Arthritis is a condition that most personal trainers and coaches work with (or around) on a regular basis. In my experience, a person’s ability to exercise with arthritis and joint pain depends not just on the degree of discomfort but on:
- experience with exercise and experience with ordinary (non-arthritic) exercise discomfort
- motivation to exercise
- belief in the power of exercise as a part of arthritis/joint therapy
- positive or negative past training experiences and joint reactions
- how well the joint pain and inflammation is being managed
- just basically how much of a brick shithouse one is….
Now, to point #5 – how well is your joint pain being managed? You probably know you shouldn’t pop an Advil every time you stub your toe, but if you are living with daily joint pain, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are the typical prescription for pain and inflammation relief. Managing a condition shouldn’t mean treating the symptoms at the risk of all other bodily concerns.
What happens when you take NSAIDs day in, day out? Oh, just the degeneration of your entire gastrointestinal system. You know…
So if you are battling arthritis, or acute joint pain, or perhaps just feel a little creakier than you did in your (ahem) younger days, consider a natural alternative to treat your inflammation. What? Better than drugs? Yup, better than drugs.
According to Meschino Health, “small clinical trials indicate that many of these natural agents provide similar efficacy as conventional anti-inflammatory drugs, and are safer to use with respect to reported adverse side effects.”
So spare your joints and your stomach and intestines (which, by the way, need to be in pretty good shape to absorb all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that will help keep your muscles & joints healthy). Talk to your ND or GP, and try these natural supplements, proven to reduce pain & inflammation in arthritic joints. Remember, natural remedies are powerful (that’s the point of this article, right?) so speak to your doctor because they can interfere with other drugs you may be taking.
Curcumin − is the active anti-inflammatory agent found in the spice turmeric. A large double-blind study demonstrated that curcumin was as effective as the powerful anti-inflammatory drug, phenylbutazone in reducing pain, swelling and stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis patients. It has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of post-surgical inflammation. Other studies indicate that curcumin can lower histamine levels and is a potent antioxidant. These factors may also contribute to its anti-inflammatory capabilities.
Boswellia − In clinical studies, the gum resin of the boswellia tree (yielding 70% boswellic acids) has been shown to improve symptoms in patients with osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Boswellia appears to have no important side effects or drug-nutrient interactions of concern.
White Willow Bark Extract − provides anti-inflammatory phenolic glycosides, such as salicin, which have been shown to be effective in the treatment of arthritis, back pain, and other joint inflammatory conditions. White willow extract has been shown to be slower acting than ASA, but of longer duration in effectiveness.
Ginger Root Extract− contains oleo-resins that have shown clinical benefit in the management of various arthritic and muscle inflammation problems, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and myalgias. There are no reports of bleeding disorders with ginger supplementation and no adverse drug –nutrient interactions have been reported in the scientific literature to date.
Bromelain − contains anti-inflammatory enzymes that have proven ability to suppress the inflammation and pain of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, sports injuries, and other joint inflammatory conditions. Bromelain also helps to break down fibrin (fibrinolytic), thereby minimizing local swelling.
Quercetin − is a bioflavonoid compound that blocks the release of histamine and other anti-inflammatory enzymes at supplemented doses. Although human studies with arthritic patients are lacking at this time, anecdotal evidence is strong for this application as is experimental research investigation. There are no well-known side effects or drug-nutrient interactions for Quercetin.
Devil’s Claw − contains the anti-inflammatory agent harpogoside. Devil’s claw has demonstrated efficacy in the management of low back pain and is used traditionally as an anti-inflammatory by numerous southern African tribes. The only consistently reported side effect is mild digestive upset on rare occasions.
Do you use any natural supplements to treat joint pain and/or arthritis? Share! I mean, share below. You can keep your meds to yourself.