Common Causes of Joint Pain and Top Natural Remedies
For many people, movements the rest of us don’t even think about — things as simple as raising an arm of the shoulder or walking with ease — may seem like a luxury. Many people are dealing daily with limited joint movement and joint pain.
Our joints are made from collagen-based connective tissue, and they are the mechanism that allows your skeleton to move. Think of your joints as the elastic super glue that ensures you can perform basic movement patterns. Naturally, this connective tissue eventually wears down due to factors like age and certain types of repetitive motions.
The more wear-and-tear that your joints experience, the higher the risk of joint pain. Let’s take a look at the most common types and causes of joint pain. We’ll also discuss some natural remedies that can help alleviate joint discomfort, which you can try right at home!
Common Causes of Joint Pain
According to the Bone and Joint Initiative, over 2.8 million people suffered a sports-related injury of the joints, bones, and muscle tissues in 2012 alone. Whether you’re an athlete or you’re new to the fitness scene, here are the most common causes of joint pain.
A joint sprain occurs when you stretch or tear the bands of connective tissue, also known as ligaments. This should not be confused with a strain, which is when you overuse or tear muscle tissue.
For example, you can sprain your ankle during a run, but you can strain your bicep muscle during a dumbbell curl. A sports sprain most commonly occurs in ankles, because they are heavily used in all forms of fitness and daily activities. However elbows and shoulders are also at risk.
Inside of your joint is a form of connective tissue called a tendon that connects the bone to the muscle tissue. Overuse of a particular joint can lead to irritation and inflammation, resulting in tendonitis.
The most common site for tendonitis is at the elbow, making it an extremely common injury for tennis players. Overuse of the forearm during tennis practice, or a similar repetitive motion can often lead to tendonitis or Tennis Elbow.
Tendonitis may also develop as the result of trauma from an injury, but repetitive motion is the most common culprit.
The two most common types of arthritis, which negatively impacts the health and performance of joints, are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthrosis is usually caused by the natural wear-and-tear on the joints that occurs over time. It’s most common in people over the age of 40. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease — a condition which occurs because the immune system attacks the body. Rheumatoid arthritis breaks down joints regardless of age. Both types of arthritis typically affect the hands, wrists, and knees.
Natural Remedies That Can Help With Joint Pain
Many experts believe that joint sprains and tendonitis can be prevented through the adoption of a stretching program and with the help of regular deep-tissue massages. But there are other things you can do to alleviate joint pain and prevent it from getting worse.
Prevention is the best medicine, and one great way to avoid joint pain is to evaluate and change any lifestyle habits that increase the risk of developing joint pain.
Your diet is the first thing to consider changing. Since all joint pain involves inflammation in the connective tissue, we recommend following the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. This type of diet focuses on ditching sugar-heavy, fried, and processed foods, and focusing on natural, whole food choices.
Losing weight is another great way to prevent joint pain. Excess weight can put too much stress on the ligament and tendons, increasing your risk for a sprain.
Finally, strengthen your joints through active stretching exercises such as yoga or Pilates.
Several supplements have shown promise in studies when it comes to naturally helping alleviate joint pain and promote the health of connective tissue.
- Curcumin: A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food recommended the extract found in turmeric called curcumin as a potential way to naturally address inflammation associated with joint and muscle pain. When buying a curcumin supplement, be sure that it includes a carrier oil and other support ingredients to increase absorption.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids: A 2011 study published in California Agriculture demonstrated the many benefits of omega 3 fatty acids with an emphasis on lowering inflammation. Try to get your omegas from food source though like cold water fish, nuts or olive and coconut oil, or add a high-quality omega-3 supplement to your diet.
- Vitamin D: Although calcium has gotten the credit for supporting bone and joint health, vitamin D should be sharing the spotlight. Experts have found that people with low levels of vitamin D often have a higher risk of inflammation-based diseases including arthritis. A growing body of science is showing that 5,000 IU of vitamin D with vitamin K2 may help joint functionality.
Hot and Cold Therapy
Basic hot and cold therapy is a great way to naturally remedy joint pain. Heat helps to lubricate the joint while cold will reduce inflammation. Focus on cold for intervals of fifteen minutes for the first few days, then add in some intervals of heat.
Menthol-based creams or essential oils such as birch, wintergreen, peppermint and cardamom can also help provide some short-term relief of joint pain. Simply rub the cream or essential oil directly on the joint and wait a few minutes for it to begin working.
Epsom Salt Baths
Make it a habit to soak at night in an Epsom salt bath. Anecdotal reports frequently cite immediate relief from muscle soreness and joint pain. Plus a relaxing bath helps to soothe the central nervous system, increase magnesium levels, and de-stress the mind and body together.
Fight Back Against Joint Pain
Joint pain can limit your day-to-day actions, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it lying down. Begin with simple lifestyle changes and use basic remedies such as baths and essential oils. Once the joint pain has alleviated enough, focus on taking action to strengthen your joints and surrounding muscle tissue to prevent future pain. Remember to include anti-inflammatory foods in your daily.
Immobility will only exacerbate your pain, so while it may be tempting to limit mobility once you start experiencing joint discomfort, resist the urge. Take active steps to fight against joint pain and regain your energy and mobility again, starting with some of the tips in this article.