The Wellness Revolution
Suffering with Achy Joints? Natural Recommendations for Pain Relief
Suffering from arthritis, achy or stiff joints? Joint pain can lead to a poor quality of life, low mood, and less time spent doing the things you love. Here are my top 5 simple strategies for managing pain and preventing it in the future.
Arnica. Available in a cream, gel, or homeopathic preparation; Arnica is a plant native to Europe. It possesses many healing properties, including anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. It has been used topically for ages in Western herbalism to relieve arthritic joint pain and reduce muscle aches. It is also indicated for bruises, sprains, strains, tendonitis, and plantar’s fasciitis.
Castor oil. Derived from the castor bean, the medical use of the extracted oil dates back to ancient Egyptian times. When applied topically to joints it relieves pain associated with osteoarthritis, heals wounds, and reduces edema (swelling). Castor oil is a potent laxative and therefore should only be used topically.
Turmeric. Native to India, turmeric or curcuma longa is an herb used in many Asian cuisines and herbal medicines. Turmeric is used as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. At therapeutic dosages, turmeric aids in relieving pain associated with arthritis with few negative side effects. Turmeric is also antimicrobial and soothes the digestive tract making it helpful for digestive upset and chronic digestive concerns such as colitis.
Ginger. A pungent herb that has proven useful in a variety of medical concerns ranging from nausea/vomiting to reducing inflammation. Ginger relieves pain and decreases inflammation by down-regulating enzymes and reducing inflammatory messengers. Research has proven ginger to be a safe and effective treatment in osteoarthritis, and unlike NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) which can lead to ulcers with chronic use, ginger protects the digestive tract from ulceration. Ginger supplementation can also be useful in treating migraines, menstrual cramps, and regulating blood sugar in diabetes.
Fish oil. Containing Omega-3 fatty acids, fish is used for a variety of health conditions including depression, obesity, high cholesterol, and painful periods. Omega-3 fatty acids are divided into two specific acids, EPA and DHA. High amounts of EPA are useful in reducing pain associated with inflammation, arthritis, and muscle aches; while DHA is key in brain development, memory, and pregnancy. Eating fish such as tuna, sardines, and salmon twice a week provides the body with a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids; however, if fish aren’t a staple in your meal planning opt to supplement with fish oil. If you’re vegetarian or vegan omega-3 fatty acids can be derived from algae sources.
All of these solutions are available over the counter at your local health food store or grocer. However, it is important to note that some of these natural solutions can interact with certain medications, check with your primary care provider, such as your local naturopath before starting a new health regime or supplement.
Yours in health,
Dr. Kate Klein, ND
About the Author
Dr. Kate Klein is a licensed naturopathic doctor and clinic director at Your Health Collective, an integrative wellness clinic located in the heart of Ajax. Dr. Klein and her team offer services including, naturopathic medicine, holistic nutrition, acupuncture, osteopathy, and psychotherapy to patients of all ages. Practitioners at Your Health Collective provide a collaborative approach to patient care through a variety of natural treatments and solutions for health concerns ranging from disordered sleep, allergies, fertility, headaches, digestive concerns, and much more. We believe that health is more than just the absence of disease; health is when we function at our best through proper nutrition, exercise, a balanced lifestyle, positive emotions, thoughts and actions. For more information about Dr. Klein, naturopathic medicine, or our clinic please visit: www.yourhealthcollective.ca