With over 350 million people worldwide suffering from joint pain, it’s a common and potentially debilitating condition. The most common form of joint pain is arthritis and it can attack not only elderly people but children as well. Just to name a few parts of the body impacted by this disorder, arthritis affects the knees, hands, hips, and spine. Common symptoms of arthritis and joint pain include inflammation, redness, stiffness and warmth. Although medications are available for treating joint pain, there are several other treatment options to consider.
Chinese medicine is known for creating non-traditional ways of treating common ailments and acupuncture is just one example of these methods. Acupuncture involves puncturing the skin with thin needles. These needles are inserted into specific parts of the body and are believed to restore energy and create balance. Acupuncture is believed to offer pain relief for those individuals suffering from arthritis. Properly placed needles near the spine can send signals to the brain that release neurotransmitters (endorphins) which could help reduce the feeling of pain and discomfort. The insertion of these needles can also help in improving the body’s production of cortisol, known to help reduce inflammation. Although acupuncture is not a proven form of treatment, millions of people swear by this ancient form of Chinese medicine.
Massage or Chiropractic Care
There are countless benefits to both massage therapy and chiropractic care and relieving joint pain is just one. Massage therapists use different levels of pressure to help release the tension found in tight muscles throughout the body. It is the manual manipulation of soft body tissues, including tendons and muscles. For arthritis sufferers, even mild pressure from a massage can help reduce pain and stiffness. Chiropractic care is based on the belief that the body functions best when the musculoskeletal system is in proper alignment. This is achieved through manual manipulation. Chiropractic care can help reduce inflammation and provide pain relief by adjusting different parts of the body and relieving pressure.
Exercise and Weight Loss
One of the most common causes of joint pain and inflammation is excessive weight and pressure placed on these areas of the body, specifically the hips, back, and knees. Losing weight is a great first step in reducing joint pain. If you drop a few pounds, not only will you experience pain relief, but you may actually prevent further damage to your joints and improve mobility. Another way of keeping things moving and reduce discomfort is by incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine. Although this may seem difficult since arthritis causes pain, making exercise difficult, the more you do it, the better you’ll feel and the looser your joints will become. Exercise helps improving the flexibility in your joints but it’s best to opt for low-impact activities such as swimming, which place less pressure on your joints than other workouts, including walking and jogging.
Fish oil supplements aren’t the only supplements that can help combat arthritis pain and discomfort. Herbal supplements offer pain relief and anti-inflammatory benefits, making them perfect for reducing joint pain. Some of the most common herbal supplements include:
- Devil’s claw
- Stinging nettle
- Thunder god vine
Gingko is said to increase blood flow in the body, improving circulation and reducing inflammation and discomfort. Boswellia can help prevent cartilage loss, stopping arthritis from getting worse and causing further damage to joints in the body. Many other herbal supplements also have anti-inflammatory properties. Supplements can be taken orally and many are found in teas.
Change Your Diet
Although an improved diet goes hand-in-hand with exercise and weight loss, there are actually specific foods that are proven to help reduce the pain and discomfort caused by joint pain and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are an important part of anyone’s diet. They help maintain healthy blood pressure levels and prevent heart disease. But these fatty acids are also said to help reduce joint pain and stiffness, caused by arthritis. Fish oil supplements are a great source of omega-3s. Turmeric is a yellow spice found in many Indian dishes that offers anti-inflammatory benefits. The main ingredient is a chemical known as curcumin, which also provides important antioxidants for overall health.
There are many foods that can help with arthritis pain and inflammation. Some of these include:
- Broccoli/Green beans
- Olive Oil
Incorporating these foods into your diet can also help with weight loss and overall health and well-being.
Physical therapy is a common recommendation for arthritis sufferers. Similar to the exercise, physical therapy offers increased mobility and flexibility for those patients with stiffness and pain in their joints. Depending on what area of the body is affected, different physical therapy exercises may be used. Stretches include single knee stretches, hamstring stretches, and even tightening and releasing a fist can help with stiffness in the hands and wrists. Some of these stretches can also be performed at home, offering continued care and relief. But physical therapy isn’t the only form of therapy that can help reduce arthritis pain and improve mobility.
Research shows that stem cell therapy may actually offer benefits for arthritis sufferers as well. Stem cells are unique because not only can they duplicate themselves, but they may also develop into new, different types of cells in the body. So what does this have to do with arthritis pain? It’s believed that stem cells placed in specific parts of the body, like near damaged cartilage that causes joint pain, can actually develop into new cartilage tissues, repairing the damaged tissue. Stem cells are actually injected directly into the arthritis joint. Although this method of treating joint pain is not proven or popular, as of yet, research shows it may be a practical approach.
Arthritis is a common condition caused by an injury or infection in the joints. If you have a family history of arthritis, your chances for developing this condition are higher. But it’s important to note that medication isn’t your only option for treating arthritis and joint pain. Discuss these alternatives with your doctor.
Article Submitted By Community Writer