Joint Pain

Joint disorders | October 5, 2017 | Author: Naturopath

Pain

Joint Pain

Experiencing pains in your joints is a common occurrence. Joint pain, also called arthralgia, can be caused by many things such as arthritis, wear and tear or strain, and may occur in any joint but is particularly common in the shoulder, knees and hips. It may be accompanied by swelling and stiffness, be warm to touch, and be acute or chronic. This article will discuss common causes of joint pain and natural therapies to help.

Common Causes of Joint Pain

  • Arthritis
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Osteo arthritis
    • Gout
  • Over-use or repetitive strain
    • Tendinitis
  • Viruses such as the influenza bacterial infection

Acute

Joint painPain that comes on quickly is often caused by an injury, over-use/repetitive strain or illness such as the flu.
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Chronic

Chronic joint pain can be associated with other illnesses and can cause long-term issues. Some chronic conditions are often found to be rheumatic, meaning it affects not only the joint but also the bones and muscles as in rheumatoid arthritis or osteo arthritis, but could also be caused by other systemic illnesses such as gout or lupus.

Arthritis

Arthritis is an umbrella term describing joint damage, swelling, discomfort and pain. It can affect any body at any age and be caused by over 100 different disorders or diseases. Common types of arthritis are Osteo arthritis, Rheumatoid and Gout.

Osteo arthritis most often affects the joints of the knee, hip, small bones of the hands and at the base of the toe. It is a common chronic painful disease associated with inflammation to the joint and surrounding soft tissue, cartilage damage and bony growths within the joint. It is most often caused by repetitive strain, joint injury, and excess weigh/ obesity.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic, autoimmune, inflammatory disorder where the immune system of the body attacks the lining of joints and causes inflammation and damage. RA most usually occurs in the smaller joints of the body such as the hands but can also occur in other larger joints resulting in pain, stiffness, swelling and loss of function in the joint. A rheumatologist will need to diagnose the disease.
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goutGout is a condition that can occur in the any joints of the body but most often affects the big toe and hands. It is caused by a build-up of uric acid in the body that forms crystals, called urate, in the joint causing acute, severe inflammation. Uric acid is a waste product from the breakdown of cells, DNA from our body and the foods we eat.Uric acid is normally excreted by the kidney, but  too much being produced by the body or a slowing down of the excretion processes can lead to an excess  in the blood. Damage to the joint and surrounding bone can occur from frequent attacks of gout.
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Joint repair

Inflammation

No matter what type condition you have that is giving you pain, inflammation will usually always be involved. Inflammation can be a good thing because it lets you and your know there is a problem to be looked at, but it is when the inflammation becomes acute or goes on for too long never quite resolving the cause, becoming chronic, that it becomes a problem. Chronic inflammation along with oxidative stress will result in a change in the joint and disability.
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Herbs and nutrients to help

The following herbs have been evaluated in human studies for joint disorders

Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) BS, a herb from Ayurveda medicine used traditionally for centuries to treat arthritic inflammation. In recent human studies it was found to improve function, reduce pain and signs of inflammations in people with arthritis of the hand induced by work-related overstraining. A combination of Curcuma longa and BS was proven to be safe and efficient in patients with osteoarthritis, alleviating symptoms and signs, even better than celecoxib (a selective COX-2 inhibitor) with practically no side effects. Boswellia was not, however, found to help in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
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TurmericTurmeric (Curcuma longa) Diferuloylmethane (curcumin), is the yellow phenolic pigment that is the active phytochemicals which has been found to have a multitude of beneficial actions in various diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, inflammation and oxidative stress due to its ability to positively influence a variety of signaling pathways and mediators.
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Horsetail (Equisetum arvense), has been traditionally used as an anti-inflammatory. The active ingredient, kynurenic acid, is thought to be responsible for its anti-inflammatory effects and also as a pain reliever, anti-oxidant and an ability to inhibit the proliferation of synoviocytes, especially beneficial for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

Devils claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is a native plant from South Africa that has been approved by Commission E for the use in osteoarthritis. In human studies, Harpagophytum procumbens, significantly improved pain, movement limitation, and joint crepitus in osteoarthritis subjects. 

Ginger (Zingiber officinalis). Taking 1 gram a day for three months reduced the serum level of nitric oxide and high-sensitivity reactive protein (hs-CRP) in patients with knee OA, helping reduce inflammation and alleviating pain. Ginger has been traditionally used for joint disease.
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Fish oil/Krill Oil. There is substantial evidence proving the value of taking fish oil supplements, and eating fish to improve inflammation.
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Herbs and nutrients to helpGlucosamine and chondroitin make the structural components of cartilage, the soft tissue between joints and at the end of bones,that cushion joints. Cartilage can wear down, as in the case of osteoarthritis, and cause pain, swelling, stiffness and inflammation. Glucosamine and chondroitin are made by the body but taking supplements of glucosamine and/or chondroitin (1500mg and 800mg) long term has been found to help joint pain and may help reduce joint space narrowing.
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Products used topically

Application of a topical product not only can relieve discomfort, but also the soothing effect of rubbing can be beneficial. Products found to be helpful include:

Arnica (Arnica montana) this herb has a history of use for trauma, strain and inflammation of joints and muscles. It is for topically application. In an open multicentre trial, a gel prepared form Arnica montana fresh plant was tested in knee OA and proven to alleviate symptoms, improve functionality, and to be well tolerated.
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Comfrey (Symphytum officinalis) may be beneficial as a soothing cream applied topically to reduce pain and increase joint mobility.
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References

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/arthritis

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/osteoarthritis

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/rheumatoid-arthritis

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/gout

 Phytomedicine in Joint Disorders https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5295114/

Omega‐3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and inflammatory processes: nutrition or pharmacology? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3575932/

Glucosamine and chondroitin for knee osteoarthritis: a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial evaluating single and combination regimens. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24395557

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