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The Best Natural Remedies for Joint Pain Relief E-mail
Written by Jeff Behar   

As we all know, many of our elders are very much affected by joint and muscle pain these days. It is also a surprising fact that the number of younger people are also experiencing chronic joint pains which effect their quality of life Although today there is a wide range of medicinal assistance readily available, the best pain relief solution is to first try a natural joint pain relief method.

Exercise

The best conventional treatment for joint pain, such as osteo­arthritis generally involves prescribed exercises to keep the joints flexible, encourage nourishment of the cartilage, and strengthen the surrounding tissues; joint protection, often based on the suggestions of a physical or occupational therapist, to limit further damage; and, when necessary, both drug and non drug measures to ease discomfort and decrease stiffness.

It is the movement of a joint that forces oxygen and nutrients into the cartilage and removes waste products, thus helping to keep the cartilage healthy. When the pain and stiffness sets in, however, moving the affected joint is the last thing on many peoples' minds.

Range-of-motion Exercises

Range-of-motion exercises are used to put a joint through the full range of its natural motion without excessive stress. They are essential to any treatment plan for joint stiffness such as osteoarthritis. Your doctor or a physical therapist can show you appropriate exercises.

Reflexology

To help relieve pain in a joint, reflexology may prove helpful. The ancient healing art of reflexology has been known to man for many thousands of years.
It was first practiced by the early Indian, Chinese and Egyptian peoples.

Reflexology is the application of pressure using thumb and fingers on reflex points in the feet and hands to stimulate a physiological change in the body. IT IS NOT A MASSAGE!  If a body part is not functioning correctly, uric acid, calcium and mineral deposits may accumulate in the reflexes, impeding energy flow and circulation. A skilled, professional Reflexologist can assist in breaking down and dispersing these deposits, helping to restore the body to better health.

Weight Management

Losing excess weight, and eating a nutritionally balanced diet often can help diminish inflammatory actions.

Diet

Food choices can help greatly. For example: diary products, citrus fruits along with meat category such as meat, pork and lamb, alcohol and vegetable oil when avoided helps to prevent joint pain caused by such foods that provide inflammation.

Water

Water is extremely important to the joints. Because the synovial fluid contains water, if you become dehydrated less synovial fluid is available to protect the joints. Synovial Fluid is a fluid in the body that reduces friction between the articular cartilage in joints to lubricate and cushion them during movement.     Failure to keep yourself hydrated will play havoc on your joints. Remember, by the time you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. Once dehydrated endurance is diminished, strength can drop, and the effect can last into the following day(s). Instead of relying on a thirst signal, drink water at regular intervals regardless if you're thirsty or not to help maintain your overall health, including your joint health!.

Hydrotherapy (e.g., hot/cold water treatment, hot/cold compresses

Additional measures to help ease the joint pain and stiffness include heat and cold treatments. Simple hot or cold water treatments are easy ways to soothe joint pain.  To relieve stiffness and dull, penetrating pain, warm (not hot) compress applied directly to the affected area is the best option. For sharper, more intense pain, a cold compress or an ice pack wrapped in a plastic bag and placed over a towel on the skin for 10 to 20 minutes, and repeat every four hours as needed is a standard successful treatment plan. never apply a cold treatment for more than 20 minutes at a time, or you’ll risk damaging your skin.

Hot showers or baths or heating pads may also help by improving flexibility, especially before exercise or other physical activity.

Natural Supplements

There have been several studies showing potential benefits of dietary  supplements for treating osteoarthritis. Potential treatment options may include:
  • Glucosamine sulfate. Glucosamine sulfate is one natural substance that has been shown useful for osteoarthritis pain relief.
  • Chondrotin. One of the most popular remedies you can use at home is chondrotin. Many scientists have made study of this natural product and found it to improve the way your bones are protected from impact. Many people begin to have problems with arthritis when the cartilage in their bodies wears away due to age. Taking a regular chondrotin supplement can help conduct more fluid into your cartilage, helping it to take the shock of simple impacts on a daily basis. You can find more information on chondrotin in many of the other articles on our website. You may also find a few places to purchase it if your local drug store does not carry it with their regular supplies.
  • MSM, methylsulfonylmethane. MSM provides sulfur, a vital building block of joints, cartilage, skin, hair and nails, and methyl groups, which support many vital biochemical processes in the body, including energy production. MSM is a naturally-occurring nutrient found in small amounts of many foods. As a dietary supplement, MSM is synthesized. When made correctly, it is identical to that found in nature. MSM can be taken alone or in combination with other joint health supplements, such as glucosamine and chondroitin.Published, peer-reviewed clinical research in the U.S. has shown MSM is safe and effective in increasing joint comfort and supporting a normal range of motion.
  • Vitamins B9 (folate) and B12 (cobalamin). Both taken in large doses significantly reduced osteoarthritis hand pain, presumably by reducing systemic inflammation. B vitamins also balance the nervous system, reducing pain.
  • Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has been reported in patients with osteoarthritis, and supplementation with Vitamin D3 is recommended for pain relief.
  • Vitamin C. itamin C is an anti oxidant that also helps promote healing, calcium builds stronger bones and the B vitamins balance the nervous system, reducing pain.
  • Calcium. Calcium builds stronger bones. 
  • Vitamin/Mineral combination therapies. Some People with joint pain may get relief from the following daily nutrient intakes: 5,000 milligrams of vitamin C, 800 to 1,400 milligrams of calcium and a B-complex supplement containing the six important B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B 6, vitamin B12 and pantothenic acid). Vitamin C is an anti oxidant that also helps promote healing, calcium builds stronger bones and the B vitamins balance the nervous system, reducing pain.
  • Antioxidants, including Vitamins C and E. Antioxidants, including Vitamins C and E in both foods and supplements, has shown in studies to provide pain relief from osteoarthritis.# Pycnogenol.  A new study to be published in the April 2008 edition (Volume 22, issue No 4) of the journal of Phytotherapy Research shows Pycnogenol (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, was shown to reduce all osteoarthritis symptoms by 56 percent. The study revealed a particularly high efficacy of Pycnogenol for lowering joint pain by 55 percent. Moreover, patients required dramatically less standard pain medication (-58 percent), which greatly improved the gastrointestinal complications resulting from the pain medication by 63 percent. In addition to the osteoarthritis results, 76 percent of the patients in the Pycnogenol group and 79 percent in the placebo group showed visible ankle and foot edema at inclusion of the study.  After the three months, edema decreased in 79 percent of the Pycnogenol patients and only one percent in placebo-treated patients. A even larger more detailed study on osteoarthritis  carried out at the University of Arizona Tucson (published in Nutrition Research) prior to this study had discovered that Pycnogenol was effective for improving pain and joint function. After three months in the Pycnogenol group, there was a reduction of 43 percent in pain, 35 percent in stiffness, 52 percent in physical function subscales, respectively. The placebo group showed no significant scores throughout the entire study. Based on the studies the benefits of Pycnogenol for arthritic joints are suggested to result predominantly from the anti-inflammatory potency of Pycnogenol. There are more breakthrough studies on Pycnogenol and osteoarthritis expected to be published next year allowing for development of innovative, natural formulas for joint health.
  • Selenium.  Selenium deficiency has been correlated with a higher risk and severity of osteoarthritis.
  • Boswellia.  Boswellia is an herbal supplement in Ayurvedic medicine also know as Indian frankincense, salai guggal, and boswellin. The proper botanic label for boswellia is Boswellia serrata. It is derived from the resin of the bark of the Boswellia tree. While it grows in other parts of Southeast Asia, it is found abundantly found in the Indian subcontinent. The condition for which boaswellia has had the most supporting evidence for a beneficial effect is arthritis. The most convincing study was published in 2003 (Phytomedicine. 2003 Jan;10(1):3-7) when a research study examined  patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Half of the patients received daily supplementation with 333 mgs of Boswellia. The other half received placebo. After the first intervention, washout was given and then the groups were crossed over to receive the opposite intervention for eight weeks. All patients receiving boswellia reported decrease in knee pain, increased knee flexion and increased walking distance. The frequency of swelling in the knee joint was decreased. Radiologically there was no change. The observed differences between drug treated and placebo being statistically significant, are clinically relevant. The conclusions of the study  were: “Boswellia serrata extract is recommended in the patients of osteoarthritis of the knee with possible therapeutic use in other arthritis.” Other studies have demonstrated anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Diseases that have been studied where good results have been reported include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and bursitis.
  • Ginger (rhizome) extract. Ginger has shown in some studies to improve knee osteoarthritis symptoms moderately.
  • Hydrolyzed collagen (hydrolysate). Hydrolized collage (a gelatin product) may also prove beneficial in the relief of osteoarthritis symptoms, as substantiated in a German study by Beuker F. et al. and Seeligmuller et al. In their 6-month placebo-controlled study of 100 elderly patients, the verum group showed significant improvement in joint mobility.# Omega-3 fatty acid, a vitamin supplement comprised of important oils derived from fish has shown to benefit bone health. In fact, recent studies have shown that plant-based omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) contained in such foods as flaxseed and walnuts may have a protective effect on bone health, according to a team of Penn State researchers who carried out the first controlled diet study of these fatty acids.
  • Oil Herbal Remedies. An herbal remedy includes ingredients such as boswellia, ashwagandha, ginger, menthol and camphor. All this tends to give a natural way of immune system modulation. Generally the oil when rubbed over the pain zone provides good result by improving the blood circulation and giving a warm and relaxing sensation from pain. Where as medicines and syrups have to be continued with the adjoin diet suggested. This gradually leads to comfortable movements of joints and muscles. Additional  natural joint pain relief action includes ayurvedic medicines, capsules, syrups, medicated artho oil etc.

Other Natural Approaches

  • Electrical stimulation
  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure, etc.

Non Prescriptive Medications

If these measures don't give adequate pain relief, your doctor may recommend medication. Most often, it will be acetaminophen or a non­steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Some NSAIDs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium, are available over the counter. 

These medications can be quite effective in relieving joint pain. As with many other drugs, however, they can have some uncomfortable and even dangerous side effects, especially if you must take them on an ongoing basis.

Aspirin and other NSAIDs, for example, may irritate the stomach lining and cause severe internal bleeding in some people. Taken in large amounts over the long term, they can also cause kidney and liver damage. Some research even suggests that these drugs may actually inhibit cartilage repair and increase the progression of the disease.

About Arthritis and Osteoarthritis

The term arthritis is used to describe inflammation and pain in a joint. There are many types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis (osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis, degenerative joint disease), is a condition in which low-grade inflammation results in pain in the joints, caused by abnormal wearing of the cartilage that covers and acts as a cushion inside joints and destruction or decrease of synovial fluid that lubricates those joints. As the bone surfaces become less well protected by cartilage,  pain is experienced upon weight bearing, including walking and standing.

Osteoarthritis (OA), or degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis.  It may also occur in joints that have suffered previous injury, been subjected to prolonged heavy use, or damaged by prior infection or inflammatory arthritis. Nearly 70 percent of people over the age of 70 have x-ray evidence of the disease, but only half of these people ever develop symptoms. Due to decreased movement because of the pain, regional muscles may atrophy, and  ligaments may become more lax. Arthritis is considered an autoimmune disease, where the body attacks itself (i.e. allergies).

Health Impact

  • OA is the most common type of arthritis
  • OA affects more than 21 million Americans.
  • OA is a leading cause of disability in the U.S.
  • Virtually everyone over the age of 75 is affected in at least one joint
  • OA most often affects middle-aged and older people, involving the neck, lower back, knees, hips and fingers.
  • Women are generally affected at a younger age than men.
  • Patients with OA experience pain and loss of function. OA results from degeneration of the joint cartilage. The causes of cartilage loss are multiple. Some kinds of OA are known to be hereditary, including the common form that causes enlargement of the knuckles.

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