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According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 50 million American adults have arthritis or another rheumatic condition. Arthritis is characterized by inflammation in one or more joints which leads to chronic pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased range of motion. The condition can attack joints in any part of the body. Symptoms range from mild to severe and will vary from person to person.

Because the chronic pain associated with arthritis is often severe enough to disrupt normal activities, most sufferers visit their doctors in search of relief. More often than not, doctors prescribe non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). While these medications may offer some temporary relief, they have been linked to serious side effects including gastrointestinal upset, cardiovascular problems and damage to the liver and kidneys. Some of the NSAIDS prescribed in recent years have produced side effects so serious that they were taken off the market by the Food and Drug Administration.

Many arthritis sufferers mistakenly believe that NSAIDS are their only choices for coping with symptoms. The fact of the matter is that there are safe, natural alternatives that can relieve pain and stiffness without dangerous side effects.
White willow bark is one popular alternative that is recommended by holistic practitioners. This bark, which has been used to treat inflammation for thousands of years, contains salicin, a natural substance that is similar to aspirin. Studies have shown that salicin is very effective in relieving the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. White willow bark also contains a variety of phytochemicals including catechins and flavonoids. Phytochemicals are potent disease-fighting antioxidants that are found naturally in plants. Because of their proven ability to relieve chronic symptoms, white willow bark supplements are often recommended for arthritis sufferers.

Exercise, hydrotherapy, massage, acupuncture and heat therapy are some other natural pain management techniques that are frequently recommended by holistic practitioners. Talk to your practitioner to develop an arthritis management plan that best suits your individual needs and join the millions of people who have taken charge of their symptoms the safe and natural way.

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