Persistent joint pain isn’t a minor annoyance. It can seriously slow you down in all aspects of life.
While there are plenty of over-the-counter solutions for joint pain, NSAIDS — or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — aren’t for everyone. Side effects, which range from stomach pain to liver and kidney problems, have prompted many people to seek natural alternatives to relieve joint pain.
However, with so many available options it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. How can you be sure that any of these natural alternatives actually work? No sweat! We sussed out five of the most effective natural solutions for joint pain.
1. Hot and cold therapy
The right amount of hot or cold therapy at the right time could make a world of difference for your joint pain. It really is that easy! A hot bath or shower in the morning can start your day off right by helping loosen up your joints. Consider using an electric blanket or heating pad throughout the day to avoid any additional stiffness.
Cold therapy is great for joint inflammation. This can be as simple as wrapping a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and applying it the pain area for about 20 minutes. Alternatively, a store-bought cold pack is perfect for quick relief at work or whenever you’re on the go. Finally, if you’re brave, you can submerge your most painful joints in an ice bath for some serious relief.
Meditation can open up a world of health benefits, from reducing stress to improving focus and even potentially improving your relationships. Studies have shown that mindful meditation can even help with joint pain. You can meditate just about anywhere at any time. All you need to do is set aside some time and space. Find yourself a comfortable seat, relax your limbs, and focus on your breath.
The goal is to simply focus on your breath and be in the present. This isn’t easy for everyone, especially those with joint pain who have trouble sitting in one place for long periods of time. Use this guide for a step-by-step tutorial on getting started with meditation for joint pain.
As part of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture helps with a range of diseases as well as pain management, from chemotherapy-induced issues to back pain. It's a safe, natural alternative for anyone looking to relieve joint pain. Here’s how it works: acupuncturists insert hair-thin needles in specific points around the body. Don’t worry, this is 100% pain-free for just about everyone. After the needles are inserted, you get to relax for 20 to 45 minutes.
The needles' positioning eases the pain by affecting neurotransmitters, hormone levels, and the immune system. Typically you would begin with weekly acupuncture sessions, but a doctor or acupuncturist can develop a treatment plan that’s right for you.
4. Fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are an important part of any healthy diet — even more so if you’re experiencing joint pain. In addition to aiding heart and cognitive health, studies have shown that fatty acids can reduce joint pain, and even allowing those with rheumatoid arthritis to reduce their use of NSAIDs.
You can easily increase your omega-3 fatty acids by eating a variety of fish (including salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines), nuts and seeds, and plant oils. You can also eat foods fortified with omega-3s like certain brands of eggs, yogurt, juices, milk, and soy beverages.
Say goodbye to joint pain the natural way!
Joint pain can be difficult for anyone to manage, especially those who are also experiencing menopause. We hope using these natural alternatives will help relieve your joint pain. As always, be sure to check with your doctor if your condition is persistent.
Have you tried any pain relief options we did not mention? If so, we'd love to hear from you in our comments section below!
To learn more about menopause and pain, read our blog post, 5 Myths About Menopause and Pain.