Many of us will suffer from joint pain at some point in our adult lives. This could be down to a host of reasons from injury-induced pain to age-related aches such as inflamed joints, arthritis or back strain.
The summer months can often see more injuries and joint pain as we spend more time outdoors, being active and acting a little more carefree.
People tend to opt for easy over the counter medications to cure joint pain, however these remedies can affect the stomach, especially anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen and therefore do not suit everyone. Nutritionist Sarah Flower is on hand to explore alternative ways to either prevent or cure your pain naturally.
Prevention and Joint Health
If you suffer from any inflammatory condition such as joint pain, arthritis or have recurrent back pain, it is worth considering the following supplements to help repair, as well as protect the joints from further damage.
- Magnesium is vital to repair and relax the muscles. I prefer to use a magnesium citrate as this is the most bioavailable form. You may also find some benefit from taking an Epsom salt bath to help ease muscles and absorb magnesium through the skin. If you suffer from cramps, applying a magnesium spray directly to the affected area can help decrease the pain and ease restless leg syndrome. You could also top up your magnesium levels with Power Health’s New Era 8. These tissue salts are easy to take and simply melt in your mouth.
- Turmeric contains curcumin and has amazing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Sprinkle into cooked foods to combat pain and inflammation as well asto encourage muscle repair. To help your body absorb the full benefits turmeric has to offer I would suggest adding turmeric to a healthy fat along with black pepper.
- Ginseng, also known as an adaptogen is a great remedy to help increase energy levels and support the adrenal glands, especially at times of stress. It has also been shown to help with pain relief. As most of our aches and pains are made worse by tension and stress, this is an excellent herb to add to your pain relief armoury.
- Omega 3 Fish Oils – We know how important it is to consume a diet rich in oily fish, nuts, seeds and avocados to ensure a good range of omega 3 fatty acids, but most of us could also benefit from taking a good quality omega 3 fish oil. Omega 3 fish oil contains both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which help to protect the heart and joints.
Natural Topical Pain Relief:
- Chilli Muscle Rub is a fantastic balm to help soothe muscle aches and pains and has been shown to be particularly beneficial for arthritic pain. It contains comfrey and capsicum extracts which produces a heat which in turn, desensitises the area, stopping the signals of pain. I would recommend Power Health’s, Chilli Muscle Rub, £4.56 from www.powerhealth.co.uk
- Arnica is great for rubbing onto aching or bruised joints or muscles (on unbroken skin only) to help bring out bruises and ease inflammation. You can also take arnica orally in homeopathic form.
- MSM (Methysulfonylmethane) has many great qualities, including a powerful anti-inflammatory which can reduce muscle spasm and relieve pain, as well as protect against joint deterioration. Studies on patients with sports related injuries showed 40% fewer visits to a chiropractor. MSM works best when used with Glucosamine to help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Hop Alpha Acids is a great antioxidant and also works as a really fast acting pain reliever as it reduces inflammation and gets to the root of the problem. Hop alpha acid has been shown to help with osteoarthritis, especially if accompanied by a low sugar, Mediterranean diet.
Dietary Changes to Help Ease Inflammation.
- Watch the sugar – A diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar causes whole body inflammation, making you more susceptible to pain, injury and aching joints. Reducing your sugar intake not only balances you blood sugars, reducing your risk of Type 2 Diabetes, but it can also increase your energy levels, boost your immune system and allow your body to heal.
- Limit Omega 6 – High levels of omega 6 (such as vegetable oils and spreads) can promote inflammation and increase pain. Replace these with omega 3 rich foods such as oily fish, nut oils, avocado oil, coconut oil and butter.
- Eat plenty of antioxidants – The best sources come from coloured vegetables and berries. These mop up free radicals which can cause so much damage to our cells, impeding our ability to recover.
- Alkaline diet – It is also vital to have a good alkaline diet to maintain a health PH level. If the body is too acidic, we are more prone to whole body inflammation which puts you at a higher risk of injury, slowing down recovery. As well as eating a good alkaline diet, you can also supplement with some concentrated greens; these help support an alkaline body as well as providing a range of antioxidants and essential minerals and can be added to smoothies or juices.