While a variety of underlying issues can cause aching knees, creaky hips, stiff hands, and other types of joint pain, there’s a high likelihood that inflammation is contributing to joint problems. The next time you feel a twinge, try one of these five natural remedies for joint pain and inflammation.
What Is Good for Joint Pain?
Remedy #1: Turmeric, The Gold Standard of Herbal Treatments
Dr. Minerva Santos, director of integrative medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York, frequently recommends turmeric supplements to patients seeking natural joint pain relief. “I use a lot of turmeric in my practice,” Santos told The New York Times. “It’s an amazing spice.” It’s also backed some seriously impressive studies, like one published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine that found turmeric—in particular, an anti-inflammatory compound it contains called curcumin—eased pain and improved function for individuals with knee osteoarthritis just as effectively as ibuprofen!
Remedy #2: Acupuncture, for Stubborn Pain
After reviewing the results of 29 studies with a combined total of nearly 18,000 participants, an international cohort concluded that acupuncture offers real relief for chronic joint and muscle pain. Western scientists see the benefits of acupuncture as stemming from its effects on neurotransmitters, hormone levels, and/or the immune system. If your joint pain doesn’t respond to other treatments, you should definitely consider acupuncture.
Remedy #3: Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), the Supplement Thousands Swear By
Quite a mouthful—and the reason why most people simply call this joint pain-quelling superstar MSM. This organic sulfur compound occurs naturally in vegetables, fruits, grains, and within the human body. Relatively little research has been conducted on MSM to date, but the findings have been quite encouraging. According to one Japanese study, taking MSM for just 13 weeks can significantly decrease cartilage degeneration in the knee joints. It’s worth noting, too, just how many people swear by MSM as the best of the natural remedies for joint pain.
Remedy #4: Epsom Salt, a Proven Way to Soothe Joints and Muscles
Wondering what’s good for joint pain and muscle pain? Epsom salt! Which, as it happens, isn’t salt at all but a kind of mineral compound made up of magnesium and sulfate. Soaking in an Epsom salt bath can bring immediate relief to sore, stiff joints and muscles. According to Amy Baxter, MD, founder and CEO of MMJ Labs and clinical associate professor with the Medical College of Georgia, one reason for the pain relieving power of Epsom salt baths is that they allow your body to absorb magnesium, and magnesium blocks receptors in your brain that process pain signals, consequently decreasing the amount of pain you feel.
Remedy #5: Capsaicin, a Hot Topical Treatment
No list of joint pain relief home remedies would be complete without capsaicin. The same substance that makes hot peppers hot can be used topically to relieve joint pain due to arthritis and other causes. A study carried out by researchers from Case Western Reserve found that after using capsaicin cream four times a day for two weeks, 80 percent of participants reported a clear decrease in the amount of pain their osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis caused them.