No one really knows how many people suffer from arthritis and related inflammatory conditions. The folks at the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), who are in charge of tracking such things, put the number at close to 70 million. That includes more than 43 million adults diagnosed by doctors and another 23 million who have symptoms but have not been officially diagnosed.57, 58 That means one in three adults is afflicted with some form of arthritis.

If you think that’s a lot of folks, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Aging baby boomers are about to discover up close and personal what it’s like to suffer from chronic inflammation. The CDC estimates that by 2030 we will add another 22 million to the list of people in pain.59 Arthritis will become the biggest obstacle to enjoyable retirement for the boomer generation.

With so many suffering, it’s hardly any wonder we’re all desperate for relief. Shaking hands, buttoning a shirt, or typing on a computer keyboard can be difficult if your fingers hurt. But who can give up e-mail? We communicate with the world through our fingers.

Everyone tells us that exercise is the most important thing we can do for our overall health. Yet it’s hard to walk, jog, or play tennis or golf if your knees, hips, and shoulders are sore.

No wonder we turn to drugs to relieve our inflammation and ease the pain. A friend who hiked the Appalachian Trail dubbed ibuprofen “vitamin I.” Weekend warriors frequently rely on Advil (ibuprofen) or Aleve (naproxen) before, during, and after tennis matches, basketball games, or karate competitions. We now know that most of the medications used for arthritis can have potentially serious side effects.

We’re caught in a classic double bind. Without something to control inflammation, pain limits our activities, which is not good for our health. Take the medicine, however, and we risk all sorts of complications, from high blood pressure and kidney problems to heart attacks and strokes. Some popular anti-inflammatory drugs may even make our arthritis worse.

Selecting the best approaches for you requires trial and error. There may be synergy between some of these remedies. One person may find that combining acupuncture and a magnetic bracelet with curcumin and pomegranate juice is the magic formula. Another person might discover that applying Pennsaid Lotion to sore joints, taking the herb boswellia, and drinking grape juice and Certo does the trick.

None of these approaches is a substitute for good medical management. Blending home remedies with medications such as Pennsaid or Voltaren Emulgel may offer the maximum benefit. A short course of ibuprofen or naproxen may also be called for when arthritis pain flares up. On the next page, you will find an overview of our recommendations in this chapter.

  • Preventing arthritis beats trying to treat it. Keep weight under control, drink fresh-squeezed orange juice, and follow a Mediterranean diet. Get 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine on your face and hands several days a week or take 800 to 1,200 IU of vitamin D daily.
  • Aspirin is the best buy in the pharmacy. It relieves pain and inflammation while reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and many cancers. Beware of its potential to cause ulcers. Medical supervision is essential for long-term use.
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  1. lynn

    Go to the Lyme disease web site ILADS where you will find a list of symptoms of Lyme Disease. If they match yours, seek out the local Lyme support group in your area to find a Lyme-literate MD to treat you. Many people are misdiagnosed for years and come to Lyme treatment late with lots of problems. Don’t wait.

  2. Shirley D.

    Someone who wrote to you about your anti-inflammatory diet talked about it curing his arthritis and bursitis. How can I find out more about this diet? I looked on your website and could not find it.
    Shirley D.

  3. Nadia

    I want to help a good friend. She has painful arthritis, doc says she needs to exercise, but she hurts, and has hard time doing it. She takes coumadin. I know she could benefit from MSM and apple cider vinegar. But will that interact with coumadin?If there is something else she could do, without taking more drugs, I’d like to know to help. She hurts and her quality of life is no good.
    Peoples Pharmacy response:
    Apple cider vinegar should not have any interaction with Coumadin, and we found no interaction with MSM. But we recommend she discuss this with her doctor before she starts on this regimen.

  4. Lynn

    I actually cured an extremely painful trigger finger with something I found after a lot of searching on the Web. It was so bad I had to unlock it by placing my clamped-up finger on the edge of the kitchen counter and hitting my hand using a downward motion with my other hand. I wore a popsicle stick on it a few weeks at work to keep it from closing because it was so painful to force open. Finally I saw a comment a man had made about taking MSM and organic apple cider vinegar. I did it and after only a week or so it was better and now, five years later, I have no signs of it and haven’t for all this time. I added a little honey to the organic apple cider vinegar (don’t heat it, it will dissolve after you shake it a few minutes) and put it on salads, chicken, whatever, plus I drank it by the spoonful whenever I thought about it. I took a couple capsules of 1000mg MSM every day. Good luck!

  5. Sue W.

    Did your Diabetes get cured because of the connection to Inflammation and Diabetes? I am diabetic and really interested in this. Also, how long before you started seeing better blood sugar numbers? Were you on pills or insulin? Thanks

  6. Ladyliza

    Try turmeric. It eats up the inflammation that causes the problem. Start with 2200 mg/day. Consumer Labs recommends Swanson Brand, online. My doctor tells me it is not toxic so high doses are fine. You should start noticing relief within days. After 3 weeks, if you still have pain, up the dose. I was up to 4800 mg of turmeric. It reversed my diabetes as an unintended consequence.

  7. shabeer

    Actually my issue is body fatigue. Since 7 yrs I’ve been consulting many doctors in arthretics, ortho, neuro, allergy and most of the test I have done as per the direction of doctors. Now am fed up with life. Legs (from knee to down) always pain (the pain not like injury pain but heavy irritation), legs, hands etc are freezing if I keep 2 mins in same position. All the joints are very much in pain. Morning wake up feel too much pain. If some day is little better, then next day will be same pain like before.
    After doctor’s recommendation for vitamin d3 ampoule 300 injection, there are no changes. I don’t know what disease I have. related issues:- even keyboard typing, shoulder, wrists, hand angle, will get joint pains. Hair falling, nose blocking, back pain, allergy. if any one can recommend me a solution, let me know. thanks.shabeer

  8. MM

    What you’re describing sounds like “trigger finger(s)”. In my case, my hand Dr. gave me steroid shots which helped 2 fingers and did a minor surgery on my thumb which used to lock in the extended position. Search on “trigger finger” to learn more.

  9. MizLiz

    I’ve noticed recently my finger joints are getting messed up. (I’m 69) When I bend my fingers, it feels like there’s glue in there.. with a couple of fingers, once they’re bent, I have trouble unbending them..then they “click” all of a sudden. Very weird. only thing I’ve found that helps is soaking my hands in hot water.

  10. sg

    I think there is a link between allergies and arthritis. I’ve noticed that my joints are most painful when my allergies are bad. I don’t take any meds so I can rule that out as the link. Both seems to be involved with the body’s response to inflammation. Have there been any studies supporting such a theory?

  11. Bob

    Thanks for an informative article.

  12. Mac

    X rays indicate arthritis in my hip joint. Dr. says live with it until I can’t live with it then have a replacement. I would like to put that off as long as possible and have been eating gin soaked golden raisins, taking aleve and applying capsazin, not much help. The best relief I have had was taking arthrotec tablets however I was informed that they were very bad for you.
    I am 77 and I am considering using them anyway, as something else will probably get me first. Any other suggestions would be appreciated, what the story on arthrotec?

  13. MJ

    I have psoriatic arthritis and for the past year have been on no medication, as a personal choice. This form of arthritis effects mostly the fingers and feet, in my case the toes. I walk quite a bit every day and am not sure if this helps or hurts my condition.
    Do you have any suggestions for a medicine free option? In the past I have been on Remicaid, Embrial and Humeria until I decided there were too many side effects.

  14. DJ

    I’m a recent throat cancer victim and aside from the many side effects from radiation and chemo treatments I am now experiencing high levels of pain and severe weakness in my arms and shoulders aside from the loss of taste-buds and total loss of my salivary glands (in mouth) and tinnitus which has gotten more intense (24/7). I was wondering if anyone could offer any helpful hints as to what may be going on and possible home remedy treatments that may help me.. Quality of Life is not good at this time.

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