Few of us make it through life without a few achy joints. More than one in five Americans have experienced joint pain, according to the latest data from the Center for Disease Control. Arthritis (joint inflammation) is the most common cause of joint pain. While the condition starts to form early in life, most cases present and become severe in old age.
Today there are hundreds of types of arthritis; the most common type is Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as a series of degenerative joint diseases. The condition affects the joint cartilage that covers the ends of the bone where the joints meet. In Osteoarthritis, the joint cartilage breaks down, and joint bones painfully rub against each other. In reaction to this, the bones grow “spurs,” limiting movement and increasing pain.
If you’ve ever experienced joint pain, you’re likely wondering what you can do to resolve it, and how people go on to live healthy, happy lives despite it. Here’s everything you need to know about living with and resolving joint pain:
How Does Arthritis Feel?
If you suffer from OA, you know it’s no fun to go through the day with.
The condition mainly affects the knees, feet, fingers and hip joints. Arthritis pain and stiffness are typically worst in the morning and improve with activity.
Most adults rely on painkillers such as Aspirin to manage joint pains. The most common treatment of Osteoarthritis is over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Such medication includes ibuprofen, naproxen, prescription NSAIDs, and acetaminophen. In cases of severe pain, opioids such as hydrocodone (Vicodin) are prescribed.
Rheumatoid arthritis is another common type of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, where the immune system attacks bodily tissues; in this case, the joint lining. The condition may affect other organs, too. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include fatigue, weight loss and redness, warmth, stiffness, pain, and swelling of the affected joints.
The most common joint affected by RA is the feet, ankle, knees, wrist, hands, and elbows. RA treatment involves various medications that slow or arrest the condition. Early diagnosis and treatment is highly recommended since the condition can be slowed considerably when it’s detected early.
No matter what kind of arthritis or joint pain you’re suffering from, there are some excellent natural remedies (including great chiropractic care) that have been proven to help relieve symptoms of joint pain.
What are your Treatment Options for Joint Pain?
Treatment and management depend on the severity of your symptoms. If your pain is minor, you might choose to cope through OTC medications and regular activity. On the other hand, you may decide to take more aggressive actions to reduce pain and promote normalcy.
With arthritis pain, the sensation is different for everyone. Some people experience sharp pain as they try to move, making it difficult to undertake a simple task such as carrying groceries. Others only experience symptoms now and then. Whatever form your joint pain takes, it’s smart to try several natural treatments, including a combination of supplements, salt baths, chiropractic care, diet changes, and simple exercises that ease swelling and inflammation.
Common Causes of Joint Pain
Potential causes of joint pain include old age, arthritis, osteoarthritis, joint overuse due to performing repetitive movements, poor posture, injuries impact or trauma, inactivity or sedentary lifestyle, an autoimmune disorder, and in rare cases infection or illness.
What’s the Connection Between Acidity and Joint Pain?
Pain cannot exist without acidity, and acidity can’t be present without pain. The human body requires a balance between acidity and alkalinity to function well. Most Americans tend to become overly acidic due to stress and overconsumption of processed foods, sodas, sugars, and red meat; acidity causes inflammation while alkalinity reduces it.
Excess acidity causes increased amounts of calcium, mineral and acid toxin to be deposited in the joints, causing pain and swelling. In the long run, this leads to joint pain and arthritis. Reduce sources of acid and increase intake of alkalizing foods and drinks to restore a healthy PH level.
The Role of Inflammation in Joint Pain
Most people think inflammation as hot, red and swelling that comes as a reaction to overexertion or an injury. Chronic systemic inflammation is the underlying cause of a long list of seemingly unrelated, an age-related condition such as atherosclerosis and arthritis.
Bear in mind that some inflammation is normal. A strong immune system will trigger the inflammatory response to deal with injury or infection, but our lifestyle and poor dietary choices cause inflammation to go off the rails, which challenges regeneration and repair and causes gradual tissue tears in critical areas like the joint.
4 Intelligent Treatments for Joint Pain
Treatment of joint pain depends on how severe the symptoms become. Even if you choose to use medication to manage the symptom, your doctor will likely recommend lifestyle changes to prevent the condition from getting worse.
If your symptoms are as a result of acute joint pain caused by an injury, taking over-the-counter painkillers is highly recommended as you heal.
When pain is ongoing due to a chronic joint condition, your doctor may prescribe a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). In most cases, the medication should be approached as a last result, since they can cause side effects like gastrointestinal bleeding, loss of bone density, indigestion, interactions with other drugs, and even addiction.
To avoid such side effect, opt for natural remedies like Epsom salt soaks, hot and cold packs, movement and exercise, and, if appropriate, weight loss, diet modifications, collagen & other helpful supplements.
Here are a few options you may want to try now:
1. Supplements to Ease Joint Pain
Supplements offer a powerful, safe way to ease symptoms and promote joint healing. Multiple studies show that natural remedies can be more effective than their medical counterparts. Natural remedies, unlike conventional medication, tend to give side benefits instead of side effects.
The best supplement for joint pain include:
- Turmeric. This herb contains curcumin – an active ingredient that reduces inflammation. Curcumin downregulates the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme, the same way NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen do.
- Comfrey. The Comfrey cream works best for ankle sprains and similar injury-related joint pain, and offer the added benefit of stimulating tissue repair. It’s one of the best joint remedies for joint pain resulting from osteoarthritis, as well. Most patients get better faster when comfrey cream is combined with an oral curcumin supplement.
- Collagen. Collagen is found in connective tissues. Collagen supplements improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and other joint problems.
- Andrographis. This supplement has a long history of use in both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. It has immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory powers and offers potential healing for those with rheumatoid arthritis.
Other supplements used to treat joint pain include Proteolytic Enzymes, Essential Fatty Acids, Electrolytes (like potassium and sodium), Calcium & Vitamin D, Vitamin D, and Glucosamine.
2. Lose Weight and Change Your Diet
Being obese or overweight puts an unnecessary amount of strain on your joints and bones. Being overweight actually accelerates bone degeneration. Because of this, shedding a few pounds can reduce joint pain and prevent future problems. If you’ve been overweight or obese, losing even 5-10 percent of your total body weight to improve joint pain symptoms.
Another way to protect yourself from long-term joint pain is to change your diet. Chronic inflammation in the body causes weakness, which leads to tissue degeneration. Because of this, eating an anti-inflammatory diet is one of the best ways to keep joint inflammation down.
Another great addition to your diet is an Omega-3 supplement. Omega-3 fatty acids lower inflammation in the body. With this in mind, include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. These foods are rich in antioxidants and can slow the aging process. Additionally, limit your intake of processed foods, trans-fats and added sugar, as these are the main causes of inflammation in the body.
3. Use Salt Soak and Hot and Cold Packs
Epsom salt baths have been used for years to treat muscle and joint pain. The salt is high in magnesium and sulfates and is readily absorbed in the skin, which provides quick relief by lowering inflammation, reducing muscle spasm, and relaxing the affected area.
Prepare the salt bath by adding two cups of salt to warm water. Soak for at least 20 minutes. You can also add essential oils to the Epsom salt bath such as lavender and peppermint, which promotes increased healing. Hot and cold packs can also help alleviate pain in acute areas.
4. Get Enough Movement & Exercise
Too little exercise causes stiff muscle that can lead to joint pain in the body and worsen conditions such as arthritis. The tension in the leg muscles, for example, increases stress on the knees and hips. Weak muscles contribute to instability and create a higher risk for injuries and compensations.
Regular exercise, however, helps to strengthen and stretch the affected areas and improve blood circulation that reduces pain. The best exercises for people with joint pain include swimming, water aerobics, cycling, walking, and yoga.
If you find that there are certain areas of your body where your mobility is very limited, seeing a chiropractor is a great option. Through manual adjustments, chiropractors can help restore mobility and make it easier to maintain that active lifestyle you want.
Don’t Live in Pain – Seek out Natural Options
If you use conventional joint pain medications, there’s a massive potential for harmful side effects. Natural remedies, on the other hand, improve your health in multiple ways! Simple things like dietary adjustments, great chiropractic care, Epsom salt baths, and plenty of activity can take you from a world of hurt to a comfortable and active life.
Ready to start down your path to wellness? Contact our team to learn more about how we can help you resolve joint pain today!