With over 100 different forms, arthritis affects over 20 million individuals in the USA alone and is one of the singularly leading causes of disability. Arthritis can produce some common symptoms, irrespective of the type often including varying degrees of pain, swelling of the joints and stiffness, an inability to walk, fatigue, poor sleep, muscle ache, pain, and tenderness. However, for all those affected by arthritis, despite the type, the most major complaint regards the daily joint ache and pain. There are many therapeutic treatments for arthritis that involve drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (or NSAIDs), such as Ibuprofen, and Aleve. Unfortunately, most arthritis suffers require at first or eventually, much stronger prescription painkillers such as Celebrex or Tramadol that produce a wide range of side effects that can be highly unpleasant and just as debilitating as the arthritis itself, such as abdominal pain, bleeding ulcers, and liver and kidney damage. Fortunately, there are many available natural and homeopathic treatments as well that can produce far less of these uncomfortable and equally debilitating side effects.
One such natural remedy that is being further researched as a treatment for arthritis is a glucosamine supplement. Glucosamine is a naturally produced substance within the human body that lubricates the joints. As we age, our body's ability to produce glucosamine is reduced and a slow destruction of cartilage begins to take place, causing the cartilage to begin to harden forming bone spurs and causing deformed joints, resulting in arthritis. By taking a glucosamine remedy, you can supplement your body's natural supply and reduce the amount of damage that occurs to the load-bearing joints.
Another type of treatment for arthritis is known as sam-e. Sam-e claims to treat both arthritis and depression and is more commonly known as S-adenosylmethionine (or sam-e for short). Sam-e, like glucosamine, is a substance naturally produced within the human body that is manufactured from methionine, an amino acid found in protein-rich foods. As Sam-e is broken down, other molecules are created that help maintain joint cartilage. Sam-e also works in conjunction with vitamins B-12 and folic acid to release a methyl group from this composition to surrounding tissues which assists with cell membrane maintenance and ridding the organs of toxic substances. While sam-e is a naturally produced substance in the body, and therefore has very little side effects in normal doses, at higher than recommended doses, sam-e can cause anxiety, restlessness, headaches and insomnia. A doctor should always be consulted prior to any sudden change in medication or treatments so that any possible side effects can be clearly recognized.
Yet another possible natural arthritis treatment is the popular spice turmeric. Turmeric has been used in Asian cultures for many years for seasoning cuisines and is also known for its highly anti-bacterial properties. Turmeric has been utilized for by those who practice Ayurvedic medicine due to its additional anti-inflammatory properties. A study recently conducted by the University of Arizona by MD Janet L. Funk was the first scientific trial to provide evidence of the anti-arthritic effectiveness of a complex turmeric extract.
Natural remedies and supplements can provide methods of treating arthritis while still being able to avoid many of the unpleasant side effects experienced with more medically advised prescription treatments. By utilizing methods such as glucosamine, sam-e, and turmeric, individuals can avoid the unpleasant and damaging effects of kidney or liver damage, bleeding ulcers, and stomach pains. However, while there are many types of natural and homeopathic remedies for arthritis, each with its own particular benefits and reliefs for arthritis sufferers, it is always suggested to consult a GP or doctor prior to beginning a new treatment.