Most joint stiffness and pain is due to inflammation, and is why it is often referenced in conjunction with arthritis, an inflammatory disease. When there is inflammation around the joints, it causes stiffness, pain, and limited mobility. So naturally, we need to find ways to help reduce or eliminate this inflammation. Here are some tips on how to help relieve joint pain, stiffness, and even arthritis:
- Pay attention to what you eat. What you put inside your body plays a very large role in how your body feels. I highly recommend keeping a food journal, noting the ingredients when possible, and discussing your diet with a nutritionist. Certain foods can cause inflammation, especially if you have an allergy or sensitivity to certain ingredients. It is how I found out that I am sensitive to Cayenne pepper and consuming it causes my joints, especially my wrists, to stiffen up and limit my mobility. For others, it may be something as common as dairy that is causing their joint stiffness and pain. Discuss it with your nutritionist and maybe even take a food allergy test.
- Eat foods that are known to be anti-inflammatory. Turmeric and ginger are both well known for being anti-inflammatory. Adding them to meals or even drinking them as spicy teas have shown to have great effects on relieving joint stiffness and pain. Omega-3s are also great for not only its anti-inflammatory effects, but at lubricating your joints, allowing them to move more freely and painlessly. Taking high quality and high potency fish oil supplements are a great option if consuming salmon, sardines, flaxseed, or even walnuts is not on your regular daily meal plans. Another great source to consume on the regular? Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Drizzle it on your meals, cook with it, or even rub it on your joints for some great joint stiffness relief. (P.S. I use olive oil as my oil for massages on clients for the added health benefits too!)
- Soak in Epsom Salt. Epsom salt is high in magnesium sulfate, which helps reduce pain and inflammation. Soaking your wrists, or ankles in a bowl or bucket of warm water and Epsom salts (mixed), or if it’s your knees, hips, back, or shoulders, fill your bathtub with warm water and several cups of Epsom salts and soak for 15-20 minutes to help reduce the inflammation and decrease your pain. This is also great for relieving sore muscles.
- Use Essential Oils. Take some of the olive oil (or coconut, almond, or grapeseed oil) and add 5-10 drops of peppermint oil and 5-10 drops of eucalyptus oil. Blend together and then gently rub it over your stiff joints to help relieve the pain as a soothing and cooling agent. Plus it smells good.
- Tape it up. Have your physical therapist or massage therapist apply Kinesio tape (K-Tape) on you. K-Tape is a rehabilitative taping technique that can be applied in hundreds of ways and has the ability to re-educate the neuromuscular system, reduce pain and inflammation, optimize performance, prevent injury and promote good circulation and healing, and assist in returning the body to homeostasis. It is best used in conjunction to other forms of pain and joint stiffness treatments and prevention to help guide in the body’s healing process.
- Movement and exercise. Like the commercial says; ”a body in motion, stays in motion”. When your joints are stiff and feel painful, it is hard to think about moving them, but that is exactly what you should do. Moving your joints helps lubricate them. When your joints are inactive, the synovial fluids that surround your joints are like a thick gel-like substance. When you move them, you warm up the fluids into a more liquid form, allowing your joints to glide more smoothly are freely. Taking walks, doing yoga, or even Tai Chi are all great, low impact forms of exercise and movements that aid in keeping you moving.
- Try alternative care. Alternative care is a western terminology that is usually in reference to ancient eastern healing modalities, such as Acupuncture and Massage Therapy. Both are great for relieving joint pain and stiffness. Massage is also great for increasing your mobility and range of motion.