Most people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis are on some form of mediation, but there are some alternative treatments which can offer benefits and reduce pain.
Treatments in warm water can offer relief from the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. The aquatic exercises also have the benefits of improving muscle strength because of the water resistance, and allowing you greater freedom of movement.
Cutting out smoking
Some people believe that smoking contributes to the development of rheumatoid arthritis, and it seems clear that smoking can exacerbate inflammation of the joints. If you're a smoker with rheumatoid arthritis you have every reason to quit as soon as possible. Take advantage of the many nicotine substitute products available, and seek help if you need it.
Since it involves the application of thin needles to a set of points on the body, acupuncture may not sound appealing, but for some people it has been shown to provide relief from the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. Acupressure is a similar treatment which does not use needles.
Some people have allergies to particular foods and may not even be aware of it, when in fact consuming these foods may be contributing to the inflammation in their condition. Studies have shown that people respond to allergen free diets to widely varying degrees, so diets need to be heavily customised. Some people may experience dramatic improvements in their condition as a result of eliminating certain foods, whereas others may see little benefit. However, if your symptoms are severe it is worth trying to see if elimination diets can help you.
Mineral deficiencies may also aggravate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, so choose foods high in these minerals. Zinc and copper, preferably combined, and selenium all have anti-inflammatory properties.
Omega 3 oils
Any foods containing omega 3 oils are beneficial to people with rheumatoid arthritis since they have an anti-inflammatory effect. Increasing your intake of fish is an easy way to take on more omega 3 oil. Some fish richest in omega 3 are wild salmon, mackerel , trout and tuna. If you don't enjoy eating fish often, fish oil capsules can be taken instead. For vegetarians it can be more difficult to incorporate omega 3 into the diet, but eggs, walnuts, soy, canola oil and flax seeds or oil all contain some omega 3.
Always consult your doctor to check whether an alternative approach will be appropriate for you before commencing a course of treatments. In addition to getting advice, you may also get a referral to a specialist such as a dietician or to a hydrotherapy centre, or in some areas to an acupuncturist, so you may be able to get your treatment funded by the NHS. When you're suffering from rheumatoid arthritis it is worth trying any suitable treatments to enhance your quality of life.