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Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis -- Treatment

(continued)

Natural Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis continued...

Magnets: In people with osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear type of arthritis, some preliminary studies have shown that magnets improved joint pain better than a placebo. However, it’s unclear if magnets might help rheumatoid arthritis.

Acupuncture: The National Institutes of Health considers acupuncture an additional alternative treatment for arthritis. Studies have shown that acupuncture helps reduce pain, may lower the need for painkillers, and can help increase flexibility in affected joints.

Mind/body therapy: Mind/body therapies can help with stress management and improve sleep and pain perception. Strategies include deep abdominal breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, meditation, and tai chi.

Biofeedback: With biofeedback, you work with a therapist who helps you recognize feelings of increased tension and learn ways to calm yourself. This can help decrease feelings of pain.

Nutritional supplements: Keep in mind that even natural supplements can interact with medicines. Be sure your doctor is aware of all medicines and supplements you are taking.

Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. Several studies have shown that fish oil supplements may help reduce morning stiffness with RA.

Some studies show that borage seed oil along with anti-inflammatory painkillers can reduce RA symptoms. These studies showed reductions of tender and swollen joints of RA after six weeks.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Prevention

Though arthritis is not preventable, many people are able to prevent disability with early treatment and a well-designed exercise program. Smoking is associated with the development of rheumatoid arthritis, although it isn’t clear that you can prevent rheumatoid arthritis by not smoking. Continuing to smoke, however, may make treatment less effective.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on March 08, 2014
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