To help reduce inflammation, try drinking ginger-castor oil tea daily at bedtime.
Although chiropractic cannot do a lot to turn back the clock, it can prevent progression of the disease. Specific chiro practic adjustment (SCA) can help patients with rheumatoid arthritis by increasing joint flexibility, decreasing swelling in the joint areas and joint capsules, and decreasing fluid accumulation that results from arthritic changes. For example, if the patient's hands are affected, care includes SCA of the affected joints, moist heat application, and hot water soaks with Epsom salts to promote mobility. In some cases, care may include paraffin (hot wax) baths.
Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis have many similarities, including herbal remedies. However, there are some subtle variations. For rheumatoid arthritis, take a combination tincture of meadowsweet, willow bark, black cohosh, prickly ash, celery seed, nettle' wild yam, and valerian to help temper arthritis symptoms. To make the blend, mix equal amounts of the tinctures; take 1 teaspoonful of the mixture 3 times daily. The blend is safe and can be taken for a period of time. (See also "Osteoarthritis" entry.)
Herbal products are available in health food stores and in some pharmacies and supermarkets. Follow package for specific directions.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture To treat rheumatoid arthritis, which commonly affects the wrists, knees, shoulders, ankles, and elbows-acupuncturists may focus on the heart, kidney, back of head, and internal secretion points. They may also target any points that are associated with the afflicted joint.
To help quell arthritis-related foot pain, the practitioner may manipulate Liver 2, Kidney 3, Bladder 60, Liver 3, Stomach 44, and several points on the ear. Arthritic ankle pain is often treated by inserting needles into Stomach 41, Bladder 60, Gallbladder 40, and additional auricular points.
AcupressureFor rheumatism-related ankle pain, a practitioner will probably target two points: Large Intestine 4 (in the webbing of the hand between the thumb and forefinger) and Bladder 60 (in the depression behind the outside ankle bone). Several points on the foot and on the ankle itself also may be targeted.
Elbow pain may be relieved by massaging LI 11 (toward the outside of the elbow); knee pain will be helped by manipulating several points on and around the knee itself; shoulder pain is best helped by performing acupressure on several points, including Large Intestine 15 and Gallbladder 21; while wrist pain is alleviated by applying pressure to several acupoints on the wrist. In addition, ear acupuncture may be used to help further relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Generalized joint pain may be relieved by pressing the two Gallbladder 20 points on the back of the neck.
Chinese Herbal TherapyThere are many Chinese herbal arthritis formulas available at health food stores or by mail order, such as Angelica and Loranthes Combination for lower back and knee pain; Xiao Huo Luo Dan for stiff joints; Feng Shih Hsiao Thng Wan for finger, shoulder, knee, and hip pain associated with rheumatism; and Tian Ma Wan for general rheumatic pain.