Joint pain can be caused by many different things, from arthritis to bursitis to injury. Even certain diseases like mumps, hepatitis, and the flu can cause troubling joint pain. And with six different types of moveable joints in your body, you’ve got a lot of potential pain points. Whatever the cause or the location, the result greatly impacts your ability to perform throughout the day.
OTC or even prescription medications can help to relieve joint pain, but they come with troubling side effects and can interact with other medications you may take. It’s always best to start with the least invasive method of pain management first and work your way up to the harder stuff if necessary. Luckily, there are several natural herbs that can effectively block joint pain without causing unwanted side effects.
The following are five of the most commonly available herbs that can soothe painful joints. But first, we take a look at the bodily process that actually causes joint pain. (Hint: it points to our bodies’ tendency to take protective actions too far.) Stick with us to the end and you’ll be well-armed with natural analgesics, both topical and oral, that can straight-up improve your quality of life. Many of these may already be hanging out in your pantry.
The Driver of Joint Pain: Inflammation
Inflammation is a complex process that can be both harmful and helpful. It is the body’s response to infection or injury and attempts to isolate the damaged part of the body from other health areas. That response is critical to fighting off foreign invaders. Inflammation is a key component of healing – think of the inflammation you experience after exercise. The result is that your muscles rebuild stronger than ever.
However, chronic inflammation is associated with almost every disease known to man. When left unchecked, inflammation causes more problems than it solves, including crippling joint pain. That’s why popular OTC medications, notably ibuprofen, do more for inflammation than for the pain itself. The following herbs are known to reduce inflammation and swelling, thereby relieving suffering.
You probably have some aloe vera in your cabinets somewhere and reach for it any time you or a loved one has a sunburn. It is also popular for treating small skin abrasions. But aloe can do so much more! It contains more than 75 potentially active components, including aloin and emodin, which act as analgesics to relieve pain. Aloe also contains several powerful anti-inflammatory compounds.
There are a couple of ways that you can use aloe to soothe joint pain. The first is the standard topical application, massaged into the painful areas. Look for aloe gel that has been certified by the International Aloe Science Council. Some generic brands contain little actual aloe or have had the active ingredients damaged by processing.
Second, you can find and take an aloe supplement orally. A capsule is quick and easy to take, but you can also buy pure aloe vera juice that has a mild flavor and integrates nicely into smoothies or shakes. Please note that people who take diabetes medications, stimulant laxatives, or diuretic medications should speak to their doctors before ingesting aloe.