Aching knees and other joints (like those in our hands, shoulders, and hips) is a common issue across the globe. In fact, millions of adults world-wide rely on taking pain-killers like Aspirin to manage ongoing joint or bone pain.
However, pain-killers are only a temporary solution to issues that run much more deep. Fortunately for us, there are safer alternatives to taking these drugs, most of which have been shown to help relieve symptoms of joint pain (like stiffness, reduced range of motion and difficulty walking).
Tips To Manage Joint Pain
Joint pain can be caused by a variety of things:
– Old Age: as we age, collagen that builds cartilage in your joints starts to deteriorate – making aches and pains more likely to occur.
– Arthritis: pain that develops as a result of chronic inflammation.
– Overuse: from performing repetitive movements (such as long distance running). Pressure that gets put on a particular joint over time can also cause issues (like dancing, cycling, yoga, rowing, soccer, etc.).
– Injury or trauma
– Poor posture
– Inactivity or sedentary lifestyles: such as sitting for many hours per day.
– Autoimmune disorders: like Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism or fibromyalgia, which increase inflammation levels in the body.
– Lack of sleep: can contribute to fatigue, achiness and stiffness.
Managing joint pain isn’t that difficult, but sometimes requires a little work to get there. The first recommendation would be to keep a close eye on your diet. Our diet can often be a huge contributor to whether we’re subjecting our bodies to chronic inflammation. Stick to a diet that is high in lots of leafy greens and vegetables, as well as plenty of fresh fruit, nuts and seeds. Try to avoid dairy, wheat, GMO corn, fried foods, refined sugar and red meat.
Some more tips to prevent joint pain are as follows:
– Rest your knees as much as possible when pain flares up
– Build up the muscle around your knees with a good strengthening a stretching routine (like this one)
– Avoid activities that put strain on your knees – opt for ones that are gentler
– Take a magnesium supplement (we have a hard time obtaining it from our food)
– Fight pain and swelling by alternating a hot and cold compress (10 minutes each)
– Quit smoking (promotes inflammation and slows healing)
– Avoid lifting heavy objects
– Massage your knees regularly
– Walk for at least 15 minutes each day to stretch out your leg muscles
– Always wear comfortable shoes and avoid wearing high heels
– Maintain a healthy weight to keep the extra pressure off your knees
– Stay well-hydrated (3-4 litres of water daily) to keep your joints lubricated
20 Home Remedies For Knee & Joint Pain
Here are a few simple remedies that will nourish the joints and alleviate any aches and pains you may be experiencing.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a great topical pain-reliever, and can be used internally, too. Studies have found its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Rub coconut oil into your joints in the morning, and at night for optimal results. You can also take 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil internally every day.
2. Cayenne Pepper with Coconut Oil
Capsaicin is an active compound in cayenne peppers that has a warming effect. It is often used to soothe muscle and joint pain and also reduces swelling. Combine 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper and 1.5 cups of olive oil. Mix the ingredients to prepare a paste and apply it on the affected area. You can wrap it up in gauze if you please, and leave on for an hour. Use twice daily for a week or more to treat pain.
3. Cayenne Pepper with Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has some major anti-inflammatory properties and makes it the perfect addition to cayenne powder. Combine 1.5 tablespoons of cayenne pepper with a cup of apple cider vinegar and pour the mixture into a hot bath. Soak your knee for 20 minutes daily.
Lemon contains citric acid, which can dissolve uric acid crystals that form in your joints. These crystals can cause gout and other joint problems. Slice a lemon into multiple slices and place in a cheese cloth. Dip the cloth-covered slices in sesame oil for a few minutes and then place the poultice on your knee for ten minutes or so. Repeat twice a day and drink lemon water first thing in the morning.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar with Water
Apple cider vinegar detoxifies and alkalizes the joints to keep them lubricated and free-moving. Combine 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of water and drink on an empty stomach once per day.
6. Epsom Salt Soak
Epsom salts are rich in magnesium, a crucial mineral our body needs to relax and reduce swelling. It also helps fight edema. Combine a cup of epsom salt into a warm bath, and soak for 15 minutes – this is best right before bed time!
7. Hot and Cold Packs
Alternating hot and cold packs is hugely beneficial for alleviating knee or other joint pain. Apply a hot therapeutic gel pack to the affected area for twenty minutes, and immediately follow up with a cold ice pack for another twenty minutes.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar with Olive Oil
Combine 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and apply the mixture to the front, back and sides of your knee (or other joint) for 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water and massage the area.
9. Herbal Ointment
In a study published in the Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, researchers investigated a salve made of cinnamon, ginger, mastic (“Arabic gum” or “Yemen gum”), and sesame oil. They found the salve was just as effective as over-the-counter arthritis creams containing salicylate, a topical pain relief treatment.
Combine 3 tbsp. cinnamon powder, 3 tbsp. ginger powder, 2 tbsp. mastic oil, and 2 tbsp. sesame oil. Mix until you get a paste, and then place on the area of the body that is experiencing pain. Wrap up with gauze and wear overnight. Repeat every night.
10. Castor Oil
Ricinoleic acid in castor oil has been found to exert “capsaicin-like” anti-inflammatory properties, and has even been found to be effective in relieving sciatica pain. Rub castor oil into your joints every day, and wrap with an organic cotton cloth. This is best performed at night.
11. Mustard Oil
This oil promotes blood flow to soothe pain and inflammation. Heat 2 tablespoons of mustard oil in a saucer and add 2 cloves of garlic. Roast for a couple minutes, and then let cool slightly. Apply the mixture to your affected joint and let sit for an hour (you can wrap it up in gauze to keep in place). Follow up by wrapping your knee in a hot towel. Repeat 2 times a week.
12. Turmeric and Ginger
Turmeric contains curcumin, and ginger contains gingerols – two important compounds that fight inflammation and reduce pain. Combine 1 tablespoon of fresh or powdered turmeric, and 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger. Simmer over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, and add a pinch of black pepper to increase absorption in the body. Let it cool for 10 minutes, and add 2 drops of honey. Drink twice daily if you are in serious pain.
13. Juniper Berry Tea
Juniper berries are great for treating pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. Do not consume if pregnant! Combine 1 tablespoon of dried juniper berries and a cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and add a few drops of honey. Enjoy immediately.
14. Ginger Tea
Ginger is great for healing sore, swollen joints. Combine half a teaspoon of chopped ginger, 2 drops of lemon juice, 2 drops of honey and a cup of water. Let boil for 5 minutes, and then strain and drink while hot. Drink once a day for best results.
15. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus has powerful pain-killing properties that will leave your joints feeling better in no time. In a bottle or small glass jar, combine 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil, 2 drops of olive oil, and 5 drops of peppermint essential oil. In the bottle add all of the oils and mix well. Apply the mixture to painful knees and leave on for one hour.
16. Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary is sometimes used to treat muscle pain and arthritis, and is one folk medicine you don’t want to miss out on. Next time you’re experiencing painful joints, rub some rosemary essential oil into the area – you might feel a cooling, analgesic effect, but this is what you want. Apply morning and night.
17. White Willow Tea
The bark of white willow contains salicylic acid, which is a chemical similar to that found in Aspirin. It is therefore rich in pain-fighting compounds. Combine 2 tablespoons of powdered white willow bark with 4 drops of honey and a cup of water. Boil in a small saucepan (without the honey) and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the honey once the mixture has cooled and enjoy immediately. Drink twice weekly.
18. Fenugreek seeds with Water
Fenugreek seeds have strong anti-inflammatory properties that soothe joint pain. Combine 2 tbsp. fenugreek seeds with 1 cup of water and let them soak overnight. Strain them in the morning and then eat them with coconut yogurt, or blend in a smoothie. Repeat daily.
19. Cinnamon, Honey and Water
Cinnamon arthritis treatments are popular in India and South Asia. Arthritis sufferers can make a cinnamon and honey tea to get the same benefits. Mix 1 cup of hot water with 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Drink in the morning and night.
20. Golden Milk
Turmeric is a known anti-inflammatory with benefits that have been found to surpass that of prescription pain meds. Golden milk is a great way to ease pain in the body, and is quite simple to make. Combine 1 cup of coconut milk with 1 tbsp. turmeric powder. Add in a dash of black pepper, as well as some honey, cinnamon and cloves if you please. Heat until the mixture comes to a simmer and then drink once cooled down. I like to drink this every day!