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5 Natural Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain

If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, you may feel a little helpless at first, not to mention overwhelmed by all the possible treatment options out there. Joint pain and stiffness can be managed in a variety of ways, including many natural treatments and lifestyle changes that can come with other health benefits beyond easing osteoarthritis symptoms. Consider this your guide to getting educated, then talk with your doctor about which treatment options are best for you before getting started.

Massage Therapy

Simply evoke the idea of massage and you'll start to feel more relaxed, but actually get a massage (or give yourself one), and you may find that your osteoarthritis symptoms become less severe. Research shows that regular massage can ease pain and stiffness and improve joint function for those suffering from arthritis. Learn more about the different types of massage here

Exercise

It may sound counterintuitive, but exercise is actually considered to be the most effective non-drug treatment for osteoarthritis. Walking is great for those with OA, because it makes your heart stronger and improves circulation, as are water-based exercises, which ease pressure on joints. In addition to aerobic activity, incorporate exercises to improve flexibility and strengthen muscles.

Heat and Cold Treatments

Another effective way to manage arthritis symptoms is by using two tools you've probably been turning to your whole life: hot and cold. To reduce swelling, go cold: use towel-wrapped ice or frozen peas and apply it to your pain points for 20 minutes at a time. To ease stiffness and improve circulation, go hot: try a heatwrap like ThermaCare, which moves with you wherever you go. 

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet has been popularized in other parts of the world thanks to its positive impact on health, longevity, and overall quality of life. Turns out that the Mediterranean Diet also helps with arthritis. Studies have shown that people who eat more fruits and vegetables, less meat, and more healthy fats were associated with feeling less joint pain

Weight Loss

Adhering to the Mediterranean Diet is also a good way to manage or lose weight, which can be another way to manage arthritis symptoms. One study in overweight and obese older adults with knee OA found that losing just one pound can relieve four pounds of pressure on the knees. Beyond easing arthritis symptoms, losing weight can lower the risk of chronic disease, and a healthier you overall is always a good thing.

Get more great health and wellness stories at MarthaStewart.com/Strive.