Essential Oils for Arthritis to Ease Those Stiff Joints
If you could always climb a flight of steps in a few minutes’ time, but it of late seems to be an arduous task, it may not just be a sign of aging and inactivity. It may also be because of arthritis, a condition where there’s inflammation in one or more joints. Its prominent symptoms are joint pain and stiffness which seems to increase with age.
Arthritis exists in different forms where osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common types. In case of osteoarthritis, cartilage (the slippery tissue covering the ends of bones in joints) breakdown leaves the joints unprotected. The bone ends thus start thickening and this leads to the formation of spurs.
Rheumatoid arthritis however is a systemic disease which affects the entire body. Other forms of arthritis are triggered by uric acid crystals, infections, and other diseases.
Who is prone to arthritis?
While arthritis can occur to anyone at any age, women are more prone to rheumatoid arthritis due to their body’s hormonal changes. Age and a family history of arthritis also increase its risk. People with flat feet too are prone to arthritis as the altered body weight on the leg and knees increases knee pain and chances of arthritis.
People who have had some previous joint injury perhaps while playing a sport too, are at a higher risk of developing arthritis at the injured joint.
Did you know excessive texting also increasing the risk of arthritis in the hand. Your creaky and painful thumbs may be due to a texting thumb!
Last, but not least, obesity stresses joints, especially the knees, spine and hips which increase arthritis risks. Similarly prolonged use of stiletto high heels increases the pressure on knees, which in turn increases the risk of knee arthritis.
How it affects your social life
Arthritis has major implications on your social life as it makes simple tasks like climbing stairs difficult. Common activities like kneeling, bending, and stooping become laborious with the pain in your hips, knee, and ankle and back making moving to lower positions rather tiring.
With this difficulty in bending and kneeling, gardening, and household chores like mopping and sweeping can get really grueling. Even tools and equipment like vacuum cleaners won’t be that helpful if you can’t carry them around.
Arthritis in the hand, elbow, shoulder and neck can make simple things like brushing your hair, shaving and applying makeup exhausting by limiting your range of motion and manual dexterity.
You may also find writing, picking up of cups, plates and glasses and even gripping objects painful. It’s in extreme cases that you may find lifting up a fork or spoon to lift food to your mouth, or cutting meat arduous too. Looking at all this, it shows that arthritis does have dire implications on both your everyday and social life!
There is no permanent cure for arthritis. Instead, you can get relief by making some dietary and lifestyle changes, exercising, and taking some pain medications.
A healthy diet helps you lose weight if you are obese, while exercise strengthens the surrounding muscles and promotes flexibility to reduce stiffness. Your doctor may prescribe pain medications like OTC pain relievers and analgesics, NSAIDs and cortico steroids do provide minor pain relief.
You can also try applying ice packs or heat wraps, or use aromatherapy for pain relief.
It is in extreme cases that your doctor may suggest surgery like joint repair, replacement, or fusion to reduce pain and improve joint functioning.
Essential oils for arthritis
Essential oils too can help provide relief to arthritis symptoms through aromatherapy where their components are rapidly absorbed through the skin. This provides a natural and anti-inflammatory treatment option. Here are some of the best essential oils for arthritis.
Ginger essential oil
Ginger essential oil contains analgesic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that act on the body’s vanilloid receptors. These receptors are found on sensory nerve endings, and can help reduce arthritis pain by creating a burning sensation which has a direct affect on the pain pathways.
Turmeric essential oil
Considered one of the best essential oils for rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin is the most active ingredient in turmeric, which together with its anti-inflammatory properties, reduces the inflammation.
Orange essential oil
Orange essential oil has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, one of the best essential oils for pain relief.
While rosemary oil is a helpful pain reliever or analgesic, it also has anti-inflammatory properties for pain relief.
Peppermint essential oil
The 1-menthol in peppermint essential oil gives it its anti-inflammatory properties, which together with its natural pain relieving properties; make it perfect for arthritis pain.
It’s minty fragrance, and a natural pain reliever helps eucalyptus oil provide arthritis pain relief. It also increases blood circulation and boosts the healing process by opening blood vessels. Its effects are further enhanced if mixed with other essential oils like peppermint or tea tree oil.
Lavender essential oil
Lavender oil helps arthritis sufferers by reducing the pain and swelling around painful joints by increasing blood circulation and oxygenation to the joints. It also has helps provide balance to the body to promote sleep, improve mood and treat anxiety with its relaxing properties.
How to use the oils
Like always, essential oil for arthritis can be used to help relieve pain and inflammation by adding to a diffuser, mixing with carrier oil and then topically rubbing it to affected area, and even adding a few drops to hot water for a soothing bath.
Regular use of the oils can indeed help fight arthritis development. Make sure that the oils are 100% pure, and consult your doctor first before using it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Other tips and tricks to lessen arthritis pain
Last, but not least, arthritis sufferers should know your body and limits so that you do not end up overdoing things. Instead, make life easier for you through creative adaptations in your work and home environment.
For example, start using both hands to push yourself and get up and out of a chair, and make it a point to get out of your chair every half hour. You can also start using a pencil to dial phones instead of your finger.
Reducing the use of stiletto high heels in the thirties and forties helps reduce the risk of arthritis. You may also consider fitting Velcro and elastic to your clothes to make grooming and dressing easier for you.