My mother is almost 70 years old and very active, fit and well. The only thing that spoils her retirement is that her joints are agonizingly painful when she wakes up, leaving her bent double for a long time. She finds setting the alarm to take ibuprofen an hour before she gets up helps her to become mobile more quickly. Please suggest natural remedies or cures for aching joints? She is against taking the ibuprofen continuously. Do you have natural remedies and cures for aching joints?
Your mother’s ‘early-morning stiffness’ is a characteristic symptom of arthritis, a condition where the joint surfaces become inflamed. I suspect your mother has osteoarthritis rather than rheumatoid arthritis. With the later autoimmune disorder, the pain and stiffness in the early morning is unbearable. With osteoarthritis, which is usually due to wear and tear and/or to nutritional problems, the pain is usually less severe. However, if people with osteoarthritis don’t sleep well, the pain threshold becomes lower and the discomfort can be severe.
In fact, although ‘osteo’ means bones, it’s not the hard bones of the joint that suffer inflammation but the synovial membrane that covers then. The membrane is soft because it is supplied with numerous blood vessels and contains nerve endings. (Although bone marrow is rich with blood vessels, they can’t penetrate the bone itself.)
The sings of inflammation are swelling, redness due to the body sending more blood to the area to help it heal, heat as enzymes are released it destroy unwanted cells (and increased blood supply), stiffness, pain and loss of function - in this case, loss of movement in the joints.
During the day, as you move around, the blood circulation everywhere in the body is improved. This removes the stagnant blood in the inflamed joints, and brings in fresh oxygen, protein, glucose and hormones to keep down the inflammation.
When you slow down in the evening, however , the circulation becomes sluggish until the early hours. Then, at around 4am, the adrenal glands release the maximum amount of cortisol (one of the body’s steroid hormomes0 in preparation for daytime activity. The cortisol helps blood flow and invigorates all parts of the body, but it exacerbates the problems of arthritis sufferers because already inflamed joint surfaces get a surge of blood and swell; the inflammation increase, and the joints become stiff and sore. People feel pain at different times, depending in the fluctuations of various hormones in the body. Backache sufferers, for example, feel it more in the early hour of the morning, as do those with abscesses, sinusitis and colitis. This is because during the night the circulation slows down and does not clear the problem areas.
Natural Remedies and Cures for Aching Joints
In order to relieve the pain, your mother needs to look after her aching joints with following natural health approach:
Eat lots of oily fish (salmon, sea trout, tuna, sardines, herrings, pilchards), avocados, olive oil, garlic and ginger.
Avoid coffee and excess salt as they cause constriction of blood vessels and impair the healing of inflamed joints.
Avoid citrus and sour fruits (orange, grapefruit, lemon, pineapple, mangoes, tomato juice, passion fruit), which increase aches and pains in the body.
Avoid yeast products, mushrooms, cheese and ready-made sauces; these contain fungus that will cause fermentation and prevent healing. For the same reason, avoid acidic white wine and champagne; drink other alcohol in moderation only, and cut right down on sugar and sugary foods.
Avoid hot, spicy and fried foods, which cause excess stomach acid.
- Avoid red meat, shellfish and offal, which are generally not good for joints.
The following natural remedies should help
Haldi (80 capsules) is an Ayurvedic anti-inflammatory: take one twice daily for three months.
Mahayogaraj Guggal is an Ayurvedic supplement for arthritis: take one twice daily for three months.
Massage the tissues surrounding the joints with my Joint Oil or Massage Balm. Rub until the oil or balm is absorbed. This will help the inflammation. Massage the muscles above and below the affected joints too. This is best done at bedtime, leaving the oil to soak in overnight.
Practice therapeutic yoga regularly, particularly the cobra. Boat, swing, turtle and semi-bridge poses. These are all explained in Therapeutic Yoga, the book I co-wrote with Jiwan Brar.
By Dr Mosaraf Ali MD
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