Home Remedies for Arthritis

Arthritis is a painful condition involving destruction and dysfunction of the body’s joints. It can manifest in many forms, with the most common being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While prescription and over-the-counter medications may be effective for treating arthritis symptoms, they can sometimes cause side effects like gastric irritation and bleeding. Home remedies may help alleviate the pain of arthritis and can be an integral part of an overall treatment plan.

Heat Therapy

Heat therapy is an excellent remedy for acute arthritis pain. When applied to painful joints, heat relaxes tight muscles and promotes flexibility of connective tissues, resulting in improved range of motion and diminished pain.

Immersion in a hot tub or bath, as well as use of a heating pad or hot packs are effective ways to use heat for the treatment of arthritis pain and stiffness.

Turmeric

A staple in traditional Indian dishes like curry, turmeric is a helpful ally in the fight against arthritis pain. It contains curcumin—a compound with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. According to Science Daily, turmeric may help prevent or suppress rheumatoid arthritis by inhibiting a substance called NF-KB, which plays a role in the activation of the genes thought to trigger rheumatoid arthritis. While further research is needed, turmeric appears to be a safe and effective remedy for the inflammation involved in arthritis.

The average dose of turmeric for treating arthritis pain is 400 to 600 mg daily in three divided doses. Turmeric may thin the blood and should not be taken with other blood thinning medications, such as aspirin or warfarin.

Cayenne Pepper

Famous for its hot-and-spicy flavor, cayenne pepper is an effective topical remedy for joint pain. Its active ingredient, capsaicin, acts as a counterirritant when applied to joints—causing local nerve irritation that distracts the brain from arthritis pain. Taken internally, cayenne triggers the release of endorphins, which serve as the body’s own opiate-like painkillers.

To make a topical remedy from cayenne, sprinkle 2 tbsp. cayenne powder into ½ cup lotion or cocoa butter, mix thoroughly and apply directly to joints. Cayenne may cause local skin irritation and should not be taken internally by those with gastrointestinal conditions like GERD or gastric ulcer.

Willow Bark

Willow bark is a well-known and effective remedy for inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Its active compound, salicylin, is also responsible for the painkilling and inflammation-reducing properties of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, willow bark may be helpful for treating many forms of inflammation and pain, including osteoarthritis, toothache and menstrual cramps.

Like aspirin, willow bark can cause stomach irritation and may increase the risk of bleeding. Taking willow bark with other Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen may further increase this risk. The average daily dose for treating arthritis pain is 60 to 120 mg salicylin, or roughly 1 to 3 g of bark.

About this Author

Based in Las Vegas, Tracii Hanes is a freelance writer specializing in health and psychology with over six years of professional experience. She got her start as a news reporter, and has since focused exclusively on freelance writing, contributing to websites like Wellsphere, Education Portal and eHow Health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication arts from Southwestern Oklahoma State University.