It is quite incredible how much chronic joint pain can affect your quality of life. It can just start suddenly bothering you; you crouch down to get something from a low cupboard, or you twist around in your car to check your blind spot, or you just try to use your computer mouse, and you feel stabbing shooting pain and your body seizes up. What is going on?
Many of us would like to think that something like joint pain doesn’t affect that many people, especially if you are younger and generally healthy. You might have thought that it wasn’t something you had to worry about until you were well past retirement age.
Unfortunately your body actually starts to deteriorate from around the time you turn 40, and the general effects of ageing start to become more apparent from then on. If you have worked in physical industries or played sport throughout your life something like joint pain is likely to take its toll on you even sooner.
But I don’t mean to be all doom and gloom. It’s not all downhill from here. If you understand your joint pain you can implement some easy natural steps to start taking care of it.
What is joint pain?
Joint pain occurs funnily enough in the body’s joints, including elbows, wrists, shoulders, neck, hips, knees and ankles. It can be caused by injury to the tendons, ligaments or bones and cartilage in and around the joint. It may be a sign of illness or infection, or could be the beginnings of a condition such as osteoarthritis.
The first step with chronic pain of any kind is to not ignore it. You could be hoping that it is something very minor, possibly just a strain, and will go away pretty quickly. And you might be right. But if day after day with just normal use your joint pain continues to bother you then it’s definitely something you should be paying more attention to.
What does it feel like?
• Redness or swelling
• Heat in the joints
• Tenderness or weakness
• Stiffness or locking
• Restricted range of movement
Some ways that joint pain can limit your life
If you suffer from joint pain, your life can be affected in the following ways:
If you start to suffer from chronic joint pain and you work in a very physical job such as construction or farming then you can pretty much write off being able to work unaffected anymore. But even if you work in an industry that requires you to stand all day like nursing or retail, or one in which you sit all day like driving or office work, you will find that you are no longer be able to this for long periods without stiffness or crippling pain.
Joint pain can stop you from being able to drive, either by stopping you from getting in and out of the car, sit with your knees and ankles bent for any length of time, brake with any strength, and do things like twist your body to look around properly.
If you are any kind of avid sportsperson you may suddenly be very limited in what you can do. Joint pain can prevent you from any exercise such as running or aerobics which involves impacting on the joints.
4. Spending time with your kids
Especially if you have little children, you will become suddenly aware of how short they are, and how often you need to bend or crouch down to talk to them. Just the simple act of trying to get down on the floor to play a game becomes agony. You can no longer play sport with your kids, get things out of their drawers or pick up the endless puddles of toys around your house.
5. Doing housework or gardening
While we are talking about picking up toys, think of all of the other things around your house that you won’t be able to do, such as putting away dishes, vacuuming, hanging out washing, washing your car or gardening.While the idea of no more housework might sound good to some, these chores will still be there waiting even if you can’t face them.
6. Leisure activities
There are so many tiny little actions that we do every day that we take for granted until we can’t do them anymore. And simple, essential things like relaxing, reading or watching TV may be greatly impacted if there are body positions you can no longer negotiate.
You may find your sleep very interrupted if you can’tstay in certain positions for very long or accidentally roll into a position that really doesn’t work for you. People with chronic joint problems can also suffer from their bodies seizing up and cramping in the wee hours, which really doesn’t encourage peaceful or rejuvenating sleep.
Some natural ways that you can help your joint pain
Over the counter medications such as anti-inflammatories and pain relief may help to some extent, but many people will find they don’t actually provide long-term help. You can only take a certain amount of these before you reach daily maximum limits, so they may not be effective for chronic pain.
The following natural options could help:
1. Heat and cold packs
Alternating heat packs and ice packs for fifteen minute periods can lessen the swelling and help relieve the pain. Most people report that this helps them to some extent, even more than OTC drugs can.
2. Magnesium soaks or supplements
Magnesium is great for your joints and has been proven to lessen pain and improve movement. Magnesium is a natural mineral which is needed by the body for movement, heartbeat and hormones, and up to 80% of adults are deficient in this nutrient. You can take magnesium orally every day, and you can also soak in a bath of a product like Epsom salts which is very high in magnesium.
3. Glucosamine or Chondroitin supplements
These are substances naturally found in healthy cartilage;so many people find taking daily supplements of these will provide great benefits.
4. Stretching and strength training
A program of daily stretches and resistance training that is tailored for your specific condition can really help to strengthen your body, increase your range of movement and reduce pain. You should consult a doctor or physical therapist about a plan that is best for you, but there is also a lot of advice about gentle strengthening exercises online. Just be careful not to push your body more that it can handle.
5. Gentle exercise
While rest is good for your joints, gentle movement is extremely good for it too. Lack of movement can make the effects of joint pain worse and possibly more permanent. Just some easy walking every day can help, or non-impact exercises like swimming or bicycling can be great too.
6. Essential Oils
Applying the right essential oil to the area can do wonders. You can rub it straight on your skin in a massage oil, or add it to a bath and soak your joints. Lavender helps for stress and tension on your joints, peppermint is good for joint swelling. Other excellent oils you can try include eucalyptus, orange, turmeric, frankincense and myrrh (they didn’t call them the Wise Men for nothing!)
7. Omega-3 Fatty Oils
Fatty oils such as those found in oily fish have been proven to relieve chronic joint pain by having an anti-inflammatory effect. You can increase your daily intake of these foods naturally, or you can take supplements which will ensure you are getting the amount that you need. Other good sources include nuts like walnuts, and things like chia seeds.
In general you can also improve your diet by reducing processed sugars and trans-fats as these things can increase inflammation in the body.
Simple changes can save you from chronic pain
You can also make other changes to your life to help chronic pain, such as manipulative therapy, acupuncture, and if necessary diet and weight loss. But the easiest and most effective changes you can make are with natural treatments and supplements; for more advice on what can assist you talk to Eric’s expert staff today. At the very least just don’t ignore the pain anymore.