Joint pain comes in many forms and can be uncomfortable at best and very debilitating at its worst. Whether it’s knee pain after exercise, wrist and finger pain after typing emails to loved ones, or weekend home improvements, joint pain is extremely widespread and can affect adults of all ages. Knee pain alone affects around 25% of adults, limiting mobility and impairing their quality of life.1 However, it is likely that you will experience the symptoms of joint pain in multiple locations throughout your body.2
Joint pain is also a major symptom of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Just under 30% of all adults aged between 45 and 64 years and nearly 50% of those over 65 in the United States have been diagnosed with arthritis.3 In fact, it is the leading cause of disability in the U.S.4
Fortunately, you are not destined to a life of sore, achy joints or relying on harsh NSAIDs to manage your pain. There are many natural ways to relieve joint pain. First, let’s look at some of the root causes of joint pain, and then I’ll share with you 9 ways to relieve joint pain naturally.
The Root Causes Of Joint Pain
Why do joints hurt? It all comes down to inflammation. When your body is inflamed, joint nerves become more sensitive to movements.5 This can lead to a dull ache, a burning sensation, stiffness, swelling, and other symptoms, and you may feel worse in the morning or when you perform certain activities.6
Joint pain can also be caused by:
- Older age: When you reach age 40, the collagen that builds cartilage in your joints starts to deplete quicker than your body can reproduce it. By age 60, more than half of your body’s collagen has been depleted, making aches and pains more likely.7
- Rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis: These common problems can be triggered by your body attacking itself—in the case of rheumatoid arthritis—or brought on by wear and tear–in the case of osteoarthritis–leading to painful sensations and inflammation.
- Repetitive movements: Are you an athlete, or did you enjoy a particular sport when you were younger that led to joint pain? This is a common issue for dancers, cyclists, runners, rowers, and gymnasts, who may have put a lot of pressure on their hips, pelvis, back, knees or ankles and made certain movements over and over.8
- Injuries, impact, and trauma: Damaging your joints and surrounding tissues can naturally lead to pain, swelling, and discomfort in the short-term. However, sometimes these symptoms come back or don’t go away completely in the long-term.
- Hypermobility: Studies show that while some flexibility in the joints is beneficial, joint movements that go beyond your normal range of motion can lead to joint problems, even if you’re young.9
- Cigarette smoking: A link has been made between joint pain and smoking, a practice that promotes inflammation and dehydration in your body.10
- Autoimmune disorders: Being on the autoimmune spectrum, or having a disorder such as Hashimoto’s or fibromyalgia increases inflammation in your body, putting you at risk of experiencing joint pain, along with a host of other symptoms.
The good news is that no matter what is causing your joint pain, there is a wide range of ways you can lower the inflammation levels behind it. Beginning with…
1. Maintaining A Healthy Weight
The connection between overweight and joint pain is strong. Studies show that adults over 18 years of age who are overweight or obese are up to 15% more likely to report doctor-diagnosed arthritis.11 This is because carrying around extra weight puts more strain on your joints and bones.
The wonderful news is that shedding even just a few pounds can ease pain and prevent future inflammation.
2. Gentle Movement & Exercise
Though it might feel counterintuitive at first, including aerobic and resistance exercise training in your routine is one of the best steps you can take to improve your joints.12
Studies show that the following types of exercise are best:13
- Aerobics and water aerobics
- Strengthening exercises, such as lifting light weights
- Conditioning activities that strengthen your heart and lungs, such as bicycling, swimming, dancing, and brisk walking
- Tai chi, the Chinese martial art that uses slow, continuous movements to work and tone your body
- Yoga, which uses breathing and poses to improve flexibility and coordination, and reduce stress
The key point to remember here is that because inactivity can cause joint pain and worsen conditions such as arthritis, any kind of low-impact movement you enjoy will be beneficial to your joints. Find the activity that you enjoy the most, as that is the one you’ll stick with! Wear a brace or wrap around painful joints to help you get started if needed, particularly if you are dealing with some overweight.
3. Taking a Bath in Epsom Salts
After exercise, I love taking a detoxifying, relaxing bath with Epsom Salts. Epsom salts are high in magnesium and sulfates, and can help lower inflammation, relax tense muscles and reduce muscle spasms.14 The minerals they contain are absorbed through your skin, so adding them to your bath, or even making a compress applied directly to the achy area that is bothering you, can lead to quick results. Take two cups of salts and add them to your bath water, or to a gallon of water, then soak a towel in it for a few minutes before applying to your skin.
4. Eating an Anti-inflammatory Diet
I want to emphasize the power that simple changes to your diet can make. As you now know, the main cause of joint pain is inflammation. This means that beginning an anti-inflammatory diet can very quickly reduce your discomfort.15,16
I talk a lot about how gluten and dairy are the two most inflammatory foods you can eat today. Removing these foods from your diet is the best place to start and can make a huge difference in the way you feel. Other foods to avoid include processed meats, refined sugars and artificial sweeteners, and trans fats or hydrogenated oils found in foods such as fried foods, fast food, and packaged snack products. I go into this in depth in my New York Times Bestseller,The Autoimmune Solution, so be sure to check it out.
Along with ditching toxic and inflammatory foods, you can also eat plenty of foods that fight inflammation naturally such as organic berries and most other fruits and vegetables, as well as herbs and spices including garlic, green tea, ginger, rosemary, and holy basil. There are also a number of supplements I would recommend for their ability to help alleviate occasional joint pain, which I’ll get into below.
Curcumin is a powerful substance found in the Ayurvedic herb turmeric. It has been shown to relieve pain, and improve physical function and quality of life in people with osteoarthritis.17 In fact, it has been proven to be so potent that experts are recommending it as a possible alternative to NSAIDs with no negative side effects.18
Along with encouraging a healthy inflammation response, curcumin offers a number of other benefits: it has an ORAC score of 1,5000,000, making it one of the strongest free radical fighters you have access to; it improves detox pathways and aids liver function; and it helps support your intestinal health and gut lining integrity.
6. Essential Fatty Acids
The omega-3 fat DHA is found in bone marrow and enhances bone mineral content. When used for 3 months or more, omega-3 oils have also been shown to relieve occasional joint pain due to rheumatoid arthritis.19
In one study, 3-4 months of omega-3 supplementation helped joint pain sufferers reduce pain intensity, reduce morning stiffness, experience tenderness in fewer joints, and decrease NSAID consumption!20
You can find omega-3 fats in wild-caught salmon, sardines, mackerel, and grass-fed beef. However, I also recommending supplementation to ensure you’re getting enough each day. My Complete Omega 3 Softgels™ contains a whopping 860mg of EPA/DHA in each tablet, so you only need one per day. They are also filtered for damaging and inflammatory heavy metals, which can be found in most other leading fish oils.
Digestive enzymes are helpful for digesting the protein your body needs to repair damaged tissue.21 What’s more, certain enzymes such as bromelain can also naturally reduce inflammation and have been shown to relieve occasional swelling and pain.
A study compared an enzyme supplement to the NSAID diclofenac and found that it was comparable in relieving pain and increasing joint function in adults with moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis knee pain. It was also associated with fewer adverse effects than diclofenac, making it recommendable for long-term use.22
For a supplement that supports a healthy inflammatory response, increases the digestive potency of anti-inflammatory foods, and helps break down gluten, try my Complete Enzymes.
8. Vitamin D and Vitamin K2
Getting enough vitamin D, along with vitamin K2, will also help you absorb enough calcium, which is essential for building strong bones. Fish and sunlight are great sources of vitamin D. However, it can be challenging to get optimal levels of vitamin D from food and sunlight alone, especially if you don’t eat fish multiple times a week, or if you spend much of your time indoors or live in a northern climate. For this reason, a high-quality supplement can guarantee a continuous source all year round.
My Bone Health Kit is designed to provide all the trace minerals, collagenous proteins and peptides, and other micronutrients for supporting optimal bone structure and joint function. The kit includes calcium, as well as vitamins D3 and K2 in the perfect ratios required for the best joint health possible.
9. Gelatin And Collagen
What’s the difference between gelatin and collagen? Both are packed with amino acids and provide tons of health benefits, such as supporting the health of your gut barrier, liver, cardiovascular system, bones, connective tissue, cartilage, and joints.27,28,29,30,31,32 They can even help with weight loss.33 Gelatin is simply the cooked version of collagen and can be used in recipes to replace eggs and make a wide range of delicious dishes such as my Cinnamon Cacao Coconut Custard.
The Myers Way® Gelatin and Collagen are made from grass-fed, pasture-raised sources and can be used to boost the protein content of your recipes. Plus, both can be taken to promote fat loss, increase lean muscle mass, and support healthy bones, joints, hair, skin, and nails.
Despite what conventional medicine might tell you, you don’t need to live with joint pain or rely on harsh medications to manage your pain. By optimizing your diet, getting daily exercise in the fresh air, and stocking up on some key supplements, you can find relief from chronic joint pain and reclaim a full, active life!
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