Coping With Rheumatoid Arthritis Numbness
Numbness and tingling are common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), caused by inflammation. Inflammation results in swelling which, in turn, presses on nerves, resulting in numbness and tingling.
Standard medications used to treat RA may reduce inflammation and relieve numbness and tingling, but sometimes medications won't completely resolve the symptoms, or you may want to limit your use of medications.
Natural remedies can be used as adjuncts to conventional treatment for rheumatoid arthritis numbness.
Use a Multifaceted Approach for Symptom Relief
In order to effectively reduce rheumatoid arthritis numbness and tingling, a comprehensive treatment plan is essential. Discuss your concerns with your health care team. Conventional medications, splints, physical therapy, and occupational therapy may all be used to relieve numbness and tingling.
If you decide to include over-the-counter or natural supplements to your wellness plan, be sure to let your health care providers know what you are taking.
An effective approach to symptom relief includes the use of preventative techniques as well as symptom-relieving modalities. Some interventions are used in both the preventative and symptom management phases of treatment.
While some of the approaches are beneficial for most, if not all people, who suffer from RA, others work only for some individuals. For example, applying moist heat to an affected joint may be effective for some individuals, while for others, it exacerbates their discomfort. See what works best for you.
The interventions used to relieve numbness and tingling are also used to reduce pain, stiffness, and other symptoms of RA.
Diet, supplements, rest, exercise, and topical treatments are the foundations for a healthy treatment plan to relieve symptoms of RA. Used together they prevent flare-ups and decrease episodes of numbness, tingling, and pain. They may improve your level of well-being for your entire life.
Eating Well to Reduce Inflammation
Eat a healthy diet or a tailored rheumatoid arthritis diet.
Some studies indicate that a vegetarian diet reduces inflammation, so consider adopting a vegetarian diet or at least minimizing your intake of animal products.
It is especially important to limit or eliminate your intake of animal fats, as multiple studies indicate that animal fat consumption increases inflammation. In addition to relieving discomfort; limiting or eliminating animal fats from your diet is important for protecting the health of your heart.
If you choose to include meat and animal products in your diet, consuming foods from organic, grass-fed, or wild animals is superior to mass-produced foods. Processed meats, such as bacon, hot dogs, and sausages increase inflammation the most, so it's best to avoid them.
Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation. Excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids include cold, deep water, fatty fish such as mackerel, herring, and salmon.
If you prefer vegetarian sources of fatty acids, walnuts, hazelnuts, and Brazil nuts are tasty options. Flax, chia, and hemp seeds are also excellent sources.
A couple of tablespoons of seeds or a quarter cup of nuts daily are good amounts. If you use seeds, store them in the refrigerator to maintain freshness. Nuts may be frozen to prevent rancidity, if needed. Grind flax seed immediately prior to use. Use flax, wheat germ, hazelnut, or walnut oil in salad dressings. You may use them as is, or combine them with olive or canola oil.
Eating Well to Reduce Inflammation, Cont'd.
Some individuals find that eliminating foods from the nightshade family reduces inflammation. Members of the nightshade family include potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. Citrus, dairy, and coffee may increase inflammation in some people. Try eliminating these groups of foods, one at a time, and see if your symptoms decrease.
Eat foods that contain high levels of antioxidants. These include fresh fruits and vegetables. Herbs contain concentrated amounts of these powerful substances. Rosemary, green tea, coriander, and fenugreek have been shown to decrease inflammation. These results have been verified using blood tests which measure inflammation in the body.
Berries are among the healthiest foods which you can eat. Include them in your diet daily. Consume frozen berries if fresh ones are not available. Dates have been shown in scientific studies to decrease inflammation, too.
Supplements for Reducing Inflammation
Several research studies indicate that fish, borage seed, black cumin seed, and evening primrose oils reduce the levels of inflammatory markers among people who have RA.
Supplementation with a high-quality multivitamin and multi-mineral supplement is essential. People who have RA often have low levels of anti-inflammatory vitamin E, so you make sure that your multivitamin contains 400 IU of Vitamin E. Zinc is also deficient among people who have RA. Check to see that your supplement contains it.
Cat’s claw, Boswellia, willow, and rosehips have all been used to relieve RA symptoms. Turmeric and ginger have been researched considerably. Both are well tolerated and offer benefits for your entire body. I recommend using them in the diet and as supplements.
The Importance of Rest
If you are fatigued, symptoms such as numbness and tingling may be exacerbated. Develop a backup plan for periods of flare-ups to ensure that you can rest.
While your entire body needs rest, you may need to provide extra protection and rest to your joints in order to prevent tingling and numbness. Check with a physical therapist regarding the availability of splints and gloves designed to protect and rest your joints.
Gentle, rhythmic exercises, such as yoga, swimming, and walking may help prevent rheumatoid arthritis-related pain, numbness, and tingling.
During acute episodes, you may need to limit exercise. Do not engage in exercises which put pressure on your joints, are jarring, or cause you to become fatigued.
Topical Remedies for Rheumatoid Arthritis Numbness
- Moist heat may help to free stiff joints. The application of cold packs may help to reduce inflammation. Some people find that alternating the application of warm, moist packs with cold packs helps relieve symptoms. To do this, apply warm moist heat to a joint for twenty minutes. Remove the heat after twenty minutes. Wait twenty minutes and apply a cold pack to the joint. Repeat as needed.
- If you have a high level of sensitivity, and cannot tolerate hot or cold packs; you may be able to use paraffin. Dip your hand or foot into a paraffin bath, following the manufacturer’s directions.
- Acupuncture may be beneficial. Use it preventatively for best results; however it may reduce acute pain, stiffness, numbness, and tingling, too. Acupuncturists may recommend other topical and internal remedies in addition to the acupuncture treatment.
- Massage may be used to relieve stress, pain, numbness, and tingling. It may help to increase your range of motion. Talk with an experienced therapist to determine what type of massage may be the most beneficial for you.
- Essential oils may be used as part of a massage or independently. Oils which possess warming, relaxing qualities are helpful for most people; although others prefer cooling oils. The oil, cajuput, has been found to reduce inflammation due to RA. German chamomile, helichrysum, rosemary, and black pepper oils contain anti-inflammatory compounds. Lavender, lemongrass, oregano, and peppermint oils, provide relief from discomfort and tingling. Also, dilute essential oils before using them. They may be used in massage oils or used as ingredients in compresses, hand, or foot baths.
Use these strategies to prevent and relieve rheumatoid arthritis numbness and tingling. Diet, supplements, rest, exercise, and topical treatments used in conjunction with medical treatments can make a big difference in the number and intensity of episodes of numbness and tingling which you experience.