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Many people throughout the whole world suffer from arthritis. At times the pain that arises from inflamed joints can be quite unbearable. Most arthritis is caused by the wear and tear of joints over a long period of time (osteoarthritis). It is characterised in its early stages by stiffness in the morning and occasional cracking joints, but if left unchecked can leave the sufferer in crippling pain. The other type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis and is an autoimmune deficiency, where the immune system attacks the healthy cartilage, believing it to be a foreign invader. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aspirin or Ibuprofen are generally available to provide pain relief from arthritis, but their effectiveness is countered by harsh side effects, usually damaging the stomach lining of the patient in the form of stomach ulcers, leading to hospitalisation, and in severe cases, death. Tinnitus can also occur. Furthermore, although they relieve the painful symptoms, it has been found that they inhibit cartilage regeneration. Therefore, use of these drugs over a period of time can only lead to a worsening of the arthritis.

Work has been carried out to try to find suitable natural remedies for inflamed joints. The main benefit of the natural remedies is that side effects are negligible or non-existent. Here are the best natural anti-inflammatory alternatives, plus some advice on good lifestyle practise, explaining how they combat the rigours of arthritis.

Always check with your doctor prior to taking any herbal preparations.
Ginger extract, sometimes referred to a Zinaxin, is a natural anti-inflammatory substance. It works by removing potentially damaging oxidising agents from within the body (i.e. it is an antioxidant).

Willow has been used to ease the pain of arthritis for many years now. It can be traced back as far as the ancient Greeks, who used to mash up the leaves with a little wine, and apply it to a sore back. In more modern times willow bark has been sold as part of a prepared remedy. It is in fact a naturally occurring form of aspirin, but with far fewer side effects.

If you do not do so already, you should consider taking cod liver oil on a daily basis. It helps to strengthen the bones, and the fatty acids that it contains prevent the cartilage from breaking up, thus avoiding inflamed joints.

There is a chemical in our bodies called glucosamine, a sugar much like glucose. This helps to prevent arthritis by keeping the joint tissue and surrounding fluid very gelatinous, hence well lubricated. Unfortunately, as we get older the amount of glucosamine in our bodies begins to decrease, meaning we aren’t as effective at looking after our joints. Help is at hand though, because glucosamine sulphate can be bought in either a tablet or cream form, and works tremendously well.

Sufferers of arthritis should bear in mind lifestyle factors can play an important role in pain levels. Take daily exercise, involving the use of joints that are affected. This helps to strengthen the joint, and keep it lubricated. Inactivity will only stiffen the joint and make the pain far worse the next time it is used. It is important to remember not to overdo it though; a little exercise everyday is fine.

Try to avoid those foods that can adversely affect inflamed joints. In the main this means avoiding vegetables of the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, aubergine, and capsicum). It can benefit some sufferers to cut back on dairy products and red meat as well. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables (except those previously mentioned), oily fish and wholemeal products. It is essential to include plenty of vitamin C in your diet, because it is a component of collagen, which constitutes part of your joint protecting cartilage. As well as a reduction in arthritic pain, you’ll also find that your diet has become a lot healthier.

Many victims of arthritis are now turning to alternative natural remedies, and finding they can live free of pain, and not suffer any side effects from their medication. You should seriously consider it too!