9 Easy Ways to Natural Pain Relief
Posted on March 21st, 2020
When it comes to pain relief, there are plenty of medications you can take to help relieve your symptoms. But, if you’re dealing with chronic joint pain or the constant pull of arthritis pain, you may want to seek other methods of relief. After all, the anti-inflammatories and pain killers that we often use to treat these conditions have side effects as well. So, if you want to avoid taking pills, but can’t cope with your pain, don’t worry: help is available. Just check out our top 9 tips for achieving natural pain relief. You can also look to the Arthritis Foundation for their 8 Natural Therapies for Arthritis Pain here.
1. Maintain a healthy weight
Carrying extra weight puts extra pressure on your joints. That’s why losing weight is a great, natural way to find relief from arthritis pain—the closer you are to your optimal weight, the less pressure you’ll put on those inflamed joints. And, with reduced pressure, you’ll decrease pain and improve mobility. Not to mention all the other health benefits—especially the ones for your heart—that will come along for the weight-loss ride!
2. Move More Often
Even if you don’t need to lose weight, it’s important to exercise. When you move more, your joints stay flexible, which can help provide relief from arthritis pain. Just bear in mind that not every type of exercise will be helpful. Running can make your joint pain much worse. Swimming and other low-impact activities are better choices. But be sure to clear any new activity with your healthcare provider.
3. Keep it Cool (and Hot.)
There’s nothing like an ice pack for tamping down your joint pain—especially when you’re also dealing with swelling and inflammation. Are your joints stiff because of arthritis? Try a nice warm bath or shower in the morning, to help you loosen up, and engage in heat therapy with a heating pad in the evening hours, especially before bed.
4. Look to the Ancients
If you’re suffering from arthritis pain, consider acupuncture. This is a form of ancient Chinese medicine that involves your therapist inserting tiny needles through your skin. These needles are placed in specific locations (called acupoints) to stimulate your muscles, your nerves, and your blood flow to provide your body with natural painkillers. Anecdotal evidence points to acupuncture’s high success rate, but don’t just take our word for it: The World Health Organization lists acupuncture as an effective therapy for at least 100 conditions—including joint pain, especially if it’s due to osteoarthritis. Here is the WHO report on acupuncture from 1996.
5. Try a Massage
Done properly, the Arthritis Foundation considers massage a great joint pain relief option. It can also help improve your mobility. But you must be very careful with this natural pain relief method. First of all, avoid massages when your arthritis pain is flaring up, as joints may be too sensitive to touch during this period. You should ensure that your massage therapist has experience with arthritis patients. Better yet, get some self-massage tips from your doctor or physical therapist. This will cut down your risk of discomfort, and save you some costly treatments!
6. Tai Chi and Yoga
We’ve already noted that acupuncture, an ancient Chinese medical practice, can help with natural pain relief. Well, guess what? Tai Chi and Yoga, two sports with long histories, are also very helpful with joint and arthritis pain.
Tai chi is a Chinese practice that involves gentle flows, deep breaths, and meditation. Practicing Tai Chi can improve your mood and your range of motion while also reducing your joint pain. Here is a video for Tai Chi for Arthritis here.
Moving from China to India, yoga practice also offers natural pain relief. It’s not surprising really; like Tai Chi, yoga involves flowing motion, meditation and focus on breathing. So, like Tai Chi, practicing yoga can improve your mobility and reduce your joint pain.
7. Work with a Physical Therapist
Many of the therapies we’ve already reviewed involve self-care. But starting physical therapy can help take the pressure off your swollen, inflamed joints. That’s because a trained physical therapist can guide you in proper body positioning. He or she can provide a gentle touch to relieve your pain, and can also get you additional support by recommending braces, splints, and orthotic devices. All of these can reduce stress on your joints, which, in turn, should reduce your pain levels.
8. Add More Power to Your Diet
We’ve talked about losing weight to reduce arthritis pain, and that might mean taking things out of your diet. But there are also foods and supplements you should add to your routine to boost natural pain relief. First off, look at your omega-3 fatty acids intake. Found in fish (or fish oil supplements), these acids minimize joint pain and stiffness.
But don’t stop there: after fish oil, explore GLA (gamma-linolenic acid). You can buy this as a supplement, or find natural sources from botanicals such as hemp seeds (just a side note—hemp seeds contain lots of key nutrients, like GLA. But they don’t contain any cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD).)
But back to foods. If you aren’t in the market for acids, let’s explore your spice rack. Specifically, let’s talk turmeric. You can find this yellow spice at almost any supermarket, and it’s packed with curcumin, a chemical whose anti-inflammatory powers have been known to help fight arthritis pain as identified in this study reported on by Harvard Health Publishing here.
Finally, let’s look at potentially helpful herbs. You could take these in their plant-form, but you’re more likely to find them as supplements. There’s lots of evidence to support the power of herbs as natural pain relievers but always check with your doctor before trying a new supplement, as even herbs can interact with your medications, or cause additional side effects. Once you’re in the clear, consider ginkgo, devil’s claw, bromelain, stinging nettle, and thunder god vine to seek relief from arthritis pain.
9. Time for Topicals
Before we leave you, here’s one last avenue to try when seeking natural pain relief: topical applications. Whether in gel, salve, or lotion form, topicals may help arthritis pain for several reasons. Topical applications were also mentioned in the Arthritis Foundation website link above (found here for easy reference).
Products like Voltaren Gel and capsaicin cream have been known to stimulate your skin’s nerve endings, which triggers your nervous system to reduce pain signals throughout your body. Plus, you can practice self-massage while applying your topicals.
Now, the same principle of self-massage is true when it comes to a CBD lotion (although you should use a spoon or different applicator when applying Cannabidiol CBD salves). But these topicals work a little differently on your skin. Want to learn more? Check out this information on topical CBD and arthritis pain, and explore the effects for yourself with Tanasi’s high-quality range of hemp-extract CBD topicals.