Many aspire to find natural remedies for arthritis and they are able to find life changing pain relief with the right ones. Looking beyond trying to find the exact supplement or specific exercise to do, the success lies in the holistic approach. Surgery and/or pills likely will not lead to longer term pain relief. Instead, there is power in natural remedies for arthritis that can help not only with immediate pain relief but pain relief in the long term too. Let’s look at a patient’s compelling story.
Here at Keep the Adventure Alive we are all about instilling hope and optimism to those that have arthritis. I love sharing patient success stories because I want you to see that it is possible to thrive with arthritis.
It may not look like total pain relief or a cure of the condition. This patient went from chronic pain in multiple joints to tolerable pain that didn’t limit her in higher level activities like golf and mountain biking.
Your arthritis adventure is possible.
Let's meet pearl
This patient’s name is changed for privacy reasons but Pearl was the name of my old car so that’s what we will go with (haha!). I want to share this story because I want you to imagine yourself in this situation. You may even share some of the same thoughts, pains, and history! I want these natural remedies for arthritis to become very real for you. I promise is not the typical “voodoo” healing powers you may have read about.
This is real. This patient is real. The results are real.
Pearl, 57 year old female, came to me during a seminar about knee arthritis at a running because she had begun experiencing knee pain in the past couple of months. She had to stop running and really wanted to get back to it.
After meeting Pearl, I found out so much more. She was dealing with more than just knee pain. Many times when it comes to arthritis, pain can be experienced in many different areas.
Here is a little of her history:
- Multiple shoulder surgeries to both shoulders but left causing more difficulty than right- impacting her golf swing
- Previous injury to her left ankle from a fall off of a mountain bike 1 year ago with continued pain
- Recent left inside knee pain that she has begun to feel when walking longer distances and coming down hills
- Recent feelings of disappointment and anxiety around having to give up her active lifestyle because of all of these pains
- Osteoporosis diagnosis in the past 2 years
She had tried various types of physical therapy, massage, and minor diet changes but nothing seemed to stick. Her pain kept coming back.
Everytime she tried a new exercise program, she ended up making her pain worse, even when she tried a water aerobics class.
She loved golfing, mountain biking, running, and being active with her husband all over the West. She did not want to give any of that up and was very dedicated to getting back.
Can you relate to any of this?
What we found
Arthritis and chronic pain relief is so much more than just movement. There are many things that can contribute to pain besides movement! We talked about:
- Recent stressors of a home renovation and continued pain that was taking a lot of her energy
- Foods she was eating- turns out she was not eating enough in general but more specifically was way under on her protein intake (we know how important that is!)
- Her recent interest in journaling which has helped her develop some coping mechanisms with her pain and other life activities
- Her thoughts on her pain- she was fearful of pain because everytime she felt pain she thought she was making her shoulder, ankle, or knee worse
- Medications and supplements she was taking for underlying conditions
- Strength and balance deficits we found from a movement assessment
Her main goals
Her ultimate goal was to live a happy, adventurous life. She didn’t want to have to slow down. She didn’t want to deal with pain for the rest of her life.
This is a perfect time to think about your goals? If you are reading this you are likely dealing with some sort of joint pain. What do you want? What would you do if you woke up without any pain tomorrow?
Here is how we started:
- Discussed what pain actually means. Pain does not correlate with more damage which helps to alleviate some fears and anxieties.
- Completed simple movements that did not flare up pain and had the right amount of support based on where we found the strength and balance deficits.
- Talked about how to incorporate more protein into her diet and importance of tracking foods to get started.
- Emphasized the importance of journaling so she could continue to unload her thoughts onto paper so she wasn’t spending so much time and energy on them
With natural remedies for arthritis, out primary focus in on the small wins. These keep us motivated and keep us going! In order to receive these results, Pearl began following the exercise program-15 minutes at least 5 days per week, followed the diet changes at least 75% of the time, and started to shift her thinking about her pain.
In just 4 weeks she experienced:
- More energy throughout the day
- Decreases in severity of all joint pain
- Decreased occasions of knee pain- stated she was on vacation and “didn’t even notice my knee. I was so happy!”
- Stronger golf swing. She was hitting the ball further without increase in shoulder pain and more consistently.
- She didn’t think about pain as much. She knew discomfort was okay and she didn’t have to worry.
Is she completely out of pain? No. But that’s not what these natural remedies are about. The main goal is to build long lasting pain relief and positive life changes.
There is still work to be done but she has so much HOPE.
Albeit small, these changes can start to snowball into amazing changes to her life. The purpose of this journey is to make slow changes so they are much easier to make into long term habits.
If we would’ve just focused on how she moved and focused on giving her exercises- we would have missed out on a huge piece of the puzzle.
Addressing nutrition, her beliefs about pain, and the other contributing factors- we might not have gotten as far as we did in a short period of time.
Just getting an x-ray then being sent to physical therapy where they work on your knee for 4 weeks may work temporarily but pain relief may not stick.
Getting a massage or acupuncture every couple of weeks might make you feel good in the moment but may not last either.
To find long lasting pain relief and unlock your arthritis adventure, the success is in the holistic approach.
How you can find relief
Okay, that’s great for Pearl. Now I know this is possible. But how can I find the same relief and changes she did?!
Some of these natural remedies for pain relief may not work specifically for you and that’s okay! There is a giant box of possibilities. Maybe you need more emotional support, a different change to your diet, more exercise or even a new medication.
Each person’s arthritis adventure looks a little different but are based on the same general framework:
- Exercise your mind before your body
- Understand your options for pain relief
- Follow through with these options
- Find a way to incorporate it into your daily life
Keep in mind
When you are trying to find pain relief the journey is almost never completely linear with progress. There are occasional dips while you are trying to achieve control over arthritis. With the right plan, you can get through the flares with confidence instead of fear.
Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.