pain of arthritis in the knees is very bothersome, even sometimes it could be
severe enough to interfere with your daily activities. About 76.2 million of
people in this country suffer from chronic pain, and more than 50% have to do
with arthritis, according to NCHS (the National Center for Health Statistics). OTC
and prescription pain medicines are available. But if you’re looking for something
‘without pills’, the following natural pain relief options may help.
Heat and cold
and cold therapy has long been used as a natural pain reliever for various
conditions, including arthritis. This simply, effective strategy is often helpful
enough to relieve mild pains and aches. Plus, there is almost no downside since
the therapy is less likely to cause side effects.
it’s also important to understand whether cold or heat is the best choice for
is a natural way for pain relief, it is relaxing. Soaking in a steaming, warm
bathtub or shower can help you fell soothed and comforted. It naturally eases
your tense, sore, and stiff muscles – as well as soothes joint pain associated
with arthritis. It boosts your blood flow, improving your body’s circulation.
it’s best for joint pain with stiffness. But it’s not recommended when your
knee joint is already hot, red or irritated. Applying heat on inflamed (hot,
irritated) joint could be counterproductive because heat increases blood flow.
relieves sensation of burning and inflammation. It can help numb areas affected
by arthritis. So it’s best for knee joint pain with inflammation or redness.
It’s not recommended when you joint is stiff.
a cold pack (a bag of frozen veggies or an ice pack) on a swollen knee joint is
also helpful to restore it back down to size. And when the size of swollen
joint decreases, so does the pain.
use heat or cold therapy properly! Make sure the temperature is not
uncomfortably extreme. Temperature extremes may cause skin damage or other
more guidance about what to remember to use heat and cold therapies safely, see more
in this section!
What you eat
school of thought believes that certain foods play a role to help deal with
arthritis pain. Is it fact or myth?
there is still no clear cut answer. But although the link between diet and
arthritis is not fully understood yet, many people with arthritis find that
what they eat often have an effect on controlling their arthritis symptoms.
A number of studies continue to comprehensively observe whether certain foods /spices may have a role in soothing arthritis joint pain and stiffness – and if so, how they work! Here are a few ones that get the attention.
research in 2013, published in the Osteoarthritis and Cartilage showed that
tart cherry might have a positive effect to help improve mild to moderate knee
pain associated with osteoarthritis . Anthocyanin, an
antioxidant, found in tart cherries is probably the key answer. This potent
compound has anti-inflammatory effects.
tuna, salmon, and trout are some fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids
(anti-inflammatory property). Adding them into your diet, 2-3 times a week, is
a good way to help fight inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids are also available
in supplement (if you are not a fan of fish), ask your doctor!
allium family spice contains a potent compound called diallyl disulfide.
Regularly eating garlic or other foods from the allium family (e.g. leeks and
onions) might help reduce the risk of osteoarthritis, according to some studies
Diallyl disulfide is thought to have an effect in blocking cartilage-damaging
a key potent compound found in turmeric, may do wonders for pain associated
with inflammation, including arthritis pain. A review in 2012, published in
IJMS (the International Journal of Molecular Sciences) suggested that curcumin
could provide positive effects in controlling chronic inflammatory-related
turmeric should be used carefully. It could also be counterproductive if used
include cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. These vegetables are high in a
compound called sulforaphane, which is essential to help protect the cartilage
of your knee joint. According to a study involving mice in 2013, published in
the Journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, showed that sulforaphane might
effectively slow down cartilage damage due to osteoarthritis by blocking certain
enzymes that contribute to joint destruction .
more studies are required (it’s an early study), this finding is promising.
Moreover, it’s not bad idea to add cruciferous family vegetables to your
stir-fry or salad, they are high in nutritional properties (e.g. fiber,
vitamins, and minerals) – they’re healthy goodies.
C is a strong antioxidant. A number of studies suggest that vitamin C plays a
role to reduce the risk of osteoarthritis. One study in 2011 published by the
University of South Florida showed that participants who took vitamin C supplements
had 11 percent lower risk of developing osteoarthritis .
vitamin C is involved to make collagen. Collagen is not only essential for your
skin health, but also important to keep your joint strong and healthy since it
is part of cartilage.
C is easy to be found in many various foods (e.g. kiwi, citrus fruits, and some
vegetables). It’s also available in supplement – but ask your doctor first,
because high dose of vitamin C could be counterproductive!
diet is one of the most important pillars to keep your weight off. Maintaining
weight is crucial for people with arthritis.
addition, we are often suggested that alcohol is bad for our overall health.
The same goes for your arthritis prognosis. Drinking alcohol may help soothe
the pain for a while, but actually it will worsen the problem. Too much alcohol
may also impair the body’s ability to repair the damaged cells. Moreover, it
adds more excess calories in your diet (bad for your weight control). So,
restrict or (if possible) avoid alcohol!
Stay at a healthy
does have an effect to your joints, especially knee joints. More excess weight
you gain, more pressure and load on your knee. In fact, being obese /overweight
is one of the most common factors that contribute to knee pain.
more excess fats you gain may stimulate a number of inflammatory mediators — more
fats, more inflammation. So if you’re not at your healthy scale, weight loss
will help a lot to help provide pain relief for arthritis in your knees and
control the disease better.
losing just 10%of the body weight can sometimes carry a significant difference.
For instance, each pound of excess weight you lose may significantly decrease
the load on your knees by about 2-3 pounds or more.
more reasons? Here are other health advantages of weight loss for people with
- Better joint health in long term.
Being at your best scale appears to boost the overall health of your knee joint
function. One study suggests more excess pounds you lose are equivalent to the
improvement of mechanical pressures inside knee joints .
- Sleeping well at night. Sleep
problems can be attributed by many factors, one of them could be
musculoskeletal pain. And sleep deprivation can make the pain worse. Weight
loss (when you’re being overweight /obese) can promote better sleep, so can
- Good for overall health and quality
of your life. It’s undeniable that healthy weight plays a role to promote
health and wellness. And if your body is generally fit, this can help a lot to
deal with your arthritis symptoms and manage the disease better.
- To help keep heart healthy, which
is important for anyone especially people with arthritis. Inflammatory
arthritis (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and gout) increases
the risk of heart disease. And this risk could be much worse if you’re out of
- Weight loss also has been shown
to help reduce costs. Being at your best shape is important to make your
arthritis flare-ups less likely. This means cost savings since you will have
fewer medications for your arthritis.
remember, avoid any extreme ways when it comes to losing weight! Reduce your
excess weight gradually to keep your weight off in long term. If you shed
pounds very fast, you’re more likely to regain weight afterwards. Also,
shedding pounds too fast will lose water, muscle, and bone instead of fat.
Arthritis knee pain may improve with some specific exercises. Exercise is also helpful to improve flexibility, stiffness, and the overall health of your knee joints.
you’re ready for exercise, here are a few examples to explore.
exercise can help improve your balance. With better balance and stability, you
reduce the impacts on your knees.
straight against a wall. Raise one of your legs to the side, keep your toe slightly
in or pointing forward – also, keep straight (don’t lean to stationary side)!
Then lower leg down. Do this 15-20 times for each leg.
aimed to help ease joint stiffness and improve the strength of your leg
a chair or something else to support your body. Stand up straight behind the
chair and make sure both knees are aligned. Lift one foot and bend the knee
toward the buttocks, hold a few seconds and then lower down. Do about 10-25
times on each side!
knee exercise is intended to strengthen muscles surrounding your knees as well
as improve the flexibility of the knees. It is also great to improve your
and then cross your ankles while contracting your thighs (see picture above),
hold about 10-30 seconds. Repeat the same exercise for another side. Do 3-4
sets for each side. You can also try this with your legs outstretched.
glutes is vital to ease the load on the knees, making knee strain less likely.
They are one of your body’s workhorses. So it’s important to keep them strong.
If you’re able for lying exercises, do the following steps.
Lie down on left /right side. Bend your knees (about 9 degrees) with hips, feet, and shoulders aligned. Then lift one of your knees (top knee) as far as you can, and then lower the knee slowly. Do 10-25 times for each knee!
hamstrings are also vital to support the range of motion of your knees. Poor
flexibility of the hamstrings will make your knees work harder.
down with legs outstretched (on your back). Bend the knees, and grab your right
thigh with hands. Slowly pull your right leg toward your chest. Then relax your
arms and the knee is pointed straight up. Now move your right leg straight up
as much as possible. Slowly release and outreach the leg! Repeat this exercise
a few times on each side.
credit to Medicalnewstoday.com
are a few important points to remember:
- Exercise therapy is more
recommended when your knee is ready enough for exercise. It’s usually not
recommended during flare-ups. For more guidance, working with your physician is
your best bet.
- Start your exercise slowly to
reduce the risk of injury or other counterproductive effects. Listen your
body’s signals, don’t push yourself too hard!
- Your training regimes are
adjusted accordingly. Sometimes it’s necessary to stop your exercise for a
while if your pain or other symptoms get worse. So always pay attention to your
What else to help
cope with arthritis pain?
or anti-inflammatory medications are conventional treatments for arthritis pain
in the knees. Since medications carry a number of side effects, don’t rely on
you feel can affect you physically, including arthritis pain. Emotional
reactions (feeling extremely stressed or depressed) may factor into worsening
arthritis symptoms. They can drive you to become less active (sedentary), cause
sleep problems, or inhibit you from committing what you know you need to (e.g.
eating right and taking your medications properly). Also, stress can boost
certain chemicals in the body that provoke inflammation.
some cases, stress can be prevented. But it’s inevitable in most cases.
Whatever it is, it’s manageable! Here are a few helpful tips: