Worldwide, approximately 350 million people suffer from arthritis. Being the most common cause of joint pain, the associated discomfort and painful symptoms can be overwhelming. For those of you who do have joint pain, you can relate to the swelling, tenderness, and stiffness that is associated with sore joints.
While focusing on joint health, pain is generally caused by inflammation. This is the case when suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, as well as infections. Depending on the direct cause of your joint pain, there will be varying treatment options available. To support joint health today, focus on the following three steps.
Step One: Consume more anti-inflammatory foods
It’s often said, you are what you eat, and in many cases, there is significant truth to this saying. The foods you consume on a regular basis will not only have an effect on your joints, but the overall level of pain that you experience. Although there isn’t a magic diet to overcome symptoms of arthritis and other joint-related conditions, foods such as fresh fish, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, garlic, olive oil, and other nutrient-rich foods often have a positive impact.
Spices and herbs should be included in your daily diet, especially turmeric, ginger, clove, and rosemary. Within one 2012 study, published in the International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, it was found that curcumin, the bioactive component of turmeric, can both prevent and treat inflammatory conditions. Start a food journal, documenting what you eat, as well as any flare-ups that you experience.
Step Two: Manage a healthy weight
Sadly, nearly 70 percent of Australian adults are considered to be overweight or obese. Not only do you increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes, but you also place strain on your joints. This makes sense, as the more weight that’s placed on a joint, the more stressed it becomes. This is especially true regarding joints around your knees.
Not only does excess weight place physical pressure on joints, but it can also increase chemicals, such as cytokines – contributing to increased inflammation. This increased inflammation, can also contribute to conditions such as gout, lupus, and fibromyalgia.
Even losing 5 kilograms can make a significant difference. Focus on a balanced diet, increased physical activity, and quality sleep. Exercise itself, is a simple and healthy way to target painful joints. When you are physically active, you strengthen the muscles around your joints, maintain bone health, and boost energy levels.
Step Three: Seek massage therapy
Massages aren’t just intended for spa days — they offer a wide range of beneficial health effects. When it comes to joint pain, massages can help increase circulation, reduce stress levels, and improve your range of motion. Throughout the literature, it’s been stated that massage therapy can increase strength, reduce stiffness, improve overall range of motion and function, while decreasing pain levels.
When you are getting a massage, this relaxing sensation can reduce the production of cortisol. In turn, your body increases serotonin production – also known as your ‘feel good’ hormone. A number of other hormones have been studied, including arginine-vasopressin — causing a reduction in blood pressure, as well as cytokine levels.
When it comes to joint pain, you are in control. Although certain symptoms can only be managed, you have the ability to reduce pain levels based on your day-to-day lifestyle choices. Your body is remarkable, however, it needs your help to function at an optimal level.
Provide your body with what it needs and it will take care of you in return. If you have been suffering from unexplained joint pain for an extended period of time, it’s imperative that you seek a professional opinion. You can improve your quality of life, you just need to take action.
Aggarwal, B. And Harikumar, K. (2010). Potential Therapeutic Effects of Curcumin, the Anti-inflammatory Agent, Against Neurodegenerative, Cardiovascular, Pulmonary, Metabolic, Autoimmune and Neoplastic Diseases. Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology. 41(4), 40-59. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2008.06.010
Kane, A. How Fat Effects Arthritis. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/comorbidities/obesity-arthritis/fat-and-arthritis.php