The human body is an amazing and hard working system. If there is a break down inside, the body has to work harder to correct or compensate for the break down. At times this process can result in discomfort for us. For example, a fever is usually the body’s response to a virus or infection. Our body heats up to prevent that virus or infection from replicating itself. Similarly, inflammation is an immune response initiated by the body. This immune response aims to eliminate whatever it is that is causing damage to our cells. Although it is a necessary process for cell regeneration, chronic inflammation can lead to disease.
Chronic inflammation and joint pain are caused by many things including injury and arthritis. Whether chronic or acute, the symptoms usually come in the form of pain, swelling, redness and heat. While you can try to mask the symptoms with pain killers, there are natural healing methods that can help decrease and even eliminate your discomfort. We have put together our top 5 healthy living techniques to help you reduce your inflammation and joint pain. Most of these tips can even be implemented from the comfort of your own home.
When your body is busy digesting hard to process items, or even foods that your body is sensitive to, inflammation is often the outcome. While many of us have unique food sensitivities, there are some general items that are better to consume while others are best to avoid. If you suffer from inflammation that leads to joint pain you should increase your intake of things like turmeric, ginger, garlic, and essential oils like Omega – 3 which all contain natural anti-inflammatories. On the flip side, you should avoid things like processed sugars, MSG, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, saturated fats and Omega – 6 fatty acids (which are found in most oils). Not only are these foods bad for your health they also lead to inflammation.
The repair and restoration theory of sleep suggests that when the body is asleep it has time to repair and restore physiological and mental functions. Theory or not, we know that sleep is important for your immune system and having a good immune system will help your body combat and reduce levels of inflammation. Conversely, a lack of sleep can lead to an increase in inflammation, poor circulation and increased irritability which will all impact on your ability to cope with your pain and discomfort levels.
Keeping optimal circulation in your body is a good way to decrease joint pain as well as inflammation. Look for activities that are easy on your joints like swimming or Tai Chi. If you do not exercise regularly the result will usually be stiffness which will lead to more discomfort. The trick is to keep your activity levels consistent so the pain doesn’t increase. Exercise also helps to strengthen the muscles around your joints and will make it easier for you to fall asleep at night. If you are putting extra weight onto your joints, exercise is also a great way to help reduce this added strain.
Things like taking a warm bath, applying a heated blanket, a hot water bottle or a hot pack for 20 minutes a day can help to relax your joints and decrease the pain you are experiencing. The heat should be warm but not so hot that it is uncomfortable. Adding Epsom salts to your bath can also help reduce stiffness and pain. Epsom salts contain magnesium which is a natural anti-inflammatory. Your skin is able to easily absorb the magnesium from the bath water making it an excellent and soothing way to decrease swelling. Be sure to rinse the Epsom salts off when your bath is done so that the salt does not dry out your skin.
For those suffering from joint pain due to activity like running or playing sports, ice is a great way to decrease swelling and has a natural numbing effect. If your joint pain is acute and the result of isolated events, this is a great way to temporarily reduce the discomfort. If you have a healthy body, your acute pain should disappear over a few days once your muscles repair and strengthen themselves.
Although not all bodies react the same way to the same treatments, it’s worth giving these general techniques a try to help reduce your levels of discomfort and hopefully put you on a path to recovery.
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