Natural therapies have been a valuable option for patients seeking alternative options to traditional medical treatments. These natural remedies can help relieve pain and stiffness associated with joint arthritis. It can also play an important role in one’s overall wellness.
Natural Ways to Reduce Joint Pain
Massage therapy has shown many health benefits for thousands of years. It can help improve flexibility, improve circulation, manage chronic pain, and improve rehabilitation. It can also promote overall well-being by reducing anxiety, promoting relaxation and improving sleep.
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine which involves very thin small needles that are inserted through the skin at specific acupuncture points on the body. It is believed to stimulate the central nervous system, improve blood flow and activate the body’s natural painkillers. A meta-analysis study showed that acupuncture can not only improve chronic knee pain associated with osteoarthritis, it can also improve short and long term physical function.
Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that uses deep breathing, meditation and body postures. Several studies have shown significant reduction in pain and function with improved strength, balance and gait, when used as an adjunct in the management of arthritis.1 The psychological benefits of Yoga therapy have been shown in the published literature to help reduce blood pressure, heart rate, anxiety and many other benefits.
Exercise keeps your joints flexible and improves the strength of supporting muscles. Low impact exercises such as walking, cycling, and aquatic therapy are great options for patients with joint arthritis. Working with a physical therapist or a personal trainer offers many benefits in addition to getting proper exercise. They can perform manual therapies, counsel on proper positioning and body movement and recommend assistive devices such as braces. Aquatic therapy, also known as pool therapy or water therapy, is an alternative option for those who can not perform land-based therapies with less risk of exacerbating their joint pain. The gravity reduced environment of water can allow for gentle movements to improve strength, flexibility, and endurance that is better tolerated by some.
It is important to maintain a regular home exercise routine to continue the benefits of exercise and maintain overall health.
Being overweight is a major risk factor for the development of osteoarthritis. Losing weight removes extra pounds of pressure on swollen, painful joints. Maintain a healthy weight by combining a balanced diet with regular physical activity.
Heat and Cold
Heat can relieve muscle and joint stiffness while cold can reduce inflammation, swelling and pain. These are easily available modalities that can help manage joint pain and reduce the need for pain medications .
Natural alternative arthritis treatments are generally safe and can be a good adjunct to standard medical treatments. Some do have scientific evidence to support their efficacy, however others need more research to evaluate their benefits. Patients can discuss these treatments with their doctor to determine if these are appropriate for their specific needs.
1 Ebnezar J, Nagarathna R, Yogitha B, Nagendra HR. Effect of integrated yoga therapy on pain, morning stiffness and anxiety in osteoarthritis of the knee joint: A randomized control study. Int J Yoga. 2012;5(1):28-36. doi:10.4103/0973-6131.91708