10 Remedies to Relieve Joint Pain
Whether due to an injury or a chronic medical condition, joint pain can take a toll on your quality of life. You may have trouble sleeping, difficulty with mobility, and deep achy pain that stays with you, even if you take prescription or over-the-counter pain relievers. Aside from surgery or pain management injections, do you have any other options that bring much-needed joint pain relief? These ten non-invasive and non-medicinal remedies may lessen your discomfort and improve joint function and mobility.
Causes of Joint Pain
Treating joint pain may depend on the underlying cause. For example, a sprain or strain from an injury may respond well to rest, elevation, and wrapping to reduce swelling. However, you may need a more comprehensive approach to managing pain when your discomfort is due to an underlying condition and not an injury.
The most common causes of chronic joint pain include osteoarthritis, a degenerative process, rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder, or gout, a specific form of arthritis that typically causes pain and swelling in your big toe. Soft tissue swelling around your joints from bursitis, tendonitis, or other medical conditions may also be the culprit. You may want to have a medical professional determine the source of your joint pain and discover what treatment options they recommend.
Remedies That Work
Surgery is not the only treatment that can provide joint pain relief, especially when more than one joint is to blame. Once you understand your underlying condition, you can decide how to manage or minimize your joint pain while improving your range of motion or mobility. Consider these less invasive ways to reduce your discomfort.
Many patients pursue this route before agreeing to surgical intervention for joint pain. A physical therapist can evaluate your limitations and customize a plan to help strengthen soft tissue around your affected joint while reducing inflammation. You may also receive a routine of therapeutic exercises to perform at home to continue your progress.
Excess weight puts more pressure on your joints and can lead to degeneration over time. Even losing ten percent of your body weight can improve your mobility and decrease pain. Weight loss can also stop further joint damage over time.
Research studies continue to find reasons that smoking is bad for your health, and your lungs are not the only part of your body affected. The nicotine found in tobacco products may lead to joint inflammation, and a correlation exists between smoking and the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
The more you move your body, the better your blood flow. Increased oxygenation and blood flow can lessen inflammation and promote healing. In addition, exercise strengthens muscles that support your joints while improving range of motion and flexibility.
The trick is to find the right kind of exercises that do not worsen your joint pain. Stick with activities that are low impact and do not require lots of bouncing or side-to-side movements. For instance, walking, cycling, and swimming are all easier on your joints than tennis or running.
Your joints can be swollen and stiff, which in turn can create tightness and trigger points in your muscles and other soft tissue. Massage can relax those tight muscles, improve circulation, and decrease inflammation. Some people notice an improvement in their chronic pain and movement with massage techniques, and physical therapists also incorporate massage into their treatment plans.
Another key to reducing inflammation throughout your body is eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Foods that are highly processed or loaded with sugar can worsen inflammation, leading to more joint pain.
Certain nutrients may help your joint health as well. Vitamins C and D, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants, all of which are part of a well-balanced diet, can help your joints from the inside out. Certain supplements can also be effective by keeping your joints lubricated and strengthening your bones.
Do you know that spicy heat that burns your mouth when you eat a chili pepper? You can thank capsaicin for that hot sensation. When added to topical lotions or creams, capsaicin can reduce the response of a pain transmitter from sending a message to your brain.
Unlike medications that reduce inflammation, capsaicin does not actually lessen pain. It just changes your awareness of discomfort, but less pain does mean less stress for your body.
This traditional Chinese medical practice has been helping patients with pain relief for centuries. The use of tiny needles inserted into the skin at strategic points may stimulate nerves and muscles. It also helps with stress reduction and relaxation. The less stress you have, the less you may feel intense pain.
Using ice packs when your joint pain flares up or after an injury can minimize swelling, discomfort, and bruising. Some physical therapists also use ice packs after a session to keep soreness at bay. Unfortunately, cold therapy may not be as effective for chronic pain, especially if you have stiffness in your joints, limiting your range of motion.
Heat and Hot Tub Therapy
The warmth from a heating pad, sauna, or hot tub is soothing and relaxing, but it also provides joint pain relief. Heat treatments boost circulation to reduce swelling in your joints and muscles.
While a heating pad works wonders on a single joint, you may get more benefit from regular soaking in a hot tub for your arthritic pain. You can also perform simple movements in a larger hot tub to work on flexibility and range of motion. The principle is similar to hot yoga, only you remain seated with less pressure on your joints from bearing weight.
Joint Pain Relief From the Comfort of Your Home
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