Question: Are there any natural remedies for joint pain? My knees have been hurting and I don't want to rely on a prescription.
Yoga not only helps to strengthen a weakened or injured knee; it can help prevent knee and other joint injuries by promoting proper movement (flexion and extension). Most knee injuries can be attributed to imbalanced alignment, which causes the knee to track improperly and places undo strain on the ligaments. Through the yoga poses, we correct alignment and weight distribution from the feet upwards so that all the muscles in the legs (inner/outer, upper/lower, front/back) can work evenly to create space around the joint, enabling us to safely enjoy full range of motion. Through strengthening weak muscles, lengthening tight muscles, and coordinated muscular actions that exert pressure evenly from all sides, the yoga poses stabilize the joint.
I recommend you attend yoga classes since yoga doesn't work with just one pose but an entire sequence of postures, which in turn strengthen, relax, flex, and extend the joint in a controlled environment. When one joint is out of balance, our posture and other joints are affected. In the case of the knee, oftentimes the strain is caused by stiffness in the hip. In order to relieve strain on the knee, you will need to address mobility in the hip. The proper alignment in each pose is crucial and thus it is recommended to work under the guidance of a qualified yoga teacher.Marla Apt is a certified Iyengar yoga teacher (www.yoganga.com) and President of the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States. To find a certified teacher in your area visit www.iynaus.org
Jennifer Workman, M.S., R.D.Â
If the pain is being caused by inflammation, I would begin by checking your diet for food allergies or sensitivities to foods such as wheat, gluten, dairy, soy, corn, and peanuts, etc., which can cause inflammation in the body and aggravate the joints.
One's lifestyle and cultural background should also be considered. A diet of fast food, refined sugar, and low nutritional value, combined with high stress, can play a role. Many Asian, Latin American, and African American people are lactose intolerant and do not do well on dairy products. Removing these foods while adding organic, nutrient dense foods can help joint pain.
Supplements can also help decrease inflammation. Essential fatty acids, turmeric, ginger, and bioflavoids such as bromaline and quercetin, castor oil applied topically, and the homeopathic Arnica montana have been proven to be beneficial.
And glucosamine sulfate and MSM can help strengthen the joints and cartilage.
Begin by determining if it is allergy or age related as well as whether it is a new or prior injury.
If the pain started suddenly visit a nutritionist or someone who tests for possible allergies. Besides diet alterations, health spas offer services that can help. Qi Gong is a gentle, yet powerful, movement therapy that is guaranteed to bring strength and relief to knee joints. Any weightless movement like watsu, low impact water aerobics, etc., helps with getting blood flow to the area to bring relief. Deep tissue massage, using arnica oil helps loosen any accumulated tension in your muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments and aids in circulation. Acupuncture can also help reduce inflammation. More spas and fitness clubs offer postural analysis that gives solid information on how to re-program your movement to reduce the impact on joints. It may take a commitment to all of the above over a period of time to bring long-term relief to chronic joint pain.