Remember Meuse-Argonne? America’s deadliest battle till day? Seems like the historical event would be taken over by the nation’s another battle – ‘Joint Pain.’ Gulping more than 50% of the country, arthritis is costing close to $81 billion in medical costs every year.
2002 saw 10.5 billion individuals struggling with severe joint pain
2014 witnessed the figures rising to14.6 million people
2010-2012 found 52.5 million adults affected with arthritis
1 in every 4 people have arthritis that’s beyond tolerance level
By 2040, 78.4 million Americans are projected to be caught by arthritis
Body parts that undergo rage of pain and discomfort the most, include:
Though there are more than 100 types of joint pain or arthritis, talking about the major ones among them, they sum up for a total of 5 main types:
Compared to any other form of arthritis, this condition is the most common. Excess use of joints leads to their wear & tear that eventually leads to severe pain. Aging, obesity and injuries are the major reasons to be blamed.
In this condition, shock absorber of the body is lost and cartilage gradually breaks down.
Being an autoimmune disease, joints are attacked by the immune system in this condition. End result is inflammation and severe damage to the joints. Rheumatoid nodules or lumps on the skin are seen in 1 out of 5 patients.
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-1, body’s two inflammation associated chemicals, trigger other parts of the immune system.
A form of arthritis, psoriatic arthritis affects individuals suffering from psoriasis, a condition wherein red patches appear on the skin with silvery scales on them. Though most people first develop psoriasis followed by psoriatic arthritis, joint issues are still possible before appearance of skin lesions.
Usually possible to show-up between ages 30 and 50, it may start in during childhood too.
When uric acid crystals accumulate in a joint, this terrible joint pain makes its way. Generally, the affected area is either the big toe or another part of the foot. Sudden and sharp pain is felt in the big toe and the attack lasts for 3 to 10 days. With time, number of attacks increases. Leaving the condition unattended may even harm the joints and kidneys.
Also known as systematic lupus erythematosus or SLE, lupus is an autoimmune disease that troubles joints as well as various other organs. Immune system causes pain and inflammation from joints to other organs and even brain. Compared to men, women of childbearing age are more at the risk of developing the condition. Its cause is unknown.
Curcumin, the most active ingredient of turmeric is rich with anti-inflammatory properties. It decreases the level of enzyme that’s responsible for inflammation. Being a powerful herb, turmeric prevents the tissues from degenerating and plays a line of defense in relieving the pain. Moreover, its antioxidant property removes free radicals along with substances that degrade the healthy cell membranes.
According to the available evidences, curcumin suppresses body’s response against TNF or tumor necrosis factor. Evidence suggests curcumin may suppress the body’s response to tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a chemical produced by the immune system and chief reason behind inflammation.
With its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin is even effective than artificial painkillers. It is known to inhibit COX-2, the inflammation enzyme without damaging the healthy levels of COX-1.
Turmeric for pain and related problems can be used in following ways:
Seasoning food with it
Drinking turmeric tea
Supplements containing curcumin in concentrated form
Tropical application by making a paste
Just like turmeric, there are few more aids to trust for arthritis cure. Best ones among them are:
Known as starflower, this herb contains gamma-linolenic acid or GLA, which is vital for structure and function of joints. By increasing level of anti-inflammatory agents, the oil brings down the activity of TNF (tumor necrosis factor) in arthritic inflammation. It has proved its worth to:
Reduce tenderness & stiffness
Decrease arthritis activity
Improve bone health
Its effectiveness comes from the natural compound, capsaicin, which contains anti-inflammatory properties and blocks the pain. The compound tricks the brain with belief that the very area it is rubbed on is hot, which then numbs the nerves. This way, substance P (chemical that conveys pain messages to the brain) is released by the brain to reduce the feeling of pain. Cayenne pepper:
Relieves muscle soreness
Lowers down tenderness
Prevents loss of movement
Mitraphylline, major alkaloid present in the herb has anti-inflammatory nature and inhibits TNF. In a trial conducted to determine its effectiveness, cat’s claw was found to decrease joint pain as well as swelling by more than 50% as compared to placebo. It is known to:
Prevent activation of inflammatory substances
Stop the activity of nuclear factor kappa B, which causes inflammation
Scavenges free radical species that damage the tissues
Relieves morning stiffness
Anti-inflammatory properties of the herb not only provide relief from the pain but also improve function for each and every form of arthritis. Special compounds present in it act as COX-2 inhibitor. Beside easing symptoms of pain, the herb works on reducing the inflammation. Ginger helps to:
Stop production of inflammation causing substances
Inhibit 5-lipoxygenase enzyme to suppress production of leukotriene, which is involved in inflammatory response
Exert anti-oxidant action
EGCG or epigallocatechin-3-gallate stops the production of molecules that apart from inflammation, damage the joints. Further, polyphenols present in green tea extract have antioxidant properties, owing to which they reduce the frequency along with severity of all types of arthritis. Green tea extract is helpful to combat joint pain because:
Catechins, specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) provide therapeutic value
It decreases the degree of pain
Suppresses the inflammatory products in the connective tissue
For patients with arthritis, gentle exercise is good to reduce pain, increase strength & flexibility and beat fatigue. Without hurting the joints, these exercises:
Maintain bone strength
Strengthen muscles around the joints
Check out some simple exercise moves that soothe the pain and restore flexibility:
Straight-leg raise (Lying)
Straight-leg raise (Sitting)
A simple walk
If you are someone who is currently going through the trouble of joint pain, do try herbs and exercises suggested by us and write to us your feedback about it. Also, if you know remedies, workouts or any information about joint pain, feel free to share it with us in the comment section below. Sharing knowledge with each other will not only help ease the problem but also spread the useful ways to our loved ones.
Read more : Exercise For Knee Pain in detail.