Any progress in natural pain relief is welcome news for millions of adults who struggle with arthritis. A recent study suggests that the spice turmeric may provide some relief.
Researchers in Australia found that taking turmeric supplements relieved knee pain from osteoarthritis more effectively than placebos or standard medications. The outcomes were modest but provide additional support for similar results from previous small studies.
The effects appear to be related to the ingredient curcumin in turmeric that has anti-inflammatory properties. It typically has fewer side effects than many pain medications, and it’s convenient. You can take turmeric as supplements, drink it as tea, or cook with it using powder or sliced roots.
As long as you follow your doctor’s recommendations, turmeric and other forms of natural pain relief can be a beneficial supplement to medical care.
Consider these other healthy changes.
Anti-Inflammatory Diets for Arthritis Pain
There is no one food or diet that will cure arthritis. However, many foods are known to increase or decrease inflammation. What you eat and what you avoid can make a big difference.
Consider these recommendations:
1. Eat whole foods. Highly processed items like hot dogs and candy are a major cause of inflammation. Get most of your calories from foods rich in nutrients and fiber, including vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
2. Limit sugar. The added sugar in foods can trigger inflammation too. Check labels and drink water instead of sweetened beverages.
3. Choose healthy fats. The American Heart Association recommends getting no more than 6% of your daily calories from saturated fats. Cut back on red meat, and enjoy more olive oil, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.
4. Drink tea. The polyphenols in tea can reduce inflammation and other symptoms of arthritis. Smart choices include ginger, chamomile, and green teas.
5. Lose weight. Being overweight stresses your joints. Losing just 10 pounds can take 30 or more pounds of pressure off your knees with each step you take. Adopt sensible eating habits you can stick with, like watching portion sizes and preparing meals at home rather than dining out.
Other Natural Methods for Relieving Arthritis Pain
Along with a nutritious diet, exercise and other healthy habits can slow down arthritis too.
Try these techniques:
1. Work out. Exercise tones your body, building up muscle and reducing fat. Design a balanced fitness program with strength training, cardio activities, full body stretches, and balance exercises. Check with your doctor if you’ve been sedentary or have safety concerns.
2. Apply heat. Both heat and cold can relieve pain, so experiment to see what works for you. Buy heat packs and other items at your local drugstore or make your own versions at home, like microwaving a damp towel in an open zip lock plastic bag.
3. Wear a patch. Look for pain relieving patches and creams with natural ingredients. For example, many brands use capsaicin, the same ingredient that makes chili peppers hot.
4. Reduce stress. Relaxation activities have helped many patients dealing with arthritis or other forms of chronic pain. Changing the way you think about physical sensations can make you more comfortable too.
Appropriate medical care and positive lifestyle changes can help you protect your joints and make arthritis easier to live with. Talk with your doctor about turmeric and other natural methods for pain relief to make sure they’re safe for you.