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Natural pain relief for arthritis

Natural pain relief for arthritis
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Suffering from arthritis aches and pains? Try these foods, exercises and home remedies that bring on pain relief naturally.

Sip ginger tea

Sip ginger tea
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Some preliminary studies have suggested that ginger has anti-inflammatory properties. It seems to work by curbing pain-causing chemicals that are part of the body’s inflammatory response – without the side effects common in medications. Use powdered, raw, or lightly cooked fresh ginger liberally on food. Make your own ginger tea by simmering slices of ginger for 15 minutes in a few cups of boiling water, or buy ginger tea bags at the supermarket.

Here are 5 arthritis myths, busted.

Eat inflammation-fighting foods

Eat inflammation-fighting foods
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Ditch the fast food, junk food, fried food and processed food if you want to improve joint pain. A review of several nonrandomised studies of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients found that those who switched to a Mediterranean-style eating plan (think fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, fish, olive oil, nuts, garlic, onions and herbs) had a reduction in pain inflammation and increase in some physical function as a result.

Check out these 18 anti-inflammatory foods you should be eating. 

Breathe in fragrant spices

Breathe in fragrant spices
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Pleasant aromas like lavender may alter the perception of pain. Japanese researchers found that lavender reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can make you feel relaxed and less aware of pain. But lavender isn’t the only pleasant aroma that works as a natural home remedy for arthritis pain relief. Korean researchers found that arthritis patients experienced less pain and were less depressed when they were exposed to the aromas of a variety of kitchen spices, including marjoram, rosemary and peppermint. For a pain-soothing aromatherapy treatment, add a teaspoon of one of these dried herbs to a quarter-cup of olive, coconut, or vegetable oil. Take a whiff periodically.

Discover 10 soothing scents that can boost your immune system. 

Wash dishes by hand

Wash dishes by hand
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It sounds counterintuitive, but this simple kitchen task soothes hands experiencing arthritis pain. How does that work? First, dipping your hands in hot water can help relax muscles and joints and relieve stiffness. Second, the exercise of gripping and sponging helps keep your hands and fingers mobile, which also helps with joint pain relief.

Make your own heat pad

Make your own heat pad
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Fill a cotton sock with uncooked rice grains and seal it. (Caution: Don’t use a synthetic-fibre sock, which could melt if heated.) Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes. When it cools down slightly but is still nice and warm, place it on sore, stiff joints. Your DIY heat pad should stay warm for about half an hour. The rice grains will shape to your body and provide soothing heat. If you have lavender or another fragrant herb on hand, toss it in with the rice grains for an additional relaxing aromatherapy treatment, too.

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Make your own capsaicin cream

Make your own capsaicin cream
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Capsaicin, the compound in chilli peppers that gives them their heat, is an ingredient in many over-the-counter pain relief ointments. It works by reducing levels of a compound called substance P, which transmits pain signals to your brain. You can whip up your own massage oil by mixing a few dashes of ground cayenne with 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil. Apply it with gauze to unbroken skin on your painful joints several times a day. The first few doses will cause a mild burning sensation on the surface of your skin, but you’ll become desensitised to that feeling after a week or so. Just be sure to keep it away from your mouth, eyes and other mucous membranes, where it will really sting.

Apply a chamomile tea poultice

Apply a chamomile tea poultice
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Chamomile is an anti-inflammatory that may help with joint-pain relief. Brew a strong infusion using four chamomile tea bags in a cup or so of hot water. Steep, covered, for 20 minutes, then squeeze and remove tea bags. Soak a clean cloth in the cooling liquid and apply to achy joints.

Learn what happens to your body when you drink tea every day. 

Give joints the cold-hot treatment

Give joints the cold-hot treatment
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You’ll need two containers for this hot-cold treatment – but the relief is palpable and worth the trouble. Fill one container with cold water and a tray of ice cubes; the other with hot water at a temperature you can tolerate to touch. Starting with cold, immerse the aching joint for a minute, then switch to the hot water and immerse for 30 seconds. Keep switching from cold to hot for about 15 minutes, immersing the affected joint in each for 30 seconds each time. Finish with cold water and hold for a full minute.

Sip green tea every day

Sip green tea every day
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Several preliminary studies have found that tea’s polyphenol antioxidants were anti-inflammatory, improved arthritis-related immune responses, and reduced cartilage damage. Drink up!

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