Many people suffer regularly from joint pain — and for a variety of reasons. Arthritis, injury or strain from exercise and overuse, and a host of conditions associated with the normal aging process can contribute to joint pain that ranges from mildly uncomfortable to severely debilitating.
In addition to regular check-ups by your healthcare professional, there is a lot you can do at home to naturally reduce or eliminate many of these aches and pains.
Choose Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Because joint pain is caused by inflammation, adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet is a great way to reduce it. While foods high in added sugar and saturated fat can cause inflammation, the opposite is also true. Choosing the right foods can keep inflammation at a minimum and help you manage joint pain. There are many, many foods that naturally stave off inflammation, but a few suggestions include:
- whole grains instead of refined, white bread, pastas and cereals
- dark, leafy greens like spinach, broccoli and kale
- all kinds of nuts, especially almonds and walnuts.
- inflammation fighting spices like ginger and turmeric can be included in recipes and tea
- olive oil, garlic and onion
Rub Out Pain
Gentle massage to affected areas can do wonders for pain relief, and when using a natural massage lubricant, the process will be more comfortable and benefits can be multiplied. Try a therapeutic grade mixture of Eucalyptus and Peppermint essential oils combined with a carrier oil to help relieve achy joints. Carrier oils like organic olive, almond, coconut, and jojoba oils simply allow the oils to spread more easily onto the skin, but also contain their own benefits. Cold-pressed olive oil and almond oil are particularly good for their anti-inflammatory benefits and EVOO is said to inhibit inflammatory enzymes much the way NSAIDs like Ibuprofen or aspirin do.
Many chronic joint pain sufferers don’t know that drinking more water can help reduce pain associated with some conditions. By softening cartilage and keeping it hydrated, water helps maintain adequate blood volume, allowing nutrients to move more easily through the blood to the joints, and waste away from joints.
Work it Out
Exercising is often the last thing someone with joint pain feels like doing, but there are many reasons to keep those achy joints in motion. Mild exercise is helpful in weight management, which has obvious effects on painful joints, and it helps keep those joints lubricated, preventing them from getting stiff and exacerbating pain. Exercise doesn’t have to be rigorous, and often times, shouldn’t be. A daily walk or regular yoga-style stretching routine can suffice.
Soak up Pain Relief
Magnesium is known for relaxing muscles, easing pain and helping bones to mineralize, but our bodies don’t make this mineral naturally. Magnify your body’s magnesium levels by eating foods rich in this valuable mineral or considering magnesium supplements, and soak painful joints regularly in Epsom salts. Now available in a variety of soothing scents — lavender, eucalyptus, lemon — Epsom salts added to a warm bath can be a very relaxing way to find pain relief.
Most of these suggestions are good components of a healthy lifestyle whether or not joint pain is present — they just happen to have the added benefit of potentially offering relief from achy joints. Another avenue to consider is acupuncture, a modality that has grown in population for pain relief of all kinds, and has had proven success in managing joint pain from injury or arthritis. Do your own research and see which methods work for you.