Managing chronic joint is a real problem for millions of adults who may be looking for safer alternatives to over the counter or prescribed pain relievers. Conditions such as arthritis and osteoarthritis are major causes of joint pain, but research also shows that about one-third of all otherwise healthy adults routinely experience some type of joint pain.
For patients who complain of constant or recurring low back, neck, shoulder, knee and other joint pain, alternative remedies including massage and acupuncture – used in combination with supplements, diet changes, exercises and salt baths – can offer significant and lasting relief.
Massage and Bodywork
While energy work such as Reiki, Healing Hands, Craniosacral Therapy, Pranic Healing, Marma Therapy and others are generally considered safe for most everyone, for patients who suffer from arthritis it is a good idea to check with your healthcare provider to make sure massage is safe treatment for your condition.
Swedish massage is the most common type of massage and it’s a treatment that may provide relief for joint pain. It consists of applying long, fluid stroking of muscles and tissues, and is meant to reduce soreness and stiffness in muscles and joints. It is also great for anxiety, and it improves circulation. Treatments can be adjusted to meet patient’s requirements.
Rolfing is part of a healing philosophy called structural integration. This technique aims to restore range of motion, promote alignment and body function, and restore anatomical structures and it may reduce pain. Depending on the type of joint pain and the patient’s medical condition, Rolfing may be helpful.
Heat is associated with soothing painful muscles for a good reason, and hot stone therapy helps to relieve muscle tension and promote relaxation. Heat increases blood flow and may enable an increased range of motion in the joints. This therapy can be helpful for joint pain, and it promotes deep relaxation and stress reduction.
Myofascial therapy helps to relieve pain by manipulating the connective tissues that surround muscles, blood vessels and nerves. With this treatment, the therapist stretches and releases connective tissues by gently rolling the skin back and forth on the back, legs and other areas of the body.
Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on therapy that helps to release tensions deep in the body. It offers pain relief and eases dysfunction while improving whole body health and performance. It is a non-invasive therapy that supports the body’s own healing capabilities. Patients report feeling relaxed, refreshed and renewed following treatment.
Marma points therapy is a traditional Ayurvedic massage technique that helps to sustain the flow of energy throughout the body. Similar to acupuncture Marma therapy focuses on various energy points in the body to release stagnant energy and stimulate the internal organs, hormones, and other chemicals to improve overall body functions. This therapy can be both relaxing and invigorating while it helps to loosen muscles and tissues. It also helps promote the proper flow of energy around the body.
Pranic Healing is a system of energy treatment that uses prana (life force/energy) to balance, harmonize and transform the body’s natural energy functions. This practice is based on the understanding that the body has the innate ability to heal itself. Pranic healing offers improved health and increased stamina for patients as well as stress relief and enhanced well-being and is generally a safe treatment for all types of joint pain.
Epsom Salt Soak
A time honored treatment for joint and muscle pain is relaxing in a bath with Epsom salts. Epsom salts is a rich source of magnesium and sulfates which is easily absorbed through the skin during a warm soak to provide quick relief. This treatment helps to lower inflammation, reduce muscle spasms and ease physical tension. Add two cups of salts to warm bathwater and soak for at least twenty minutes. Epsom Salts is also helpful when applied directly to the skin in a compress. This is accomplished by soaking a towel in a solution of two cups into one gallon of water.
Adding essential oils to an Epsom salt bath can aid pain relief and promote relaxation. Lavender essential oil is helpful when daily stress is exacerbating an existing condition that causes pain. Peppermint oil may be helpful if the painful site feels warm and swollen. Essential oil is extremely powerful and can cause skin irritation if not applied with caution, so adding only a couple of drops to bathwater is plenty.
Acupuncture works to regulate the flow of energy or Chi through the meridians of the body. This is accomplished by very fine needles which are inserted into acupuncture points along the meridians to restore energy flow and unblock obstructions or stagnant energy. This activates the body’s own natural healing, helping to correct imbalances. The insertion of needles at specific points causes the body to release endorphins and enkephalins, which scientists believe reduce the sensation of pain. Research also shows that this action also induces the production of cortisol, a hormone that helps control inflammation. Acupuncture is thought to stimulate activity of other pain-relieving chemicals in the body as well.
Natural supplements can be highly effective for painful joints, and some are more helpful than others. Before trying a complementary treatment, talk with your healthcare provider to ensure there is no conflict with medications or other health conditions.
Among the most common supplements for joint pain is curcumin, contained in turmeric which helps to fight inflammation as does ginger, cherry juice extract and fish oil. Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and collagen have shown in studies to help to protect cartilage, improve stiffness and reduce pain. S-adenosyl-methionine (SAM-e) has anti-inflammatory, cartilage-protecting and pain-relieving effects for patients and has proven to be helpful in the relief of arthritis pain – equal to NSAIDs like ibuprofen and celecoxib, without the side effects.
In addition, antioxidant vitamins like A, C, and E, and vitamins D and K may improve arthritis symptoms over time. Vitamins D and K are both important for bone strength, and vitamin K is involved in cartilage structure.
Hawthorn Healing Arts Center offers Naturopathy, Acupuncture, Massage Therapy and other treatment options that may be helpful to patients dealing with joint pain issues. Call 541-330-0334 to schedule an appointment for use our online appointment request form below.