Arthritis: Best Christmas treat to relieve joint pain

Arthritis is an umbrella term for a number of conditions that cause swelling and tenderness of one or more of your joints. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common types of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis mainly affects the hands, spine, knees and hips, whereas rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the hands, feet and wrists.

There’s no cure for arthritis, but there are many treatments that can help slow it down and maintain quality of life, including the key ingredient found in gingerbread men.


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A number of studies suggest ginger extract can help to alleviate the joint pain associated with arthritis.

One notable study found that ginger extract was as effective as ibuprofen in the first treatment period of a cross-over study.

Researchers in another study also found that ginger and echinacea supplements effectively reduced inflammation and pain after knee surgery.

Echinacea is a very popular herb, and it is commonly taken to help combat flu and colds.

Additionally, researchers found that highly concentrated doses of ginger extract were effective in treating people with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Before beginning the study, the participants experienced moderate-to-severe knee pain but after taking ginger extract the participants reported a reduction in knee pain upon standing and after walking.

Furthermore, an animal study revealed that ginger can help to relieve joint pain from rheumatoid arthritis.

Bolstering the findings, one study found that ginger was an effective pain reliever for human muscle pain resulting from an exercise-induced injury.

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Participants who ingested two grams of either raw ginger or heated ginger experienced reduced pain and inflammation.

Heat-treated ginger was thought to have a stronger effect, but both types of ginger were found to be equally helpful.

Findings also suggest applying a cream or gel containing ginger directly onto the affected area may also provide respite.

According to research, ginger extract is able to improve osteoarthritis in knees when applied topically.


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Participants applied ginger extract three times per day for 12 weeks, and, during this time, they experienced reduced levels of pain and other symptoms.

Other ways treat arthritis

As Mayo Clinic explains, you may need to try several different treatments, or combinations of treatments, before you determine what works best for you.

Some people find exercise can help to alleviate symptoms associated with certain types of arthritis.

“Exercises can improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles surrounding joints. In some cases, splints or braces may be warranted,” explained Mayo Clinic.

A course of medication may be recommended depending on the type of arthritis.

A class of drugs called corticosteroids, for example, are an anti-inflammatory medicine reduces inflammation and suppresses the immune system.

According to Mayo Clinic, if milder measures do not relieve symptoms, your doctor may also suggest surgery, such as:

  • Joint repair. In some instances, joint surfaces can be smoothed or realigned to reduce pain and improve function. These types of procedures can often be performed arthroscopically — through small incisions over the joint.
  • Joint replacement. This procedure removes your damaged joint and replaces it with an artificial one. Joints most commonly replaced are hips and knees.
  • Joint fusion. This procedure is more often used for smaller joints, such as those in the wrist, ankle and fingers. It removes the ends of the two bones in the joint and then locks those ends together until they heal into one rigid unit.

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