Freedom of movement is what everyone needs in facing the demands of daily life, may it be at work, school or just at home as we do different household chores. However, our ability to move may become limited as we age or when we suffer from different types of chronic illnesses such as arthritis which is defined as inflammation of one or more joints.

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Though there are various types of arthritis, we can say that they have something in common. They may bring about pain and other symptoms that can be disabling and affect our productivity. Hence, aside from knowing the conventional method of managing arthritis (e.g. taking pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs), there are also natural ways to relieve its symptoms.

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One of the most popular remedy for arthritis is a combination of turmeric and ginger tea. Both of them have anti-inflammatory properties, but with the result of recent studies, more attention has been drawn to the capability of turmeric as an anti-oxidant and in reducing the levels of the enzymes that can cause inflammation. To benefit from this remedy, you will need to bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon of ginger. Allow the mixture to simmer for 10-15 minutes and add some honey to taste.

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Aside from what was mentioned above, you can also try other ways to relieve joint pain. These include drinking one teaspoon apple cider vinegar mixed in one cup of warm water, which is known for its alkalizing effect. On the other hand, you may also try eating eight to ten cherries (fresh, canned or frozen) which are rich in potassium that can help relieve inflammation and magnesium, a natural painkiller.

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Exercises in water can be most helpful and enjoyable for people with arthritis. Simply walk through the water the same way you would on land.Exercise is important for arthritis patients.

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Though there is still a need for further studies to prove the efficacy of complementary and alternative therapies in relieving the symptoms of arthritis, based on available evidence, it was said that acupuncture and tai chi have the potential to minimize the disabling effects of the said condition.

Treatment

The treatment goals for arthritis include eliminating or managing the cause as well as giving supportive care to alleviate pain and discomfort. Through this, the disabling effects of this condition will be minimized and a decline in the quality of life of the person affected by it will be prevented.

First, maintaining a healthy weight will decrease the pressure on your knees. This can be achieved by eating a balanced diet and engaging in physical exercise which can also improve muscle strength as well as the flexibility and mobility of the joints. Hence, discomfort associated with arthritis will also be minimized. Aside from this, acupuncture can also help relieve pain and disability. On the other hand, some herbal remedies are also commonly used to alleviate the pain. Some of these are turmeric and ginger which both have anti-inflammatory effects. Lastly, lubricating the joints with virgin oil can also ease the pain because extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) contains a compound called oleocanthal which inhibits inflammatory enzymes COX-1 and COX-2, just like Advil or aspirin does.

Symptoms

Arthritis is classified into three main categories namely rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and gouty arthritis. Hence, symptoms vary depending on the type. Osteoarthritis causes cartilage — the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint — to break down. On the contrary, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that first targets the lining of joints called synovium. On the other hand, gouty arthritis is described as the accumulation of uric acid crystals. However, though these three are different from one another. There are also some similarities among these types of arthritis in terms of the symptoms experienced by the patient.  These include pain, stiffness, swelling, redness and decreased range of motion.

Causes

The causes of arthritis depend on its type. Causes include injury (leading to degenerative arthritis), abnormal metabolism (such as gout and pseudogout), inheritance (such as in osteoarthritis), infections (such as in the arthritis of Lyme disease), and an overactive immune system (such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus).