Home remedies have long been used to combat ailments as an alternative to traditional medicine. While medical attention may ultimately be the best route, many people prefer to try natural methods first to avoid prescription medicine or surgery if possible. In some cases, natural treatment involving lifestyle changes that encourage healthier habits can have a positive impact on those living with medical conditions.
One such condition is vascular claudication, a pain in the legs felt most often while walking or exercising due to poor blood flow to the muscles. It is a symptom of peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition where plaque builds up in the body, narrowing the artery. This makes it more difficult for blood to flow through that area, causing pain or weakness of that body part.
If claudication becomes a regular occurrence, you should check with your doctor to rule out other serious, potentially life-threatening conditions. However, you can make some lifestyle changes to reduce your level of pain and adopt healthier habits that have a myriad benefits. Here are three home remedies for claudication that can help you reduce your leg pain without surgery.
Smoking is a significant risk factor for peripheral artery disease. Smoking accelerates the hardening of arteries, which intensifies claudication. Cigarette smoke also hinders the development of collateral vessels, which help blood get around a blockage. Smoking reduces your physical endurance due to the decrease in oxygen, and exercise is key to combating claudication.
While exercise causes leg pain, it can ultimately help treat the problem of claudication if done right. Light exercise that does not strain or overstimulate the muscles can help oxygenate the blood to increase blood flow by means of collateral blood vessels. Start off slowly, walking to the point at which the calf cramps prevent you from walking further and rest a few until the discomfort resolves. Start walking again, repeating this process for 30 minutes at a time, for at least three times per week. Over time, you will notice your ability to walk longer with reduced pain.
3. Lower cholesterol, which contributes to atherosclerosis
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in the blood that can build up in the arteries and contribute to the blockage that causes claudication. High levels of cholesterol cause blood flow to the heart to slow down. If your heart cannot get enough of an oxygen-rich blood supply, this could trigger a heart attack. Be sure to know what your cholesterol levels are and if they are too high, work with your healthcare provider to come up with a plan to bring those numbers down.
To learn more about natural treatment for claudication and how to manage your leg pain, check out our guide, Understanding Leg Pain Caused by Restricted Arteries.