Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the joints as if they were foreign tissues.
There are other types of arthritis but osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two common forms of the condition in the UK.
The symptoms of arthritis you experience will vary depending on the type you have.
The NHS lists the following symptoms:
- Joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
- Inflammation in and around the joints
- Restricted movement of the joints
- Warm, red skin over the affected joint
- Weakness and muscle wasting
While doctors traditional treat arthritis with anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers, some medication can cause side effects.
This has led many people to use a natural approach to pain relief, although you should consult your doctor before trying natural remedies.
The Arthritis Foundation offers a variety of natural therapies.
The form of Chinese medicine which involves inserting thin, needles at specific points on the body is designed to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. Many experts recommend this to soothe arthritis pain.
The NHS says: “Acupuncture is often used to treat other musculoskeletal condiitons (of the bones and muscles) and pain condiitons including chronic pain such as neck pain, joint pain, dental pain, postoperative pain.
“However, in many condiitons where acupuncture is used, there’s less good quality evidence to draw any clear conclusions over its effectiveness compared with other treatments.”
Massages have been shown to reduce joint pain and stiffness as well as range of motion. But Arthritis Foundation warns to listen to your body and perhaps avoid getting a massage when joints are especially tender and sensitive.
Another Chinese practice, this combines gentle flowing movements, deep breathing and meditation, and has been shown to not only reduce joint pain, but also improve range of motion and function.
According to Arthritis Foundation, losing one pound removes four pounds of pressure on swollen, painful joints. You can maintain a healthy weight by combining a balanced diet with regular physical activity.
Eat plenty of fish
Certain types of fish are full of inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids, and for that reason experts recommend you eat at least three to four ounces of fish, twice a week. Fish which fall under this category include salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring.
Arthritis affects more than 10 million people in the UK.
It can cause debilitating pain, and even the simplest of movements can be hard to perform.
But those with arthritis also looking to lose weight need not miss out.
Try these three moves to tighten up abs.