5 Tips To Relieve Joint Pain – Part 1

Written by OmegaXL on May 15, 2014

Joint pain can slow you down like nothing else. Anytime our mobility becomes compromised because of stiff, painful, swollen joints, our entire lives become affected. Even the most basic tasks can become difficult, slowing us down and robbing us of the quality of our lives. Taking joint pain medications is the first option many people choose to get back on their feet, but pain medications only mask the pain; they do nothing to fix the problem causing the pain. Luckily, there are many things we can do to stem the source of joint pain. Follow these 10 tips and you could find yourself living with a lot less joint pain.

  1. Stretch
    – When we injure ourselves, our first reflex response is to grab the affected area and squeeze it. Have you ever been hanging a picture and accidentally smashed your thumb with the hammer? What do you do? You drop the hammer and grab your thumb with the good hand, right? Well, that’s not just an automatic reaction, it is a response ingrained in our DNA. If you injure one of your joints, the body’s natural reaction is to apply pressure to the area affected much like your hand is applying pressure to your smashed thumb. The body creates this pressure by both sending fluids to the area to inflame the affected tissues (swelling), and by tightening the surrounding muscles in a protective spasm. Reducing inflammation will be discussed in a separate Tip. To help relieve pressure on the injured joint, gradually stretch the muscles on either side of the joint. For example, if you have knee pain chances are the muscles of your thighs, hamstrings and calves are tight and could use a good stretch. Same thing if your elbow hurts. Stretching the mussels in your forearms, biceps and triceps will relieve the tension pressure on the joint. Every joint in the body is surrounded by muscles that exert pressure on it if they are tight. Seek professional advice and find a stretching regime that is right for your particular joint injury.
  2. Reduce Inflammation
    – Inflammation is another way the body exerts protective pressure on an injured joint. In both cases, the injury to the joint isn’t only from physical trauma. Any insult to a joint will cause a protective response. Obesity, overuse, aging, some viruses or inflammatory conditions can cause joint inflammation, stiffness and pain. Many foods contribute to the inflammatory response, particularly foods that contain omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Both of these fatty acids are essential for human health but the body can’t make them; adequate amounts have to be obtained from dietary sources. While omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory, omega-6 fats are pro-inflammatory. The body needs both, but in balance. Unfortunately, the highly processed nature of the typical American diet creates a tremendous imbalance in favor of pro-inflammatory omega-6s. This is due to both a low intake of omega-3s and far too much omega-6. So, by cutting back on foods processed with corn and vegetable oils, animal products and peanuts you can lower your omega-6 intake. And, by adding a meal of cold water fatty fish such as salmon a couple of times a week will increase your intake of omega-3 to help get you back in balance and reduce inflammation. Adding a quality omega-3 supplement to your regiment can also drastically help to lower inflammation. Over 30 years of published university studies demonstrate the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids.
  3. Drink
    – Water is absolutely vital to human life. We can go for days and weeks without food, but three or four days without water and we can die, yet statistics indicate that over ¾ of America is chronically dehydrated. This wreaks havoc on your joints because they must be lubricated in order to function optimally, free of pain. However, if you become dehydrated, production of joint lubricating fluid can become impaired, causing pain and stiffness in your joints. Dehydration also causes fatigue, fuzzy memory, constipation, headache, muscle cramps, and more. So, drink up! Make sure you’re never thirsty.
  4. Move
    – it is well known that moving your joints through some form of exercise can help ease joint pain and stiffness. But, therein lies the rub; how can you exercise if your joints are killing you? While that does seem like a catch 22, it is true. The more you move the more blood flow increases to the areas moving. That increased blood supply is carrying more healing nutrients to the joint as well as carrying away cellular debris. Movement also stretches tight muscles and increases lubricants in the joints. By not moving, you will become stiffer, have less energy, and continuous pain. Getting moving, could cause you some discomfort initially, but as you ease into it you’ll “loosen up” and move more freely. Before and after any physical activity, make sure you stretch and start off slowly.
  5. Eat
    – proper nutrition plays a vital role in both joint health and managing inflammation. In addition to omega-3 rich foods mentioned in another tip, Antioxidants are a major help in fighting free radicals, which may be damaging to joints and can contribute to inflammation. Antioxidants include vitamin A (or beta carotene and other carotenoids), vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium. Foods that contain these powerful weapons for combating free radicals include: Vitamin C rich fruits such as grapefruit, papaya, oranges, mangoes, raspberries, pineapples and tomatoes, as well as vegetables such as asparagus, red peppers, and broccoli. Vitamin E is abundant in avocados, whole-grain breads, cereals and sunflower seeds. Selenium is found in salmon, Brazil nuts, oatmeal and brown rice.