Pain is something that we wish not to feel but nonetheless, we are subject to it at some point in our lives. As we age, our body changes, too. Due the body’s wear and tear, we feel discomforts or even pain. One of the most common discomforts or problems one endures in this lifetime can be due to natural aging and is called joint pains. However, joint pains can be of many possible causes like arthritis, bursitis, muscle pain or a result of an injury. No matter what causes it, joint pain can be very irritating and bothersome as it poses a great obstacle to carry on our day to day routine. Having the knowledge of initial self-care for joint pain at home might come in handy when strikes.
Top home remedies to relieve joint pain:
- Turmeric – Turmeric possess antioxidant compound known as curcumin and is said to fight inflammation, and some researches suggest that they may be helpful in treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (1). It reduces pain, inflammation and stiffness related to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) and treats bursitis (2). Since joint pain is linked to inflammation, turmeric seems to have a potential effect to reduce the inflammation. A 2012 study of people with rheumatoid arthritis where they take either curcumin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug known as diclofenac sodium, or a combination of the two, shows that the group taking curcumin show the greatest improvement in symptoms (3).
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar (ACV) contains a variety of nutrients that help in ACV’s ability to do many things in the body and appears to help with inflammation fairly quickly (4). Many experts suggest that joint pain and arthritis could be linked to toxins that stayed long in the joints since metabolic waste is often stored in connective tissues and these toxins could build-up even more (5). ACV has a substance called pectin that helps to absorb toxins and get them out of the system while the acids in cider vinegar work to purify and detoxify the entire body (6).
- Epsom Salt Soak – Research shows that warm water therapy helps ease certain kinds of musculoskeletal conditions which include fibromyalgia, arthritis and low back pain (7). The theory says that when one soaks in an Epsom salt bath, it gets into your body through your skin and also the warm water relaxes muscles and loosens stiff joints (8). The main components of Epsom salt are the magnesium and sulfate which play an important role in its unique healing properties – to cause joint pain relief (9). It is said that it is harder for our bodies to absorb the magnesium taken in the form of a supplement, hence, our body gets to use the most of the magnesium during an Epsom salt bath (10).
- Lemon – Lemon is rich in vitamin C which is a necessary component for the synthesis of collagen to build and repair blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone making is useful for people with osteoarthritis. As a citrus fruit, it is a good source inflammation-fighting antioxidants beneficial for people with rheumatoid arthritis. A 2017 study indicates that lemon juice and lemon extract lowers uric acid levels in blood. A certain number of adults with high uric acid levels drink a freshly squeezed lemon juice every day for six weeks and all subjects show lower levels of uric acid (11). Flavones are active ingredients in lemon peels that relieve pain. Flavones are molecules in fruit, vegetables, tea, wine and herbs, which often give us a strong taste associated with the food. In lemon peels, it is specifically polymethoxy flavones which contribute to the anti-inflammatory benefit that can help you wake up pain free (12). The body’s warmth retained against your skin will help the lemon peel oil to penetrate into your skin and help your joint pain (13).
- Make a Rice Bag – Applying heat reduces pain in strained or overexerted muscles. Making your own rice bag is an affordable way to soothe your sore muscles and joints using only materials at home. You can use your old socks. The sock is filled with uncooked rice grains and sealed. Place it on a microwave for 2-3 minutes. When it cools down slightly but is still nice and warm, place it on sore, stiff joints. The rice grains will shape to your body and provide soothing heat (14). This is cost-efficient and safer than using an electric heating pad and really works.
- Massage – massage is an effective way to relieve joint pain in your knees and hips. Plus, you can actually do this at home. Thinking of doing it on your own? Sure you can. When doing it, remember massaging the affected area with a topical menthol rub to help ease the pain. In addition, remember when massaging your body, the direction of your strokes should always be toward the heart (15). According to Jeffrey Goldstein, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and director of spine service at the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York City, muscles work by taking joints through a range of motion because when two bones are fused together, there’s no longer motion there, so the muscles get tight and can be a source of pain (16).
- Exercise – Exercising is also a way to ease those painful joints. Choose an exercise that allows you to move within the limits of your pain and does not cause further pain to the joints especially your knees. Joint pain can be relieved by minor exercise and stretching. Exercise can increase the strength and flexibility of your joints, thus preventing potential joint pain (17). It is vital because it helps improve health and fitness without hurting your joints and it specifically strengthens the muscles around your joints and helps you maintain bone strength (18). In addition, Bikram yoga enhances the range of movement of your joints, alleviates and prevents pain (19).
Considering the above home remedies for joint pain could be good. It will save you from spending so much money and time going forth and back in the hospital. But doing these things can only give you temporary solution. You may take medication to control pain and inflammation when needed as prescribed by your health practitioner especially when dealing with chronic joint pain.