Practitioners near you who treat arthritis

Arthritis relates to a group of conditions that cause joint swelling and tenderness.

It may occur in one joint, or many joints, and makes the affected area painful and difficult to use. Dealing with the symptoms of arthritis can be stressful and frustrating.

There are more than 100 types of arthritis, including:

Osteoarthritis (OA): A degenerative joint condition that affects the bone, cartilage, ligaments and muscles.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): A chronic inflammatory disorder that causes pain and swelling in the joints.

Gout: Small crystals form in and around the joint, causing pain and swelling.

Fibromyalgia: A group of symptoms associated with generalised pain, muscle stiffness and extreme fatigue. Fibromyalgia doesn’t specifically damage the joints. Pain exists due to extreme pain sensitivity in nerve receptors.

Reactive Arthritis: Joint pain and swelling occur secondary to an infection in another part of the body. The infection usually occurs a few weeks before joint pain begins.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE): A form of arthritis where the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues. It can impact joints, skin, the kidneys and more.

Each of these conditions affects the joints in different ways. That’s why the symptoms of arthritis vary between arthritic types.

It’s important to see a health professional if your joint pain:

  • Starts for no obvious reason
  • Lasts a few days or more
  • Is associated with swelling, redness and warmth in the joint area.

They’ll consider all the arthritis causes and the best ways to help you feel better.

Celebrities and Arthritis

Paula Abdul, the powerhouse singer, dancer and choreographer, understands why early arthritis diagnosis is important.

You probably know Paula from her appearance on American Idol or from her mega hit song Opposites Attract (such a fun music video!). Her high-energy career began when she was 18 years old. But, at 43 Paula started slowing her routine when she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment, and a little down time, allowed Paula to start performing again. However, 10 years later Paula started noticing joint pain when she was dancing. It was at this point that she was also diagnosed with osteoarthritis.

Here’s what she said during an interview with People magazine:

“I kept thinking, at least it wasn’t something in my head. There was a reason attached to what I was feeling. I just wish I had known [about the condition] earlier.”

Thanks to arthritis medication, Paula is still active and loving life. Her exercise routine looks a little different though:

“Walking is very underrated. I’ll put on my AirPods and listen to Stevie Wonder, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake — and just sing at the top of my lungs and swing to the beat.”

Unfortunately, there is no accepted ‘cure’ for arthritis – yet.

Researchers at Arthritis Australia are scurrying to better understand arthritic conditions. They desperately want to find a cure and help arthritis pain be a thing of the past. But, until then arthritis treatment focuses on limiting pain, swelling and inflammation. As well as preserving the joints.

At this point, you may be wondering how to prevent arthritis. Especially if arthritis runs in your family or you’ve had joint injuries in the past. (Previous joint injuries are a risk factor or OA)

Arthritis Prevention

Here are 5 simple ways you can help prevent arthritis.

  1. Maintain a healthy weight
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Don’t smoke
  4. Avoid or limit alcohol intake
  5. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of arthritis look different for each person. The most common signs and symptoms include:

  • Joint pain, stiffness and swelling
  • Reduced joint mobility
  • Redness and warmth in a joint
  • Tiredness
  • Feeling unwell.

Treatments for Arthritis

Arthritis treatments help with pain, swelling and stiffness. They also help to slow the disease so you can live an active life. Some forms of arthritis, such as gout and fibromyalgia, have specific arthritis medications.

Common arthritis treatments include:

  • Arthritis Medications

 Analgesics: Generalised pain relief that helps to block pain signals reaching the brain.

    • Warning: Analgesics can impair your liver
    • Example: Paracetamol

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS): Relieve pain and inflammation by blocking prostaglandins.

    • Warning: NSAIDs increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and stomach ulcers
    • Example: Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Celebrex

Corticosteroids: Mimic the action of cortisol in the body to reduce inflammation. They’re fast-acting and useful for short-term relief.

    • Warning: Corticosteroids contribute to high blood pressure, cataracts, bone loss and weight gain
    • Example: Prednisone

Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs): Slows inflammation to decrease joint pain and disease progression.

    • Warning: DMARDs lower your immunity and make you more susceptible to infections
    • Example: Methotrexate
  • Quit Smoking – Cigarette smoke damages the joints, bones and muscles. It also impairs your body’s ability to heal.
  • Exercise – Regular exercise helps to maintain joint movement. It also promotes the healing flow of oxygen and nutrients around the body. Exercise is especially important if you’re overweight. This is because being overweight or obese puts extra pressure on the joints.
  • Limit Alcohol – The toxins and acidic pH of alcohol can damage the joints over time.
  • Regulate Blood Sugar – Uncontrolled blood sugar stiffens the tissues that support joints. This is especially important if you have diabetes and arthritis.
  • Alternative Therapies – Allied health professionals can help with arthritis pain and stiffness. They can also help minimise the emotional stress associated with arthritis. You could try Acupuncture, Naturopathy or Exercise Physiology.

Causes of Arthritis

Researchers are still trying to understand all the arthritis causes. It’s a lot of work as there are so many types of arthritis (100+). While some arthritis is caused by an infection, others don’t relate to this at all. Here’s a list of general factors that can increase your risk of arthritis.

  • Family history
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Regular alcohol intake
  • High processed-sugar diet
  • Activities with repetitive movements
  • Previous bone injuries or joint trauma
  • Long term stress
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Metabolic diseases, e.g. diabetes

What Works For Arthritis – Natural Options

Alkaline Diet Did you know an acidic pH makes you more prone to inflammation and arthritis? Eating a balance of 80% alkaline to 20% acid foods helps to regulate the pH in your body. An alkaline diet includes plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant proteins daily. Aim for at least 2 pieces of fruit and 5 different veggies each day. Also minimise prepackaged foods, refined sugars, red meat and soft drinks.

Herbs offer a natural way to decrease pain and inflammation. They’re an excellent alternative to arthritis medications, which often have side effects. 

  • Turmeric: This centuries-old herb helps to treat the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Research confirms its effects are similar to NSAIDs. You can use turmeric in supplement form (to get a potent dose) or add it to your cooking.
  • Boswellia: Also known as Frankincense, this herb has anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties. It can help relieve pain and stiffness, and improve joint junction.
  • Cat’s Claw: This is ideal if you have arthritis relating to an infection, e.g. Reactive Arthritis. Cat’s Claw supports immunity and is a potent anti-inflammatory.

Acupuncture is a safe and effective arthritis treatment. It triggers the release of feel-good chemicals that decrease pain and inflammation.

Massage optimises the flow of oxygen, blood and nutrients to the joints, bones and muscles. This has a healing effect that also helps you relax.

Pilates is an excellent form of exercise for arthritis patients. It helps to keep the body flexible and releases happy endorphins into the bloodstream.

Muscle Rubs help blood and nutrients flow to the arthritic joint. This helps to decrease pain and improve joint flexibility. Look for muscle rubs that contain Arnica, Wintergreen and Peppermint. Some people find that alternating muscle rubs with cold packs is even more effective.

Find A Professional

The following health experts can help with arthritis:

  • Nutritionists
  • Naturopaths
  • Acupuncturists
  • Ayurveda Practitioners
  • Massage Therapists
  • Pilates Instructors
  • Exercise Psychologist

Supporting Someone With Arthritis

Here’s how to support someone with arthritis:

  1. Patience. Arthritis can make it hard to do everyday things. Be patient if your friend with arthritis walks a little slower, has difficulty preparing meals, or needs extra help with common tasks. Getting frustrated with them only makes the situation worse.
  2. Non-Drinker. Alcohol can make arthritis symptoms much worse. Be supportive if your friend decides not to drink, as it could be the best thing they do for their arthritis.
  3. Listen. Having arthritis can be stressful. Ask your friend if they want to talk about their concerns, then take the time to listen. Sometimes, sharing your struggles with a friend can ease the burden.


What are the symptoms of arthritis?

  • Joint pain, stiffness and swelling
  • Reduced joint movement
  • Redness and warmth in a joint
  • Tiredness
  • Feeling unwell

What are some natural arthritis treatments?

  • Alkaline Diet (80% Alkaline Foods, 20% Acid Foods)
  • Exercise
  • Herbs, e.g. Turmeric, Boswellia, Cat’s claw
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Muscle Rubs

What are arthritis causes?

There are more than 100 types of arthritis, which means there are many arthritis causes. Doing the following may help you prevent arthritis.

  1. Maintain a healthy weight
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Don’t smoke
  4. Avoid or limit alcohol intake
  5. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables every day.

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