Alternative medicines for thumb basal joint arthritis

Basal joint arthritis is a painful condition that occurs in the hand where the thumb base and the wrist have osteoarthritis. If you suffer from basal joint arthritis, you may have trouble doing simple tasks such as opening jars or twisting a doorknob. Depending on the severity of your arthritis and the pain you are experiencing you may seek alternative medicines to help alleviate symptoms and improve daily function.

Goals of Treatment

It is important to understand that osteoarthritis cannot be cured; therefore, the goals of treatment are to reduce pain, increase mobility and minimise disability, according to the Mayo Clinic. Traditional medications used in treating basal joint arthritis are over-the-counter and prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. These include ibuprofen, naproxen and ketoprofen. Because these medications are hard on your digestive system when taken regularly, you may want to seek alternative medications. Always consult your doctor before starting a new drug program and let him know any and all vitamins, supplements and medications you are taking. Most alternative medicines do not have extensive research studies that can substantiate claims of practitioners and alternative medicine providers.


Acupuncture is a Chinese method of treatment that uses "Qi," or energy points throughout your body. According to Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM, arthritic symptoms occur when there is a blockage of this Qi energy in the cyclical flows. The blockage is referred to as a "bi" and can be alleviated by removing the block. An acupuncture treatment consists of a series of tiny needles inserted at specific points relating to these Qi points. It is a painless process. Those who practice acupuncture also recommend a holistic approach to reducing the symptoms of basal joint arthritis, including dietary changes, exercise and meditation, along with herbal remedies.

Herbal Remedies

Many herbal remedies are recommended for osteoarthritis at Several are said to have anti-inflammatory properties and include boswellia, devil's claw, ginger, turmeric, celery seed, liquorice and white willow. Cayenne can be used topically to help reduce pain and contains a well-studied ingredient called capsaicin. The warmth also helps increase circulation, providing the joint with nutrients needed for proper health. Devil's claw is considered an analgesic in addition to its anti-inflammatory properties. The site recommends horsetail, which has a silicon content that promotes connective tissue growth and health. Yucca is claimed to provide relief for arthritis pain as well.

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