If you have arthritis or joint pain from other causes, you are most likely familiar with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). NSAIDs reduce inflammation and relieve pain without the use of steroids.
Many common pain-relief medications on the market today are NSAIDs. However, regular use of these drugs can cause serious health problems, such as gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney damage, and even heart failure. For these reasons, many people with chronic pain–such as the pain caused by arthritis–search for safer solutions. Fortunately, there are many options for people who want to reduce or eliminate their use of NSAIDs.
What medications can you take to manage joint pain?
NSAIDs are not the only medications available to help with chronic pain. For example, acetaminophen has not been linked to heart problems the way that ibuprofen has. Aspirin may have a protective cardiovascular effect and can also relieve pain, but it’s critical to keep in mind that all drugs have their downsides. Opioids are strongly associated with addiction and other problems, but even something as familiar as aspirin can cause ulcers and bleeding in the stomach.
Many arthritis patients seek to find non-drug pain relief methods or natural remedies to combine with their medications, ideally to reduce the amount of the drug that they need to take. Green-lipped mussels also can have anti-inflammatory benefits.
Below are some great alternatives to NSAIDs that don’t involve simply choosing another pill.
Vitamins for managing joint pain
Finding help for your joint pain may be as easy as choosing the right foods at the grocery store. Here are a few of the specific vitamins that may help to protect your joints and bones:
- Vitamin D. People with vitamin D deficiencies may have a higher risk of developing a host of health problems, including arthritis. Even a slight deficiency can lead to joint pain, particularly in the hips and knees.
- Vitamin E. A natural antioxidant, vitamin E may help to slow or prevent the degeneration of the cartilage in your joints. This vitamin also has anti-inflammatory properties, which means that it may help to protect against the varied ailments that inflammation can cause.
- Vitamin B12. You probably know that vitamin D and calcium are essential for strong bones, but did you know that B12 is, too? Turn to B vitamins for a boost, including B12, B6, B2, and folate.
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps the body in a long list of ways. People with joint pain may be especially interested to learn that this vitamin appears to have natural analgesic properties and may be a key component of your chronic pain treatment regimen.
- Omega-3s. Because omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, they are excellent for reducing joint pain. You can add more omega-3s to your diet with a high-quality supplement or by adding plenty of foods that contain these compounds to your diet, such as fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds.
(The right kind of) exercise can help too
For people with arthritis pain, exercise is essential. Regular movement can help build your strength, increase your flexibility, and boost your energy. The problem is that when your joints are already stiff and achy, the last thing that you want to do is exercise. Fortunately, there are non-strenuous options that can help in achieving noticeable pain relief. Something as simple as a quick walk around the block has proven to be helpful exercises in reducing pain.
Your doctor may prescribe specific exercises, such as strengthening exercises, range-of-motion exercises, or aerobic exercises. You can also include more movement in your daily routine, even in small ways—for example, walking your dog, mowing your lawn, or even just parking farther away than you usually would and walking a few extra steps.
You can help protect your joints as you exercise by:
- Sticking to low-impact exercise
- Using heat (hot packs or a warm shower) to help your joints relax before you begin
- Warming up slowly by moving very gently at first
- Taking breaks if your pain worsens
- Applying ice to your joints afterward to help with swelling
Remember to listen to your body and avoid overdoing it. Start any new exercise slowly and gradually add more time or intensity as your body adjusts.
Acupuncture – a wonder for the joints
Acupuncture is a medical modality that’s around two thousand years old and has recently gained modern mainstream acceptance. Proponents of acupuncture believe that essential life energy (Qi) flows through the body through channels called meridians. When this flow of energy becomes unbalanced or blocked, it can lead to pain or illness. Stimulating specific points on the body with needles is intended to correct the energy flow and relieve pain.
While Western medicine does not put much stock in concepts such as meridians and Qi, there are other potential explanations for why acupuncture may be effective at reducing pain. The insertion of a needle into the body may set off a ripple of events, sending a signal to the brain and triggering the release of endorphins and other chemicals thought to relieve pain.
While theories abound, the age-old question remains: what if it’s just a placebo effect? You might be surprised to hear that it may not matter. Safe acupuncture is harmless, and if it makes you feel better and experience less pain, the science behind its impact on the body may be irrelevant. There is enough anecdotal evidence in support of acupuncture that it’s worth trying for many people who are interested in natural pain relief.
Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory
Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. This attribute is precisely why they are so vital in guarding against inflammatory conditions, from arthritis to asthma to heart disease. Inflammation can directly cause pain and swelling, so anything that reduces inflammation may relieve pain in the process. Many people get their omega-3s via a fish oil supplement, but green-lipped mussel oil is gaining popularity fast as people learn more about its considerable benefits.
Green-lipped mussel oil contains a special type of omega-3 not found in fish oil: ETA. ETA is a noteworthy type of omega-3 because it not only reduces existing inflammation but also minimizes the production of inflammatory enzymes, effectively helping to prevent inflammation from developing. Green-lipped mussel oil isn’t just good for people; be sure to read up on the health benefits it provides for dogs as well.
A combination of these natural pain relief methods may be able to provide significant pain relief for arthritis patients. Talk with your doctor and find the right mix of treatments for you. As you do so, make GLX3 your go-to green-lipped mussel oil supplement.