By Pure Matters
Arthritis aches -- in your knees, hips, fingers, and any other joint -- don't have to slow you down. Try these five natural remedies that research studies (and arthritis sufferers!) back as pain relievers.
Manage arthritis aches with MSM (methylsulfonylmethane). This compound is showing promise in the battle against osteoarthritis pain because it contains sulfur, which is crucial for the production of connective tissue including the cushiony cartilage that protects joints. In people with osteoarthritis, this cartilage "bumper" wears thin; some research suggests it also contains below-normal amounts of sulfur. But in research, eight out of 10 people with arthritis who took 2,250 milligrams of MSM daily for six weeks reported improvements in pain relief.
Soothe joints with capsaicin. The same substance that gives hot chili peppers their heat and fiery flavor can also soothe joint pain. As the active ingredient in capsaicin cream, this ingredient cut arthritis pain in half for 40 percent of people who tried it in a recent study. It works by slowly depleting levels of Substance P -- a chemical that delivers pain messages to your brain. Be patient -- this process may take several weeks, research shows.
Get pain relief with guided imagery. Using audio tapes or a CD of guided imagery exercises for chronic pain can transport you to a serene, relaxing place -- giving you a break from joint pain. In one study of 28 women with osteoarthritis, those who listened to guided imagery and relaxation recordings twice a day for 10 to 15 minutes reported that pain eased by 18 percent and mobility improved by 13 percent. It may help because it distracts you, aids you in relaxing, lets you feel in control of the ache -- or all three.
Ease arthritis inflammation with ginger. Can the sweet-and-spicy seasoning that gives pumpkin pie and gingerbread their zing help your joints, too? Better known as a remedy for motion sickness and morning sickness, Zingier officinal (ginger) seems to also have anti-inflammatory effects. Research shows it suppresses the body's production of inflammation-boosting compounds called prostaglandins. In several studies, ginger had a modest effect on arthritis pain.
Cold can ease pain and swelling and may stop fluid from migrating into tissue around your affected joint. When pain strikes, place a bag of frozen peas on a painful joint -- you can mold the bag to the joint's shape easily. Heat can help by relaxing tense muscles and encouraging circulation. Create a heat pack by filling a cotton tube sock with rice and knotting the end securely. Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes to heat it up.
One of these arthritis remedies -- or a combination -- just might be right to help you lose the achy stiffness.