You can make some changes in your diet. There are exercises you can do. There are even herbs which may help. And for the pain, acupuncture is a fantastic resource to help you relieve that pain.
Changes in Diet
If you have gout, arthritis, bursitis, neuritis, and sciatica, the dietary changes you can make are to avoid calcium inhibitors. This means you should restrict, avoid, or limit the following:
- Excess meats or proteins from another source
- Intoxicants (alcohol, tobacco, coffee, marijuana)
- Refined sugar and too many sweets
- Excess salt
- Foods high in oxalic acid such as spinach, beet greens, chard, plum, cranberry, rhubarb
- Nightshade foods, such as tomatoes, eggplant, bell pepper, potato (because these plants contain solanine, a calcium inhibitor)
- Dairy products (especially those high in fat) So what can you eat?
- Vegetables, such as beets, cabbage, lettuce, sprouts, radishes garlic celery, parsley, legumes, mushrooms, onions, asparagus, kale, turnip, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts
- Wheat and barley grass
- Goats milk
Diane Joswick, a license acupuncture and author of "Arthritis and Acupuncture," recommends the following foods be added to your diet to help your arthritis:
- Ginger - A natural anti-inflammatory, available as powdered extracts in capsules as well as alcohol-based extracts. Follow the dosing directions on the label. Or make tea by combining one-half teaspoon of grated ginger root with eight ounces of boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 to 15 minutes, then strain and add honey to taste.
- Fresh pineapple - Bromelain, an enzyme in pineapple, reduces inflammation. Be sure the pineapple is fresh, not canned or frozen.
- Cherries - Recent research has shown that tart cherries are an excellent source of nutrients that may help to reduce joint pain and inflammation related to arthritis.
- Fish - Cold-water fish such as salmon and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep joints healthy as well as reduce pain and swelling. If you don't care for fish, consider supplementing your diet with fish oil capsules.
- Turmeric - Another natural anti-inflammatory. Look for an extract of whole turmeric, in health-food stores; follow the dosage directions on the label.
Qigong exercises are another great treatment to help your arthritic conditions because these exercises are gentle. They also focus on building strength and keeping your joints lubricated and moving. The Quist Qigong Warm-up Exercises are EXCELLENT for your joints.
There are also other exercises that are good for arthritis because they are gentle on joints, like swimming, stationary bicycling, elliptical machines, or water aerobics.
To reduce swelling and inflammation, some have found these herbs to beneficial:
- Black cohosh - for rheumatism (you can read more about this herb at NIH Fact sheet)
- Devil’s claw - for decreasing osteoarthritis pain and lower back pain. (According to the National Institute of Health, taking devil’s claw alone or along with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) seems to help decrease osteoarthritis-related pain. Some evidence suggests that devil’s claw works about as well as diacerhein (a slow-acting drug for osteoarthritis that is not available in the U.S.) for improving osteoarthritis pain in the hip and knee after 16 weeks of treatment. Some people taking devil’s claw seem to be able to lower the dose of NSAIDs they need for pain relief. You can read more at the NIH)
If you are looking for Chinese Herbs, these are the ones that are often recommended, according to Acufinder:
- Decoction (juan bi tang)- For joint pain that increases with cold and is possibly accompanied by heaviness and numbness in the limbs.
- Cinnamon Twig, Peony, and Anamerrhena Decoction (gui zhi shoa you zhi mu tang)- For swollen and painful joints that are warm to the touch and worse at night.
- Angelica Pubescens and Sangjisheng Decoction (du huo ji sheng tang)- For heavy and painful sensations at fixed locations in the lower back and lower extremities accompanied by weakness and stiffness.
Probably one of the most helpful things you can do, especially if you are in pain, is to have an acupuncture treatment. There are acupuncturists in every state. If you don't know one, you can find one through Acupuncture schools or other the Acufinder.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine have been found to be extremely effective at treating the pain and inflammation associated with all types of arthritis. A licensed acupuncturist can determine which points will provide the most help to relieve your particular arthritic pain. It really does work.