Joint pain, stiffness, and achiness is something we all experience every once in a while. Joint issues can be the result of a particularly hard workout, a bad cold or flu, chilly weather, or a little too much alcohol the night before. They can also be a symptom of a joint-related health condition like arthritis.
If your joint pain is chronic or debilitating, you should definitely chat with your doctor about ways to feel better. For everyday joint aches and pains, try one of these 10 small ways to feel better.
1. Drink ginger tea.
Studies show that the compounds in ginger can actually mimic NSAIDs, which are over-the-counter pain medications like Advil. NSAIDs and ginger both work by decreasing the body’s inflammatory response, which is the underlying cause of most joint pain and achiness. You can drink ginger tea iced or hot, just make sure that you cover the glass while you steep it. That will trap all the beneficial essential oils inside and make it more effective! Then, you can pour it over ice or drink it hot.
2. Add turmeric to your diet.
Joint pain is usually caused by inflammation — and there’s no better natural anti-inflammatory than turmeric. Studies have shown that turmeric may have anti-arthritic effects. For example, one placebo-controlled trial showed that patients treated with 160mg of or curcumin each day showed significant improvements in joint pain and stiffness. The good news is that turmeric is easy to add to your routine; you could eat more foods that contain it (mmm, curry!), take a turmeric supplement, or whip up a golden milk latte.
3. Spend some time in the sauna.
The soothing heat of a sauna session is a great way to improve joint pain and stiffness on the spot. If you wake up feeling like you can’t quite get moving, some time in the sauna (at the gym or book a session at a local infrared sauna spa) will do your body good. After just 30 minutes it’s possible you’ll leave with a whole lot more spring in your step.
4. Avoid inflammatory foods.
If you’re feeling achy, avoid eating or drinking anything that might exacerbate your symptoms, including alcohol, caffeine, and processed and high-sugar foods. Instead, focus on eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and high in healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts and seeds. According to Mayo Clinic, a Mediterranean-type diet may help reduce symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
5. Exercise, but make it low-impact.
Exercise is incredibly important to feeling your best, but if you’re struggling with joint pain, opt for low-impact activities that put little-to-no stress on the joints. A few examples would be walking, cycling, swimming, tai chi, and some forms of yoga and pilates. If you’re worried about your fitness goals — don’t. Low-impact doesn’t mean “beginner” or “low-level.” Jump into an advanced Pilates Reformer class and you’ll see what we mean! If you’re new to yoga, try one of these 3 Yoga Poses to Help Fight Inflammation.
6. Add a collagen supplement to your routine.
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the body, found in the skin as well as the joints, tendons, and ligaments. Collagen production decreases as we age, so it’s important to make sure we’re supporting healthy collagen production and getting it in our diet. You can get more collagen in your diet by eating more bone broth — try this bone broth cookbook — or by taking a high-quality collagen supplement.
7. Take a hot bath.
If a sauna session isn’t a feasible option, a hot bath can be incredibly soothing on the joints. You might not think about taking a bath first thing in the morning, when joint pain is often at its worst, but morning baths are worth a try — trust us. To take your bath’s soothing properties to the next level, add Epsom salts. Epsom salts are made of magnesium sulfate, which is a great therapy for encouraging muscle relaxation and pain relief.
8. Take an ice bath.
Jumping in a cold pool, taking an ice bath, or running ice-cold water over you in the shower might sound like the exact opposite of therapeutic, but it can really help with muscle and joint pain, especially after a workout. According to Cleveland Clinic, “for the serious athlete, ice baths can ease sore muscles, reduce pain and improve circulation.” You could also book a cryotherapy session if they’re available in your area, but an ice bath or cold shower is free.
9. Give acupuncture a try.
Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine therapy that involves inserting tiny, flexible needles into the skin, is an amazing alternative remedy for a ton of different health woes, including joint pain and stiffness. The authors of a review of existing research on the topic concluded that: “acupuncture alone or combined with other treatment modalities is beneficial to the clinical conditions of RA and can improve function and quality of life, and is worth trying.”
10. Eat plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish are chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, which have potent anti-inflammatory properties. If you’re dealing with joint pain, make sure you’re eating plenty of fish like salmon. If you’re not used to cooking fish, here are 5 Clean and Easy Ways to Cook Salmon.