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Joints are the reason why we can move easily. Bones, muscles, and ligaments, all work together and provide a full range of motion. Joints in our body are easily prone to pain. Being over weight, injuries from sports or accidents, overuse, and strain are common causes of joint pain. Joint pain, therefore will restrict the motion to some or a larger extent. It is therefore necessary to treat it to the best of your capabilities.
Causes of Joint Pain:
Some common causes for joint pain are:
- Autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis
- Being over-weight
- Sedentary life-style
- Over-use due to repeated movement
- Sitting and standing in wrong posture
- Old age
Remedies for Joint Pain Relief
1. Cold compression
Using ice bags or bags of frozen vegetables (especially peas as their small size helps them to easily align with the surface of the joint) is a go-to tip for joint pain. Using ice is called cryotherapy. The ice helps to reduce inflammation around the joints by reducing the blood flow in that area. It can also reduce nerve activity briefly and relieve pain. Wrap a compression bandage for swelling but do not restrict the blood flow completely. If the pain is in the knee or ankle, keep the joint elevated.
2. Hot bag
Instead of using using an ice bag, you can also use a hot bag or pack. Keep a hot bag on the affected joint for at least twenty minutes. Make sure that the bag is not so hot that it burns the skin. You should keep a towel or a thick cloth between the skin and the hot bag if your skin is very sensitive or the bag is too hot.
Turmeric is the Indian aspirin. This spice has a similar mechanism of action against pain as that of aspirin or ibuprofen. Certain enzymes like COX2 enzymes produce prostaglandins which are responsible for pain and swelling. Turmeric down-regulates these enzymes just like these pain killers. This helps in reducing swelling and pain. Joints feel less painful and stiffness fades away. Turmeric should be avoided if you suffer from gall stones. Turmeric can be added in coconut milk (also called golden milk) and consumed in required amounts.
4. Epsom salt baths
Epsomite is the natural mineral salt of magnesium sulfate. Epsom salt can reduce inflammation as they can quickly get absorbed in the skin and relieve swelling and muscle tension. It has been used for hundreds of years to ease all kinds of aches and pains. 2 cups of epsom salt in bathwater and soaking for at least 20 minutes can have a relaxing effect on muscle and joint pain. Epsom breaks down into magnesium and sulfate that help relieve stiff joints and muscles. Depending on the reason of the pain, you can add essential oils to your bath. For example; add lavender oil for stress induced pain and peppermint oil for swelling.
5. Herbal Salve
A salve made from ginger, cinnamon, mastic and sesame oil when applied on the joints, relaxed joint pain to a great extent. This ointment works in the same way as many salicylate creams for osteoarthritis. Ginger helps in arthritis joint pain, muscle pain while cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties which will reduce swelling. 3 table spoons ginger and cinnamon powder and 2 table spoons mastic and sesame oil will make a paste. This paste is to be applied on the painful area and wrap a bandage or warm cloth around it.
Lemon juice has citric acid. This can dissolve the uric acid crystals that are formed in the joints and cause joint pain. Drinking Lemonade or Lemon juice first thing in the morning (on an empty) stomach can work wonders. This should be done daily if you suffer from frequent joint pain. Another way of using lemon is with sesame oil. Cut a lemon into thin slices and keep them in a cheese-cloth (muslin). Dip this in sesame oil and apply on joints for few minutes before washing it off.
7. Apple Cider vinegar
Apple Cider is a great detoxifying agent. It will detoxify and alkalize the joints to keep them lubricated. Mix 2 table spoons of apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of water and drink on an empty stomach. This should be done till the pain goes away. If you don’t like the taste, you can mix apple cider vinegar with olive oil and apply on the joints. Wrapping a bandage around will keep the joint warm and the effect will be maximal.
8. Indian Kaadha
Kaadhas are usually made by adding herbs and spices to water and then heating or boiling it. Turmeric has cucurmin and ginger has gingerol, both help in reducing swelling and pain. Take 1 table spoon of each, freshly powdered turmeric and freshly grated ginger in a cup of water. Heat it for 5-10 minutes on medium flame. Add a pinch of black pepper and a few drops of honey and let it cool down. Drink a cup everyday for normal pain and two for serious pain.
9. Ginger and Ginger Tea
Ginger works by removing pain causing chemicals in the body. You can use freshly grated ginger (slightly cooked or raw), dry powdered ginger liberally in your food. Not only does it taste good, it is great for cold sores, hoarse throats and joint pain as well. Ginger tea can be made by boiling ginger slices in water and then filtering it through a sieve. Add lemon drops to improve the taste. You can also use tea bags from market.
10. Vitamin C
Vitamin C curbs the harmful free radicals out of the body. Destructive free radicals also cause joint pain. Our body doesn’t store Vitamin C, it utilizes it directly from the blood stream. So its important to consume it on daily basis in huge amounts. Vitamin C is naturally found in many fruits like oranges, lemons, strawberries, mangoes and vegetables like broccoli, or sweet peppers.
Stiffness in joints can be due to lack of movement and having a sedentary lifestyle. Regular exercise is necessary to keep the joints in motion. There are special exercise that help in reducing stiffness. Swimming is a great go-to exercise for most joint pains due to stiffness. Buoyancy reduces impact on the joints and thus relieving pain. It can also improve joint flexibility to reduce or cure stiffness completely. In case of serious joint pain, it is advisable to go see a doctor or a physiotherapist and follow the exercise routine as prescribed.
12. Weight Management
Exercising and weight management go hand in hand if you are over weight. Extra weight can put immense pressure on the joints and thus being over weight can aggravate the problem of joint pain. Exercising daily will keep the joints moving and active, and strong enough to deal with the pain. Exercising will also reduce weight which will decrease the pressure on the joints. Weight can also be managed by keeping a check on your diet. It is advised to eat food with less calories. Foods with high protein content should be taken to make muscles strong. Plant proteins are better for this purpose.
Joint pains can bring your life to a stand-still. They can restrict the simple joys of walking, running and even sitting in the way you want. Not treating them is an invitation to a whole lot of other problems. Natural remedies work in most of the cases if treated with dedication but if they don’t work, do not shy away from seeing a doctor. In fact frequent joint pains and serious joint pains should be checked with a doctor.