Whether it’s from illness, injury, or age, joint pain is something most everyone has experienced at some point in their life. Even everyday activities like carrying a child, walking up the stairs, or opening a jar can aggravate joint pain. But with the serious side effects of many anti-inflammatory drugs, it’s important to consider safer alternatives. Following are some natural therapy options to help alleviate long-term and short-term joint pain and prevent it from coming back.
As a Dr. of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) I’ve had the privilege of working with a wide variety of excellent health practitioners, and I find that the right combination of treatments goes a long way in treating and preventing joint pain.
Acupuncture. Obviously, as a Dr. of TCM, acupuncture is going to be my first go-to to address joint pain. The World Health Organization (WHO) is just one of the many organizations that have recommended acupuncture to help treat arthritis and a number of other joint pain conditions because it helps decrease inflammation, improve circulation, and release endorphins (pain-relieving feel-good hormones). Note that the needles are very fine, so it is not a painful procedure, and that acupuncturists will usually choose point locations that address whole body health, not just where you feel pain.
Physiotherapy. A good physiotherapist will evaluate the root cause of your aches and create a pain management plan to meet your specific needs. Through a variety of modalities, like mobilization, ultrasound, and other manual techniques, a physio can help ease your suffering and reduce joint pain. Make sure your physiotherapist does more than hook you up to a machine. They often also prescribe exercises you can do at home to help rebalance issues of muscle weakness or tightness.
Massage Therapy. A registered massage therapist (RMT) is trained to assess musculoskeletal issues through a combination of observation and palpation (touch). Massage can help loosen up tightness, improve blood circulation, and relieve pain. Make sure to give your RMT feedback about the amount of pressure being applied.
Chiropractic. Do you feel like you wish you could just “release” a tight joint that’s causing you restricted mobility and pain? The mainstay of most chiropractors is joint mobilization/adjustments, but while the “cracking” or “popping” sound associated with that work is common, not all chiropractors practice that type of manipulation. It’s important to find the kind of chiropractor that works well for you.
Osteopathy. Osteopaths can help reduce joint pain and inflammation by releasing muscle tension around the affected joints, boosting blood flow, and improving range of movement to the affected joint. They incorporate a variety of techniques to reduce joint pain and inflammation, including gentle articulation, subtle touch therapies, massage, stretch, and joint mobilization.
Exercise. Does your job keep you relatively stationary for hours at a time? If you want to have flexible, healthy joints, you have to move them—it’s as simple as that. If you’re unclear about what exercises you should do, consider consulting with a kinesiologist, rehab therapist, or other qualified movement specialist so they can get you on back on track, without risking injury.
Walking outdoors (a great way to boost the body’s vitamin D supply, which has also been shown to help prevent and treat osteoporosis and osteoarthritis), going for a swim or exercising in warm water (an effective workout that reduces pressure on the joints), or movement practices like yoga or tai chi are all great low-impact activities that will help preserve your joints.
Supplement Your Diet
Supplementing your diet with natural health products is a great way to reduce joint pain and inflammation naturally. SierraSil is a unique natural health supplement, shown to help reduce inflammation, improve athletic performance, and relieve joint pain. SierraSil comes in both capsule and powder form, making it easy to take. You can also use the topical spray for acute relief of pain, and there’s even joint pain relief soft chew treats for your dogs.