Chronic joint pain affects millions of Americans every year. And while conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and physical injuries may be to blame, they aren’t the only identifier. So what else can cause joint pain and how can you overcome it? Before you reach for an over-the-counter drug for temporary relief, let’s talk about long-term solutions.
Think about the last time you ate a greasy meal. You may have enjoyed it during the moment, but felt lethargic and uncomfortable afterward. And if you consistently eat foods cooked with excess oil, you could be on your way to a more serious condition like heart disease or diabetes. It’s no secret that what we put into our body impacts our health and quality of life. This rings true for joint pain as well.
Foods with processed sugar, gluten, or refined carbohydrates, for instance, aggravate the gut and cause inflammation in the body. As a result, you may experience limited mobility, stiffness, and joint pain. Luckily, there are many foods you can eat that help ease the symptoms of joint pain. If you’re new to an anti-inflammatory diet, adding salmon, berries, and leafy greens into your diet is a great place to start.
Incorporate low-impact exercises
If you have access to a physical therapist, they can guide you through a variety of ways to strengthen the muscles around the joints and improve your range of motion. No PT? No problem. There are plenty of low-impact workouts you can do from the comfort of your home or outdoors that don’t put added stress on your joints. Effective exercises may include biking, swimming, tai chi, or yoga. You may also find comfort in using a brace and taking frequent breaks during exercise. The key is to avoid staying stationary for an extended period of time. So if you’re someone who works at a desk all day, set reminders on your phone to stand up every hour or so and stretch.
Experiment with heat or cold therapy
If you’re searching for quick ways to relieve joint pain, look no further. Heat therapy is practiced widely to ease stiffness, while cold therapy helps reduce swelling. This dynamic duo goes hand-in-hand, so you can switch from one to another throughout the day. For heat treatment, hop in a warm tub for a 20-minute bath or relax on the couch with an electric blanket. For an easy and effective cold treatment, grab a bag of frozen vegetables from the freezer, wrap them in a towel, and apply it to the affected area.
Introduce vitamins and supplements
To naturally fight joint pain, many experts suggest adding vitamins and supplements into your diet. Some supplements can help prevent bones from rubbing against each other and strengthen the joints, while others can potentially reverse cartilage damage that’s already been done. Glucosamine, vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids are just a handful of options. However, you should always consult with your doctor to see if vitamins and supplements are right for you.
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