This is especially true for those dealing with chronic joint pain and arthritis. Depending on the individual, it can be mild to extremely painful, occasional to chronic and it can even limit mobility. It can happen anywhere there’s a joint—affecting the cartilage, bone, ligaments, tendons or muscles—and sometimes in multiple places at once.
We know it’s hard, but we want to help—naturally! Here’s how you can start feeling better right now.
1 Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Inflammation makes your joints more susceptible to pain and injury, and it can also slow down the healing process. When a joint is inflamed, it limits your range of motion, overall strength and flexibility. Since food fuels the body, and can be some of the best medicine around, consider adopting an anti-inflammatory diet that may help with pain relief.
- Refined sugars and grains
- Processed meat and red meat
- Alcohol and soda
- Packaged foods
- Margarine, shortening, lard
- Green, leafy vegetables
- Wild-caught salmon
- Bone broth
- Healthy fats like organic, unrefined coconut oil
- Probiotic foods (yogurt)
- Fermented foods
2. Epsom Salt Soaks
Epsom salt is an old classic for good reason! Taking a nice relaxing bath may offer a lot of relief by itself, but adding Epsom salt can help lower inflammation, reduce muscle spasms and relax tense, sore muscles. It’s high in magnesium and sulfates and easily absorbed into the skin! Add two cups of salt to your warm bath (not hot!), and soak for at least twenty minutes. If you’d like, you can also turn it into a warm compress—just dilute your salt in some warm water, soak a towel in it to absorb the liquid and apply directly to the skin.
3. Ice Therapy
For inflammation and joint discomfort or pain, ice therapy is a great form of pain relief! Cold restricts blood flow and reduces inflammation and swelling. Whenever there’s bleeding in underlying tissue—think sprains, strains or bruising—ice may help! But keep in mind, too much cold can hurt you. Don’t put bags of ice or packs directly on the skin, because that could risk skin, tissue or nerve damage. Instead, wrap it in a soft towel and set it on the area in question. And remember—no longer than 20 minutes a session! Note that if you have bad circulation, then cold therapy probably isn’t for you. People with cardiovascular disease should always consult with their doctor before using cold therapy.
4. Essential Oils
Many people find success using essential oils topically when they’ve got sore or achy joints. Depending on what kind of pain it is, there are a variety of options to choose from. Here are only a few!
- Peppermint Oil: Cooling and anti-inflammatory
- Lavender Oil: Relief from pain and swelling
- Sandalwood: Tension relief
But wait! Here’s a little bit of essential oil best practice. Most oils must be diluted with a carrier oil, like coconut or almond. There are some oils you can apply “neat” (directly on the skin), however, do your research first and test a small part of your skin to ensure you don’t have a reaction. Also, the essential oil industry is incredibly unregulated; be sure to purchase from a well-known brand that sells certified therapeutic grade oils.
Isn’t that a skincare thing? It’s so much more! Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and works to connect tissue. It’s found predominantly in our bones, muscles, skin and tendons. Increased levels of collagen have been shown to help those with rheumatoid arthritis, reducing joint pain and degeneration.
There are numerous ways to get the collagen your body needs, but the best way is by incorporating it back into your diet. Here are some all-natural foods that either contain collagen or boost its production:
- Bone Broth: A huge source of natural collagen—mainlines into the cells.
- Leafy Greens: Protect against free radicals that break down collagen.
- Red Veggies: Boost collagen levels and protects against sun damage.
- Fish: Helps protect the fatty membrane around skin cells.
- Citrus Fruits: Aid production of collagen.
- Beans: Help retain collagen by boosting the body’s ability to produce hyaluronic acid.
- Garlic: Rebuilds collagen fibers that have been damaged.
Fixing the Root Problem
It's important to note that everything listed here can and should help reduce the severity and frequency of your joint and arthritis pain BUT it won't fix the root cause of the problem. To truly get to the cause, we have to look a little deeper—the spine.
They key to reducing joint pain long term is to adjust the spine where vertebrae may be out of alignment, thus causing the nerves to be pinched. A chiropractor utilizes the chiropractic adjustment to manipulate the spine back into optimal alignment—taking pressure off the nerves and allowing the body to function at its best.