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Stiff Joints? Try These 7 Ways to Relieve Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints that occurs when the tissue at the end of bones begins to thin and roughen. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body mistakingly attacks its own joints.

Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis cause stiffness and discomfort. Over time, it can get quite severe, causing misshapen hands and a lack of mobility throughout the entire body, especially in the neck, shoulders, lower back, knees, or hips.

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are among the most frequent causes of physical disability among older adults, increasing more rapidly after age 50.

These seven evidence-based methods can help reverse osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, including pain relief.

For a deeper look into the scientific research behind these methods, see the citations below this article.

1. Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables

Avocado and soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) are extracts from avocados and soybean oil. Taking ASU (300-600 mg a day for 1.5 months or more) might slow the progression of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis while reducing pain and improving joint function.

2. Curcumin for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Curcumin is the medicinal compound found within the root spice turmeric that is believed to protect cartilage and reduce pain and inflammation in human joints. Doses of 200 mg daily (for up to 3 months) were beneficial, especially if they came in a highly absorbable formula.

fit mature couple keeps joints healthy and fights osteoarthritis

3. Light Mobility Drills and Stress-Relieving Techniques

Exposure to cigarette smoke can dramatically exacerbate osteoarthritis symptoms, so it’s important to find ways other than smoking and alcohol to soothe the central nervous system.

Mindfulness meditation, visualization, and psychotherapy can help improve one’s baseline of relaxation.

Exercise in the form of stretching, Pilates, yoga, swimming, or mobility drills not only helps the central nervous system to regulate but also provides the added benefit of assisting the synovial fluid in lubricating the joints.

 
 

4. SAM-e for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

1200mg of the nutrient SAM-e was associated with significant improvements in joint pain and functionality after 30 days in adults with osteoarthritis. Secondarily, there have also been documented improvements in mood.

If you have highly sensitive skin, SAM-e might cause blemishes so a lower dosage could be appropriate. Each person responds differently. Ask your doctor first.

5. Topicals of Arnica, Capsaicin, or BioFreeze

For stiff or achy hands, some people have found arnica gel helpful.

Capsaicin or BioFreeze is better for lessening discomfort in the lower back or knees. These topicals don’t always work as well on hip pain because the hip joints are deeper inside the body and farther away from the skin.

Don’t use capsaicin or BioFreeze gel for your hands, as you might inadvertently touch your face or eyes – and that would sting (capsaicin is made from chili peppers)!

6. Vitamin D for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Research has established that people with significant osteoarthritis symptoms are usually also deficient in Vitamin D.

Vitamin D plays a role in bone health but has numerous other benefits. Adults can take anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 IU daily, though many doctors recommend 5,000 IU. It depends partly on your body size and current diet.

7. An Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle Diet

Osteoarthritis is not an autoimmune response. Even so, an anti-inflammatory diet can still help osteoarthritis indirectly because the diet helps to improve cellular health, which, in turn, helps everything else.

An anti-inflammatory diet will prove even more helpful for rheumatoid arthritis as that condition is an autoimmune response.

By the way, it’s not unusual for people to have rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis concurrently.

An anti-inflammatory diet seeks to remove irritants from one’s daily menu and consists mostly of vegetables and lean meats.

man experiences osteoarthritis in his shoulder

How You Can Start to Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

I solve a big problem for people.

Modern humans are not as healthy as they could be, so I help them become healthier.

But here’s the thing:  how that problem gets solved is what surprises people.

For example, many people over 50 would like to have a trim waistline again or even to see the definition of their abdominal muscles.

But that problem gets solved mostly in the kitchen, not at the gym.

A properly designed anti-inflammatory diet can improve your appearance and fitness more than any other self-care protocol.

Many still don’t understand that reducing inflammation positively impacts one’s overall health and appearance.

My mission is to help people extend the number of healthy years in their lifespan so they can experience more relevance, joy, and opportunities to make a positive impact in the world.

When you’re 90 years old, I want you to be able to do two things:

  • to feel deep satisfaction and fulfillment.
  • to be able to enjoy supple joints and long walks.

Do you want that for yourself as well?

Changing Nutritional Habits Can Be Challenging

Sometimes, another person will give us advice, but we can’t really “hear” it with our whole being.

Our intellect may understand the advice, but the rest of our psyche needs more time and life experience before fully appreciating it.

This is what medical doctors, nutritionists, therapists, and naturopaths have to contend with in their daily work:

  • how much do they reveal to their patients?
  • is the patient ready to hear it, or will hearing it only increase their resistance?

We need clean air, water, food, shelter, and love to thrive in our daily lives. After those five fundamental needs, things start to get a bit …optional.

If there’s something that we can’t imagine living without, that often is a sign that we might be addicted to it.

When the Doctor Says, “Change, or Else.”

Just because we can’t imagine ourselves living without something (coffee, pasta, hamburgers, beer, cookies) doesn’t mean we couldn’t live and be happy without it, it’s just that we can’t imagine it because that particular thing has become so habitual within our weekly lives.

It has become a dependable comfort.

I’m intrigued by the timing of the intervention: when is the best time to tell someone that their very life may depend on changing a particular pattern?

We can explore the possibilities of gradual changes to our daily menu choices so that those healthy choices don’t feel like a “quit-cold-turkey” diet or a fast.

I’ve found that when people are asked to radically change their diets overnight, they’re less likely to be able to sustain the healthy changes – than when they make changes more gradually.

Feel (and Look) Fantastic by Making Gradual Diet Changes

You can make improvements and changes to your daily lifestyle habits that are a bit faster than what is completely comfortable but still gradual enough that you won’t go into psychological resistance and undermine your efforts.

The big idea here is to extend one’s healthspan – not just lifespan:

  • By knowing exactly how much fat is on your body, you’ll then determine what weight loss techniques are working for you and which are not moving the needle. Knowing this will better assist you in reaching a healthy weight. Personally, the best way I’ve found to keep track is by using a soft tape measure around the widest part of my waistline, after waking in the morning and after using the bathroom.

  • You can easily discover what your DNA says about how well you’re aging. Monitor the vitality of your cells: a simple genetic test – collected at home – can reveal your cellular age.

  • Healthspan refers to the number of years you can remain robustly healthy, active, and energized within your lifetime. The latest in longevity supplementation is NAD. Representing a recent breakthrough in lab research, NAD can now be ingested in a daily pill that can help the body’s mitochondria repair and heal. NAD levels naturally decrease as humans age, so topping up NAD to youthful levels can help promote cellular health – the kind of health that matters most.
  • A lower-carbohydrate, higher protein diet harks back to a time before processed, simple carbohydrates were easily available and allows for the consumption of healthy fats.
woman experiencing osteoarthritis in her wrist

Data reveals that the average person will put on at least 6 pounds at the end of this year:

  • If you begin counting the holiday season on October 31st, statistically, it will likely be more than six added pounds.
  • If a person takes a vacation during the final quarter of the year (one week or more off from work), that usually means more than 6 pounds will be gained.

Maintain a Healthy Weight to Reduce Arthritis Symptoms

I’d like to talk about your ratio of muscle versus body fat and ask you to consider going in the opposite direction as everyone else:

  • What would it be like if next January arrived and you were in better shape, not worse?

This quick review of the fundamental principles of an anti-inflammatory diet might prove helpful to you:

  • The typical modern menu contains a plethora of dietary irritants that trigger your body’s need to pad vital organs with layers of visceral fat to protect them from further irritation.
  • Body composition is a result of, yes, calories-in versus calories-out. However, it’s also true that when your overall health improves, your body’s systems – including metabolism – tend to run more efficiently.

Understand the Foothold Concept that Supports Your Health Improvement

An individual dietary intervention might make only a 1% positive difference. However, when you stack many nutritional upgrades at once, these little improvements add up to one big impact – and this can give your body the foothold it needs to pull its health and appearance up to the next level.

The “skinny-fat” condition refers to someone who might look trim in clothes but, in reality, lacks enough healthy muscle tone:

  • Adding muscle increases your energy expenditure.
  • If a skinny-fat person added 10 pounds of muscle – evenly distributed among the major muscle groups of their body – it would not look like “weight” but rather would look trim and healthy.
  • You can get leaner without losing muscle tone if you’re willing to stretch out the fat loss over a period of time – usually at a pace of 1 pound (or 0.45 kilogram) per week. Losing at this pace has the added benefit of preventing metabolic adaptation (a process that causes your body to mistakenly think you’re experiencing a famine and to preserve adipose cells as nature’s way of compensating for a perceived lack of food).

The more muscle you have, the harder it is to gain fat. This is because muscle cells are efficient glycogen storage tanks (your body will fill up those glycogen tanks before converting carbs to fat)! That translates to:

  • 10 pounds of muscle means you can probably have a 1,400-calorie cheat meal each week. (Fun!)
  • 10 pounds of muscle also means your body can store up to 200 grams of glycogen in your muscles, which means a larger ratio of your daily calories can go toward carbs. (More fun!)

Finally, I leave you with these two friendly reminders:

  • There’s more to adding healthy muscle than just eating enough protein. Case in point: many bodybuilders I know are highly inflamed. They have a lot of muscle, but their faces are puffy, their stomachs are bloated, and they’re gassy often.
  • Putting muscle aside, the biggest benefit of an anti-inflammatory diet is an extended, healthy lifespan. You might think now you don’t care about living a longer life, but when you’re in your 70s with a strong and flexible body, I assure you that you’ll be grateful for all the healthy choices you made along the way.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints causing discomfort and stiffness at the end of your bones, while rheumatoid arthritis impacts your joints. This article has revealed how people over 50 can keep their joints healthy.

If you need help getting started, I recommend you opt-in to my email update. The messages are motivational and strategic – and will help you stay on track.

Additional Sources for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis:

National Institute on Aging – https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/osteoarthritis

ASU Supplementation – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9433873/

Benefits of Turmeric – https://examine.com/supplements/curcumin/

SAM-e and Osteoarthritis – https://examine.com/rubric/effects/view/627b48d497f10335487c6a01bbeb8720/846e9c6e95a32a8d804f103ffdde3f80/all/

Osteoarthritis Interventions – https://www.rheumatology.org/Portals/0/Files/Osteoarthritis-Guideline-Early-View-2019.pdf

Top-Up Your Vitamin D Levels – https://examine.com/supplements/vitamin-d/