Joint pain and inflammation are common problems that can make it difficult to perform basic activities. While many people turn to pharmaceuticals like ibuprofen or steroids, natural remedies may offer relief without the side effects. Here are six ways you can manage joint pain and inflammation:
Glucosamine and chondroitin are two substances found naturally in your body that help keep your joints healthy. Glucosamine is a type of sugar, and chondroitin is a protein. These substances are both found in cartilage—the soft connective tissue that cushions the bones and lets them move smoothly against each other—and shark cartilage, which has long been used as an alternative treatment for joint pain.
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory, which means it can help reduce pain and swelling. It also has natural anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and even anti-fungal properties. Turmeric works best when taken with a small amount of black pepper (which enhances the absorption of turmeric). You can add turmeric to smoothies or other drinks, or sprinkle some on top of your salad.
Collagen peptides are a form of protein that helps to repair and maintain connective tissue. They’re made from the hydrolysis (or breaking down) of collagen, which is a fibrous protein found in skin, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and other body parts.
Collagen peptides are often marketed as an effective option for managing joint pain and inflammation because they contain glycine — an amino acid that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. A study published in February 2019 by researchers at the Department of Rheumatology at Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands found that people who took 500 milligrams per day of collagen peptides for three months had reduced symptoms related to osteoarthritis (OA).
In a study published in 2016, researchers found that omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduced pain and morning stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis who were taking 800 milligrams of fish oil per day (the recommended dose). The research team also noted that the benefits were greater than those seen with ibuprofen, another common over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication.
While this is promising news for those struggling with joint pain, it’s worth noting that fish oil may not be right for everyone. If you’re pregnant or nursing, are allergic to seafood or take blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), talk to your doctor before starting on a high-dose regimen of omega-3 supplements like fish oil.
MSM powder is a naturally occurring organic sulphur compound, which is similar to the naturally occurring mineral in human tissue. MSM has been found in many foods, including meat and dairy products. It’s also present in some supplements such as protein powders and energy bars.
MSM capsules are thought to promote healthy skin and hair, while MSM topical creams are purported to ease joint pain. However, scientific evidence of these benefits remains inconclusive.
Black cherry juice is a great way to soothe joint pain. One cup of black cherry juice contains more than 50 mg of vitamin C, which can help reduce inflammation and strengthen connective tissue. It also contains anthocyanins, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in multiple studies.
Black cherries are native to North America and Europe, but they grow best in areas with warm summers and cool winters. They’re delicious when fresh, but they’re also available canned or frozen year-round—so you don’t have an excuse not to get some into your diet!
Tart cherries are rich in anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory properties. A study published by the Journal of Applied Nutrition showed that tart cherries can help reduce pain and inflammation. Furthermore, tart cherries contain melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep patterns and helps prevent insomnia.
Ginger has been used for centuries as a powerful anti-inflammatory that can help to reduce pain and inflammation. Ginger is one of the best natural remedies to try if you have joint pain, muscle aches, headaches or stomach problems. It’s also a great immune system booster!
Benefits of ginger include:
Anti-inflammatory — The active ingredients in ginger (gingerols) act as anti-inflammatories by inhibiting enzymes involved in the production of prostaglandins, which are responsible for swelling and pain.
Consider adding turmeric to your diet. Turmeric has been known to reduce inflammation and pain in the body. It can also help lower cholesterol levels and boost digestion. To get the most benefit from it, prepare turmeric daily as a tea or add it to meals with other spices like ginger and cayenne pepper. Drink one cup of turmeric tea per day for best results.
Try ginger for relief from joint pain: Ginger is another spice that helps reduce inflammation in the body—making it an excellent natural remedy for joint pain and arthritis symptoms. Add fresh ginger root slices on top of hot cereal or stir it into soups; sprinkle ground dried ginger over salads or cooked vegetables; add freshly grated ginger to stir-fry dishes; or infuse hot water with grated fresh root before drinking as a warm beverage each day for best results.*
While there are many different remedies for joint pain and inflammation, we have covered the most effective ones. You can try any of these natural remedies to see which one works best for you. If they don’t seem to be working or if your symptoms get worse, then please consult with a doctor who can prescribe medication that will alleviate your symptoms more quickly than these over-the-counter options may do.