If you suffer from hip or knee pain, your first instinct may be to take an ibuprofen or an aspirin for relief. But it turns out that taking an anti-inflammatory drug may actually hurt more than it helps.
In fact, Dr. Richard Bisceglie, a doctor of naprapathy at the Center for Holistic Medicine, says your body is perfectly designed to heal most injuries on its own. For example, swelling around an injury is meant to serve as a cushion, and the sensation of pain is simply the body sending a signal to the brain to pay attention to the injured spot so you don’t reinjure it.
When you get injured, or with a chronic condition such as osteo arthritis, your body goes into an inflammatory state. “Inflammation is a cascade of bio chemical reactions that happen in your body physiologically,” Dr. Biscgelie says, adding that it signals to other types of cells to come to that site and help either heal the injury or reduce the swelling. “NSAIDs (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs) block an enzyme that stops the inflammatory cycle, instead of letting the body finish its course. When you stop taking the medication, the body goes right back to where it was.”
Dr. Bisceglie says when you take an anti-inflammatory medication, you might feel better, but the body hasn’t fully healed, so you may go out and run on your knee again, only to make the problem worse.
Instead, Dr. Bisceglie recommends using natural therapies to lessen the severity of the pain and swelling while still encouraging the body to complete its natural healing cycle.
So what are some natural things you can do to relieve your hip or knee pain without relying on medication?
- Avoid Sugar and White Flour
“Your diet plays a big role in your body’s response to pain,” Dr. Bisceglie says. “And consuming sugar is one of the worst things you can do for inflammation.” According to American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, sugar can trigger the release of cytokines, which send a message to your body to produce more inflammation. That’s why Dr. Bisceglie recommends avoiding refined sugar and simple carbohydrates, such as white flour, and opting for foods that are high in fiber, such as barley or oatmeal, instead. Phytonutrients (nutrients from most fruits and vegetables), are recommended as well.
- Eat More Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Eating good fats — such as the omega 3 fatty acids found in salmon, tuna, walnuts and fish oils — have been proven to reduce inflammation and help with arthritis and joint pain. Omega 3 supplementation is also a good idea.
- Spice Things Up with Tumeric /Curcumin
Whether you sprinkle it onto your favorite dishes or take it in a supplement form, adding turmeric is a great way of reducing the swelling and pain associated with inflammation.
- Take Magnesium
When you injure a joint, Dr. Biscgelie says your body may produce muscle spasms to contract the muscles around the joint to stabilize it, leading to pain and also blocking blood flow to the injured area. Magnesium helps to relax the muscles so you can get back to moving them again. Magnesium is a common nutrient deficiency and is involved in multiple processes.
- Take Glucosomine Chrondroitin with Sulfate
Did you know that glucosamine is derived from animals with shells, such as crabs, lobster and shrimp? Seems like the perfect ingredient if we want to build up our own supply of cartilage between our joints and relieve the pain that comes from bone rubbing against bone.
- Try Naprapathy
Another way to relieve muscle tension is with naprapathy, a type of hands-on, soft tissue manipulation and mobilization, which can improve mobility, direct fluids away from the injured area and bring blood flow back to the joint.
- Stay Active
Although you want to rest after an acute injury, when it comes to chronic pain, keeping your muscles locked up around your joints will only prolong your agony. Gentle stretching and movement is important in relieving muscle tension and getting the blood flowing.
Want to learn more about natural ways to relieve hip or joint pain without medication or invasive surgery? Come to our free workshops on May 17 at 12:30 p.m. or May 31 at 5 p.m. at the Center for Holistic Medicine. Register today!