Joints can endure so much stress and weight, and sometimes we only realise how much they help us every day to move around when something goes wrong. Wear and tear can cause joint pain, or “arthralgia”. It can be very uncomfortable, painful and make it difficult to get around.
Tips to alleviate joint pain
One of the most helpful and effective things you can do to improve joint pain is hydrate really well. The type of water you drink is very important, too. Try to avoid tap water, as it contains a lot of contaminants, including medication residues and heavy meals. Buy a good quality water filter and treat yourself to spring water as much as possible.
1. Ginger daily
Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory that people with joint pain have started using instead of NSAID drugs. In a study that compared the effects of ginger extract and a placebo experienced reduced pain and stiffness in the knees, for example. Ginger affects the body at a cellular level, so it’ll work on your joints and your sore throat at the same time, for example.
2. Beware certain foods
Ingesting toxins will make joints worse. Fried and processed foods, for example, contain a lot of toxins and reduce the body’s defences. Researchers found that people who cut back on these foods lowered the levels of inflammation in their bodies.
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are toxins that appear when foods are heated, grilled, fried and pasteurised. They damage the proteins in your body and increase inflammation and the severity of conditions like arthritis. Slow cooking, steaming instead of frying and eating more raw fruit and vegetables can all help to reduce the quantity of AGEs in our diets.
What other foods should you look out for? Check out the following list:
- Dairy products
- Sugar and refined carbohydrates
- Alcohol and tobacco
- Corn oil
- Salt and preservatives of all kinds.
All these foods and substances increase inflammation and rob us of our health.
3. Morning green tea
Green tea has surprised a number of researchers looking into its effects on inflammatory joint disease. Green tea contains powerful antioxidants called polyphenols that help fight the free radicals that are thought to make joint problems worsen. Add lemon for best results, drink it between meals, and let the tea steep for a good five minutes before you take out the bag. Green tea has been proven to particularly help people with rheumatoid arthritis.
4. Vitamin E: Your greatest ally
You may already be taking chondroitin sulphate, glucosamine sulphate, calcium and fish oil or omega-3. Some additional and effective allies include:
- Vitamin E
- Devil’s claw
However, you should always make sure to mention these herbs and supplements to your doctor before you start taking them, as some can interfere with medications.
5. Foods that reduce pain & improve your mood
Foods that act as natural pain killers include those containing omega-3 oils, like flax and chia; turmeric; cloves; chili peppers; cherries; peppermint and holy basil.
There are other ways to improve your mood, and the symptoms people with joint issues experience. Ice therapy is one of them. It reduces swelling, pain and calms inflammation. Wrap a bag of peas in a damp tea towel every night and see if you don’t feel better!
Massage is also a cost effective and enjoyable way to cheer you up and relieve some of the suffering. Get a topical menthol rub, pop some onto the area and get someone to gently massage it in. Or alternatively do it yourself: after all, you know what feels good and how much pressure to apply for the perfect massage just for you!
Acupuncture has been praised as being one of the most effective natural treatments for joint problems and low moods. It’s now available on the NHS! Go and see if you are eligible. Alternatively, there are now literally thousands of acupuncture clinics in the UK. Give traditional Chinese medicine a try!