Not all treatments for joint pain involve the use of medicine. Some can be completely chemical free, including the natural chemicals found in herbal or homeopathic remedies. Being physically active can help reduce the symptoms of common causes of joint pain such as arthritis, rheumatism, and obesity, Meanwhile, massage can help reduce swelling and inflammation, while a healthy diet can also act as a form of preventative medicine, stopping joint pain before it begins, Finally, the strategic application of heat and cold has proven to be effective in the treatment of joint pain.
Being physically active can help to build up the cartilage that holds the joints in place, helping to prevent the onset of arthritis. Strengthening muscle can also help to support the joints. For example, strengthening the leg muscles helps to support the knees. Losing weight also means that less pressure is put on the joints.
Tai chi is a form of low-impact meditative exercise that is particularly effective in reducing joint pain. It combines deep breathing with flowing movements that improve flexibility in the joints, particularly those in the lower body, such as hip, knees and ankles.
Massage, including self-massage, is another form of joint pain treatment that can be performed in the home. The most common type of massage is Swedish massage, which involves long, fluid strokes that ease tension in the muscles. Deep tissue massage is not recommended for people with conditions such as arthritis, as it can actually make joint pain worse.
Self-massage using fists or elbows may be an option, depending on where the joint pain is felt. Treatments can use objects found in the home, such as tennis balls, to aid in massaging sore muscles and joints in hard-to-reach areas like the lower back. Stand against a wall with the tennis ball pressed into the small of the back, then gently flex the knees to move the ball up and down the back.
Diet and joint pain
A Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables, pulses, wholegrains, olive oil and oily fish, has proven benefits in reducing inflammation in the joints. Red wine, an important part of the Mediterranean diet, also has anti-inflammatory properties when drunk in moderation, Along with physical activity, a healthy diet is an essential component of weight loss, helping to ease pressure on the joints which can lead to pain.
Heat and cold
The use of hot and cold packs as a home treatment for joint pain will be familiar to those who participate in sports, Heat (thermotherapy) is used to loosen up stiff muscles and joints, while cold (cryotherapy) is used to relieve swelling and inflammation. A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research in 2014 found that a combination of cryotherapy or thermotherapy with the painkiller naproxen was more effective in treating lower back pain than naproxen alone. Heat and cold can also be used to treat osteoarthritis, Many patients find that alternating the two throughout the day increases the effectiveness.