s and it’s more common in women than men. Other risk factors include genetics, lack of muscle strength, overuse, joint injuries, and obesity. 
Symptoms of osteoarthritis may include:
- Joint stiffness
- Pain and tenderness in the affected joints
- A loss of flexibility and range of motion
- Popping or crackling sounds when moving the affected joints
- A “grating” sensation when using the affected joints
- Swelling of the affected joints due to soft tissue inflammation
- Bone spurs
6 Natural Remedies for Osteoarthritis
As osteoarthritis progresses, it can become very painful. The physical pain can also impact a person’s mental and emotional wellbeing. In fact, a study found that over 40 percent of osteoarthritis patients also struggled with anxiety and depression. 
I want to help empower you to find some pain relief and improve the quality of your life. Here are six natural remedies for osteoarthritis that you might want to try either on their own or as a complement to other therapies you may already be using.
As always, seek your doctor’s medical advice before making any major changes to your exercise or eating habits.
1. Low-impact exercise
While high-impact sports and exercise are often not options if you have osteoarthritis, it’s still important to move your body. Try some low-impact exercise options like yoga, stretching, Tai Chi, swimming, and walking. It’s important to keep your body moving not only to help your joints, but to stay in overall good health.
2. Eating a healthy diet
Diet plays an important role in our health. Just making a few changes to your eating habits can actually do wonders to improve your health and wellbeing. In fact, many foods lead to inflammation in the body—which in turn causes joint pain.
By eliminating some of the inflammation-promoting culprits from your diet such as sugar, dairy, and red meat, and replacing them with healthy alternatives, you can help lower your body’s inflammation and feel better. In fact, researchers found that carbohydrate-rich diets were linked to a higher likelihood of developing osteoarthritis in a 2018 animal study. 
Start by cutting back on sugar, avoiding processed and junk foods, and eating more fruits and vegetables. Focusing on including more fruits, leafy green vegetables, and other plant-based foods in your diet will help to improve your digestion, lower inflammation, and help you maintain a better weight—all things that can in turn improve your osteoarthritis.
You don’t have to stop eating meat and animal products entirely but cutting back on these foods will help to lower inflammation and improve your health. As with many health conditions, the “treatment” starts in your kitchen!
3. Omega-3 fatty acids
When you’re considering making changes to your diet, you want to be sure to add plenty of foods that contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These foods include oily fish like wild-caught salmon and sardines. Walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseed are also great sources. You can easily add these to a salad, for example.
Another way to be sure you’re getting enough omega-3s is to try a fish oil or algae oil supplement. Be sure to purchase a high-quality, purified, triple distilled supplement if you go this route. 
4. Stay hydrated
One of the simplest natural remedies for osteoarthritis is making sure you get enough fluids. We all know that we need to drink plenty of water for our bodies to function properly. When you have a health condition such as osteoarthritis this becomes even more important. Water helps our organs to function effectively and to remove toxins from our bodies. It’s also important for our joint cartilage and muscles.
If you prefer to drink something more flavorful, try herbal and black teas, smoothies, and even coffee or juice in moderation. You can also try adding a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to a glass of water. Go easy on the coffee or black tea because these beverages contain caffeine, which can actually be dehydrating.
5. Maintaining a healthy weight
Added weight can strain our joints. Maintaining a weight that is healthy for you can help to alleviate stress on your joints and lessen the pain. Getting some sort of daily low-impact exercise and eating a healthy, plant-based diet filled with lots of nutritious fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains can help you to maintain your weight and, most importantly, your overall health and wellbeing.
6. Relaxation and stress relief
Stress is a major culprit in many health conditions, and osteoarthritis is no exception. Finding ways to relax and unwind can help people with osteoarthritis to relieve pain and stiffness. Consider doing more things you enjoy and finding fun ways to relieve stress.
Breathwork and other relaxation techniques including guided meditation are some other tried and true methods that help many people to relax.
Finally, there are some great natural therapies you can use to relieve stress and promote relaxation that also serve as natural remedies for osteoarthritis! These include herbs and spices such as curcumin and Boswellia as well as nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K, and magnesium.
Particularly, cat’s claw has been shown in studies to significantly reduce osteoarthritis pain without causing damage to your liver (a common side effect of acetaminophen). [6, 7]
To aid with pain relief, you can also soak in Epsom salt baths, which offer the added benefit of helping to detoxify your body.
As you can see, there are many natural remedies for osteoarthritis that will not only help to relieve your pain but also support a better quality of life, leaving you feeling empowered and ready to enjoy life again.
- Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that affects the joints.
- Joint stiffness and pain are two common symptoms of osteoarthritis.
- Natural remedies for osteoarthritis include low-impact exercise, a healthy diet with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, staying hydrated, and finding ways to relax and relieve stress.
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