We often take the ability to move about freely for granted until joint pain flares up. When your daily life is constantly interrupted by sore wrists and creaky knees, finding fast relief is a top priority. Popping a pain reliever can make the pain bearable and help you power through the day, but relying on them is not great for your health, and ultimately only masks the root problem. Luckily, there are several, drug-free options to find pain relief from irritated joints and even help determine what the root cause of your issues could be.
1. Take supplements
This seems like the obvious step, but if you haven’t tried a supplement for chronic joint pain—get on that! Glucosamine and chondroitin are incredibly popular for treating pain and swelling associated with joint pain and comes without any known risks. Omega-3 fatty acids are also helpful in preventing and easing joint pain, which is why many people take fish oil supplements regularly. If you’re vegetarian or not into the fishy aftertaste, consider alternatives like flaxseeds, chia seeds or supplements derived from algae.
While there’s not much scientific proof that acupuncture directly improves joint pain, a 2013 review showed some evidence that this alternative treatment can alleviate pain, swelling and stiffness. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that aims to balance the energy in the body to help address a range of disorders and encourage pain relief. It’s an excellent wellness practice that can do many things for your overall health, even if your joints are not directly improved as a result.
3. Go swimming!
Swimming uses strengthening movements and helps develop flexibility without the high-impact that can irritate and worsen joint pain. Studies show that not only does swimming prevent further damage to joints that high-impact exercises can bring, but can actually improve your joints by strengthing them without irritation.
4. Take up a Tai Chi practice
Similar to the rationale behind swimming, Tai Chi is a great way to strengthen muscles around your joints without the high-impact of other physical activities. A Tai Chi practice can actually expand your range of motion to improve flexibility in the joints and aiding pain relief.
5. Anti-inflammatory diet
Keeping a diet rich in Omega-3s and anti-inflammatory foods can be a great way to find pain relief. While this is not an immediate solution to the problem, eating an anti-inflammatory diet can help address the root cause of inflammation in the body instead of acting as a band-aid. Foods like fish, green leafy veggies, and turmeric tea are excellent staples to an anti-inflammatory diet.
Finding an ability to deal with your thoughts and feelings regarding pain is a crucial step to finding relief that not many are willing to take. The idea of facing your pain can be intimidating, but making the choice to be mindful and practice acceptance can change the way we feel about it. If we can increase our pain tolerance, the more willing we might be to take additional steps towards healing. Using meditation to relax and reduce stress can have a diminishing effect on inflammation and swelling as well.
7. Get up and move throughout the day
There are more benefits to exercise than just weight loss! Regular movement helps maintain flexibility in your joints—preventing and easing joint pain. Like I mentioned earlier, try low impact exercises like swimming, or gentle practices like Tai Chi to keep your joints flexible and strong. If you work in an office and can’t jump in a pool midday, making time to get up and walk around a bit is better than sitting still!
When it comes to joint pain, over the counter pain relievers will mask the pain, but will not address or help treat the root cause. Have you tried any of these natural remedies? What are some of your go-to joint pain relief techniques?