Stop Popping Pills! Learn How Natural Joint Pain Relief Is Possible

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM

Inflammation can be reduced by using natural joint pain reliefDid you know that natural joint pain relief can increase your quality of life? A multitude of research tells us that nearly everyone experiences joint pain at some time in their lives. Whether this joint pain comes from accidents, infections, aging, or some other cause, one thing is certain: Everyone wants relief quickly. There are a number of ways to get this relief. Prescription pain relievers are possibly the fastest means of stopping, or at least easing, joint pain. If you do not want to pop a pill, or you are concerned about side effects or interactions with other medications, there are options in natural joint pain relief.

How To Get Natural Joint Pain Relief

Medication-free pain relief is not only ice and/or heat, even though they are good options. Keeping in mind the influence of inflammation on your pain, there are other ways to get the natural joint pain relief you want. One option is acupuncture. Scientific studies have shown mixed results. However, 2013 research showed relief from fibromyalgia pain. Insurance is not likely to cover this procedure, but several shortly spaced out visits may be all that is needed to achieve the best results.

Studies have shown water activities like swimming and even water aerobics to be effective in lessening pain related to osteoarthritis of the knees and legs. These activities assist the increase of flexibility and strength in a low-impact manner. In 2015, a study conducted in the Netherlands showed pain relief from osteoarthritis of the knee using a 45-minute aquatic circuit training session.

The use of topical pain relievers with capsaicin may provide meaningful relief. A study, from Case Western Reserve University, showed 80% of subjects using capsaicin cream, four times a day, for two weeks, reported less pain from arthritis. Capsaicin is the product that imparts the heat to hot peppers. Dietary supplementation with glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate may also bring pain relief. A 2015 review of research literature suggested this combination to offer natural joint pain relief to people with osteoarthritis of the knee. Using these substances is nearly risk-free, so they are worth trying.

Other supplements that may help with inflammation include curcumin, bromelain, and quercetin. It should be noted however, that while most people may find these supplements discussed above as benign, with little to no side effects, this is often not the case with those suffering from advanced adrenal fatigue. If this story resonates with you, then it is recommended to proceed with caution and to start slowly.

Other supplements, notably omega-3 fatty acids such as found in fish oil, can bring relief from inflammation that is involved in joint pain. Research has shown reduced use of NSAIDS in people with rheumatoid arthritis who take omega-3 supplements. One 2015 study, from Thailand, suggested decreased joint pain from osteoarthritis patients who consumed 1,000 mg of fish oil supplements daily for eight weeks.

Natural joint pain relief can be in physical forms as wellTai chi, a low-impact martial art, has been shown to strengthen muscles surrounding joints, making it a great natural joint pain relief. In a 2013 review of research, including seven randomized controlled trials, it was determined that 12 weeks of practicing tai chi decreased pain symptoms in people with osteoarthritis. Wrapping your knees at night may decrease joint swelling and pain if you have osteoarthritis. Also, wearing an over-the-counter knee brace during the day will provide extra support and may lead to less pain in the joint.

Stress, Adrenal Fatigue, and Joint Pain

Research into stress shows that the human body responds to stress from any source in the same way. Stress activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, ultimately resulting in the release of cortisol, the body’s natural anti-inflammatory hormone, from the adrenal glands. One of cortisol’s jobs is to help reduce stress in the body by decreasing inflammation. Joint pain is a source of stress for the body. The body responds in its typical way, releasing cortisol. When the body is in pain, inflammation is typically both a result and a cause. Cortisol fights this inflammation, easing the ache that comes with joint pain. With continuing stress, more and more cortisol is needed to help the body handle it adequately. The adrenal glands are stimulated to release more and more cortisol, until they reach the point of being overwhelmed by the need. At this point, adrenal fatigue sets in, cortisol levels decrease, inflammation increases, and pain from joints increases. The diminished anti-inflammatory effect from low cortisol is a contributing factor to increased pain. The rise in unwanted toxic metabolites circulating, in the bodies of those with adrenal fatigue, also worsen existing pain.

Conventional medicine often doesn’t recognize adrenal fatigue due to its having such broad and nonspecific symptoms. Physicians unfamiliar with adrenal fatigue typically diagnose “stress” and recommend rest as the way to remedy it. They don’t realize the connection between joint pain, stress, and cortisol that can lead to adrenal fatigue. Likewise, traditionally trained physicians don’t realize adrenal fatigue can also lead to very debilitating states in their patients. Patients who aren’t able to move well physically typically experience pain more acutely than those who are able to move physically. A lack of knowledge leads to incomplete treatment.

A More Comprehensive View Of Stress And Its Treatment

Conventional medicine has adopted an organ oriented approach to assessing and treating diseases and conditions, including stress and its results. This viewpoint sees the neuroendocrine system as the main pathway for the body to deal with stress. However, there is a more thorough viewpoint. Functional medicine looks at disease from a system orientation, which includes various organs interrelated in response to diseases and stress. This NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response viewpoint doesn’t examine and treat only symptoms and isolated organs. It takes the entire body system and the relationships of various organs into consideration. This holistic approach understands the need to restore balance among the multiple organs in the body in order to handle the stress response adequately. One of the major components of this systemic approach is the metabolic system. The metabolic system governs the body’s inflammatory responses.

Natural joint pain relief includes the use of fish oil.Because it is the body system most involved in the treatment of the joint pain-stress-cortisol relationship, and it can ultimately lead to adrenal fatigue. Correctly evaluating this metabolic system will lead to the most appropriate treatment of the effects of stress on the body. This treatment could include adequate nutritional supplements to ensure the body gets appropriate fuel and operates effectively. Our body also may require a way to detoxify itself in order to decrease inflammation. Toxins in our overall system may lead to increased pain experiences. Joints are often affected by inflammation that results in pain. Detoxifying the body leads to joint pain relief.

Those who are in advanced stages of adrenal fatigue have to be very careful with any detoxification or natural method of pain control.

Most prescription pain medications are broken down by the liver. Advanced sufferers of AFS often have congested liver concurrently. The more drugs are taken in, the harder the liver has to work. This can lead to retoxification reaction as the liver congestion becomes overbearing. Adrenal crashes may be triggered. In severe cases, one can be bedridden or housebound. Those who are contemplating detoxification as a way to reduce pain have to also consider the risk that excessive detoxification can lead to what is known as retoxification reaction which can worsen existing pain.

Pain control is a very challenging issue from the natural medicine perspective. Natural compounds are generally much weaker than prescription medicine in terms of efficacy. Once the body is accustomed to strong prescription pain medication and has developed a tolerance, it will not accept natural compounds easily.

© Copyright 2016 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Natural joint pain relief can be an easy exercise like Tai Chi