Painful jointsYou have over 230 moveable and semi-moveable joints in your body, comprising mainly cartilage, bones, tendons, muscles and ligaments. Painful joints typically revolve around the deterioration of cartilage which normally helps protect the joint and the end of the bones; the once smooth cartilage becomes uneven, causing friction and pitting of the bones. Tendons, ligaments and muscles surrounding the joint weaken and the joint becomes distorted, inflamed, painful and stiff. Cold weather in particular seems to amplify the symptoms of arthritis by constricting tissues, placing more pressure on joints and nerves, leading to greater pain levels, inflammation and stiffness.
InflammationAcute inflammation is immediate; necessary for the healing process to begin and usually resolves very quickly. Chronic inflammation on the other hand, can last for several years, leading to destruction of tissue and thickening and scarring of connective tissues found in joints. While osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout all have their own distinct clinical features, they all have pain and inflammation in common. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation include:
Relieving painful joints and inflammation naturally
- Curcumin, found in Turmeric root, has a long traditional use in Ayurvedic medicine as an anti-inflammatory to reduce arthritic pain. Curcumin is considered the ‘master switch of inflammation’, helping to dampen down the inflammatory response. Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory activity improves joint mobility and relieves stiffness and swelling associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Devil’s claw is traditionally used as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic for rheumatic and muscular conditions, helping to relieve low back and arthritic pain generally, including gout. Clinical research has shown that Devil's claw may relieve joint pain and swelling, and improve mobility and muscular discomfort of the back, neck and shoulders.
- White willow bark and Ginger are traditionally used as analgesics and anti-inflammatories for rheumatic and arthritic conditions, helping to relieve lower back and arthritic pain.
- Tart cherries provide powerful anti-inflammatory support for gout and other arthritic conditions where there is joint pain and inflammation.
- Glucosamine stimulates the production of important structural components that make up joint cartilage, helping to normalise cartilage function and promote cartilage repair. Glucosamine improves symptoms of pain, joint tenderness and joint swelling associated with osteoarthritis. Glucosamine is often combined with chondroitin to maintain ‘shock absorbing’ fluid in joint cartilage and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) to strengthen cartilage.
- Concentrated omega-3’s from fish oil provide a rich source of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Research supports EPA for joint health where it has been shown to increase joint mobility, reduce joint inflammation, swelling and morning stiffness, and provides temporary pain relief for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.