Joint pain can adversely impact your mobility and well-being. The joint pain gets worse if not treated effectively over time. Some people prefer natural home care remedies for fast joint pain relief over anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers, which may cause side effects.
Here are 9 natural remedies to fight joint pain-
1) Hot and cold therapy for pain relief-
When it comes to joint pain, hot and cold therapy can make a world of difference.
Heat Therapy for pain relief can be applied in the following ways –
1) Apply warm mustard oil or sesame oil with a pinch of turmeric onto the joint. You can use a wrap to keep the mixture in place.
2) Heat 1 liter of water and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Soak the cloth in the water and wrap it around the aching joints.
3) Apply a hot therapeutic gel pack to the affected area for about twenty minutes.
4) To ease stiffness in your joints, take long, warm showers or baths in the morning
5) Use an electric blanket or moist heating pad at night to relax your joints.
You can apply Cold Therapy for pain relief in the following ways –
For quick pain relief, wrap a gel ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to painful joints. Use cold compresses therapy at least thrice a day. If the joints are swollen (due to sudden injury), applying a cold compress to the affected area will relieve the pain.
It is suggested to tape or splints the joint to minimize movement or reduce pain. However, stretch the joint from time to time; otherwise, the joints may become stiff and lose function if kept still for too long.
2) Exercise for joint pain relief-
Exercise regularly to maintain flexibility in your joints. Regular exercise improves blood circulation and helps reduce the pain by preventing weight gain that can add pressure to sore joints. Avoid weight-bearing exercises such as running, hiking, and jogging. Low impact exercises such as swimming, water aerobics, and other aquatic activities are perfect for reducing pain, improving your mobility, and promoting joints’ flexibility without adding further stress on your joints. Aquatic therapy is especially effective for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or lower limbs.
You can also practice yoga to reduce pain, improve joint mobility and muscle flexibility. Regular yoga practice can also reduce stress and anxiety.
The ancient Chinese martial art technique called tai chi is another low-impact way to ease joint pain, increase joints’ flexibility, and strengthen the muscles around the joints. It is especially beneficial for people with osteoarthritis.
Wearing a joint wrap or brace around a painful joint may help as you get started with exercise. Consult your physical therapist for advice about the exercises if required.
3) Healthy food for joint pain relief-
1) Turmeric: The Natural Pain Killer-
Turmeric is a natural pain killer and antiseptic. It is being used as Ayurvedic medicine to relieve pain and speed up digestion.1 tablespoon turmeric mixed with a cup of warm milk eases joint pain when taken at night before sleep. Turmeric contains a substance called ‘curcumin’ which gives it anti-inflammatory properties. It also shields the body from tissue destruction and joint inflammation and also preserves good nerve cell function.
The other ways to include turmeric into your diet include sprinkle turmeric on salad dressings, soups, cooked grains, and vegetables. Suppose you use turmeric as an ingredient while cooking make sure to include black pepper. The ‘piperine’ in black pepper releases curcumin from the turmeric, reducing arthritis and joint pain. Turmeric and black pepper, therefore, always go together.
2) Cherries- The Powerful Antioxidants
Cherries contain the phytonutrient compound called anthocyanins (a powerful antioxidant), giving cherries their rich ruby hue. The antioxidants present in cherries block inflammation and inhibit pain enzymes. Eat a bowl of cherries for breakfast or drink tart cherry juice twice daily to reduce muscle and joint pain.
3) Ginger- The natural aspirin for Migraines, arthritis, and muscles pain
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, and it acts like natural aspirin for migraines, arthritis, joint pain, and sore muscles. It also soothes the stomach and prevents indigestion and nausea. Drinking ginger milk (ginger powder (¼ teaspoon) mixed with a cup of milk) or ginger tea (Place sliced, peeled ginger-root in boiling water for 15 minutes) regularly is the easy way to ease joint and muscle aches. You can also add ginger into dishes, smoothies, and juice. Make tasty ginger lemonade by combining grated ginger root, lemon juice, and honey with ice water.
4) Fishes- Salmon, Herring, Tuna, and Sardines
Fishes like Salmon, Herring, Tuna, and Sardines contain omega-3 fatty acids that reduce joint stiffness, joint swelling, and back pain. Omega-3s interacts with immune cells called leukocytes, and enzymes are known as cytokines, essential for the body’s inflammatory response. Including a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids can relieve joint pain, backaches and improve the overall immune system.
5) Eat Seeds and nuts for joint pain relief
Include flaxseeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds rich in calcium in your diet to relieve joint pain and arthritis. Sunflowers seeds and walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are most beneficial for inflammation. You can introduce all nuts and seeds in your diet by sprinkling them over salad, using them as versatile additions into special dishes, or just as snacks.
6) Grapes for knee pain relief
Grapes are high on antioxidants like polyphenols which help in improving the flexibility of joints and overall mobility. They are beneficial for people suffering from knee pain, especially the ones induced due to symptomatic osteoarthritis. Eat a bowl of grapes during breakfast or include them in a fruit salad.
4) Acupuncture Therapy for joints
In ancient China, acupuncture was used as a medical treatment to fasten the healing process and provide quick pain relief to soldiers injured in war. Acupuncture aims to apply pressure using very fine stainless-steel needles on the body’s 14 major energy-carrying channels, also called “meridians,” to reroute and restore energy balances or ‘chi.’ Scientifically speaking, acupuncture gives pain relief by boosting the endorphins level in our body which in turn reduce the perception of pain. Acupuncture may help reduce joint pain and is worth trying. If you plan to go for acupuncture treatments, make sure to choose a licensed and certified acupuncture therapist.
5) Bath in Epsom Salt and Essential Oils
A time-tested remedy for joints pain and sore muscle is a relaxing bath with Epsom salts and essential oils. Epsom Salt baths lower inflammation, reduce muscle spasms and relax tense areas. Epsom salts are high in magnesium and sulfates and are easily absorbed through the skin to provide quick pain relief. Olive oil and Epsom salt mix are the most common for joint pain relief. Add two cups of Epsom salt and half a cup of olive oil to warm bath water and let it soak for at least twenty minutes. Choose lavender essential oil if stress is worsening an existing condition that causes pain. Other essential oils for arthritis and joint pain include frankincense, myrrh, orange, and turmeric oils.
You can also apply peppermint essential oil and/or eucalyptus oil directly to inflamed and swollen spots. Due to their cooling menthol effects, peppermint and eucalyptus reduce heat, swelling, and discomfort as it absorbs right into your skin.
Epsom salts can be used in a compress to be applied directly to the affected area. Dilute two cups of Epsom salt into one gallon of lukewarm water. Soak your towel and let it absorb the solution for up to ten minutes. Compress the painful area with the soaked towel for pain relief.
6) Get a massage
Regularly massaging aching joints can help reduce pain and stiffness and help improve the range of motion. According to Ayurvedic medical treatment, a massage with a mixture of mustard oil and ground garlic/ garlic paste can give pain relief in joints. You can use essential oils for the massage. You can hire a certified massage therapist or learn to self-massage under the guidance of a physical therapist.
7) Wear Joint Wrap and Braces
Invest in good quality joint supports and wraps for bedtime to support the weakened or injured joint and aid in speedy recovery. Wrapping the joint before going to bed not only decreases swelling and discomfort but also prevents the risk of injuries while you sleep. During the day, wear a joint brace to help you provide extra support for the joint and improve the range of motion.
8) Try P.R.I.C.E
Protect the joint- Wear a brace or joint wrap.
Rest the joint– Avoid activities that put stress on the joints.
Ice- Put ice on the joint for 15 minutes daily.
Compress- Apply pressure on the joint using plastic wrap.
Elevate– Raise the joint above the level of your heart.
9) Avoid joint pain from getting worse-
- Wear comfortable shoes. Avoid long heels.
- Do not stress your joint with sudden physical activity.
- Do light exercise. Stay Active. Do not sit in one position for long hours.
- Keep your diet and weight in check.
- Maintain proper posture while driving, eating, or working.
- Eat calcium and Vitamin D-rich foods.
- Quit smoking and alcohol
- Avoid mental stress
Remember to consult your doctor or physical therapist before trying the treatments. This will help you heal faster and help you regain your quality of life.
Dr. Haseena Hamdani, MBBS, DGO, PGD Endocrinology and Diabetes (USW) is a Gynaecologist, currently practicing in Gaborone, Botswana since the last 17 years. Prior to setting up this clinic she worked in India as well as in Zambia, as a Gynaecologist and Obstetrician and was also associated with an Infertility center. She is also an online tutor for the University of South Wales.