Arthritis is an umbrella term for a number of conditions that cause pain and inflammation in a joint. The two common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Both cause pain and stiffness in the affected joints but are distinguishable by their causes.
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Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, which means it’s caused by the immune system attacking healthy body tissue.
Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is attributed to lifestyle factors such as injury and obesity, and genetic factors such as family history.
Both are also united in their lack of cure but there are a number of treatments to help relieve the symptoms.
Several research studies suggest the anti-inflammatory properties found in ginger can have an alleviating effect, for example.
One study found that ginger extract was as effective as ibuprofen in the first treatment period of a cross-over study.
Researchers in another study found that ginger and echinacea supplements effectively reduced inflammation and pain after knee surgery.
Furthermore, research published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatology 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.
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Taking ginger extract helped to reduce knee pain upon standing and after walking.
What’s more, researchers in study published in The Journal of Pain found that ginger was an effective pain reliever for human muscle pain resulting from an exercise-induced injury.
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.
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The findings are in line with animal studies, one of which involving rats suggested that ginger can help to relieve joint pain from rheumatoid arthritis.
Ginger was shown to reduce inflammation when taken in high doses for four weeks.
General tips for managing arthritis
It’s very important to eat a healthy, balanced diet if you have arthritis.
“Eating healthily will give you all the nutrients you need and help you maintain a healthy weight,” explains the NHS.
Why is it important to lose weight?
Too much weight places excess pressure on the joints in your hips, knees, ankles and feet, leading to increased pain and mobility problems, says the NHS.
In fact, exercise can bring both direct and indirect benefits for managing arthritis, notes the health body.
In addition to aiding weight loss, exercise can:
- Improve your range of movement and joint mobility
- Increase muscle strength
- Reduce stiffness
- Boost your energy
“Your GP can recommend the type and level of exercise that’s right for you,” adds the NHS.
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