The framework of the human body, that is to say the skeleton, is composed of 206 bones connected to each other by approximately 360 joints . Each of these can be the seat of various pathologies which are expressed, among other things, by joint pain or “arthralgia” .
Discover in this article some of the best natural remedies to relieve joint pain .
What is a joint?
A joint can be defined as a junction between two bone ends .
The joints of the human body can be classified into three main categories according to their degree of mobility:
- Movable joints or “diarthrosis”: they allow great freedom of movement in several spatial planes.
Ex.: shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee and ankle.
- Semi-mobile joints or "amphiarthrosis": they allow only a few degrees of movement.
Eg: the joints between the vertebrae (via intervertebral discs), the pubic symphysis.
- Immobile joints or “synarthroses”: these are “fixed” fibrous joints that allow (almost) no movement.
Eg: cranial sutures (fibrous joints between the bones of the skull).
To better understand joint pain, it is important to know some basic notions of anatomy . Here are the different anatomical structures that make up a joint (we take the example of a mobile joint such as the knee):
- Two bone ends: in our example, the knee, the bone ends concerned are those of the femur and the tibia (femoral-tibial joint).
- Articular surfaces: they are lined with articular cartilage which reduces friction between the two bone ends during movement.
- The joint capsule: this is a very resistant fibrous membrane that surrounds the entire joint.
- The synovial cavity: this is a virtual space, delimited by the articular capsule, containing a viscous liquid called "synovia" or "synovial fluid".
- The synovial membrane: it is a richly vascularized and innervated membrane that lines the internal wall of the articular capsule. Its role is to produce synovial fluid , a fluid that serves to lubricate the joint to facilitate sliding between joint surfaces.
- Ligaments: they are very resistant fibrous structures that unite between two or more bone elements forming the joint.
- Muscles and tendons: they participate in the stability of the joint by connecting between the two bone ends and allow to give mobility to the different segments of the body.
What are the types of joint pain?
Joint pain can be classified according to several criteria, in particular the mode of installation (sudden or progressive), the evolution over time (acute, subacute or chronic), the mechanism at the origin of the pain, etc.
Here are the main types of joint pain according to their origin:
They are consecutive to falls , direct or indirect shocks ... These traumas generally fall within the framework of a traffic accident, public road, work, domestic, sports...
Joint pain of traumatic origin can be linked to one of the following pathologies:
- Fracture: lesion of one or more bone segments forming the joint.
- Sprain: elongation, partial or total rupture of one or more ligaments forming the joint.
- Muscular or tendon lesion (elongation, partial or total rupture, tear, contusion, etc.).
They are due to an abnormally high inflammatory reaction affecting one or more joint structures such as:
- A tendon: tendonitis ;
- A cartilage: osteoarthritis ;
- A serous bursa: bursitis ;
- A joint capsule: capsulitis ;
- A synovial membrane: synovitis …
You should know that these joint inflammations can be seen in different contexts, especially during an infection , after a false movement , the practice of repetitive gestures , etc.
These pains are due to autoimmune reactions against one or more anatomical structures of the joint. In other words, the failing immune system produces "autoantibodies" that attack its own cells (self cells).
This kind of joint pain can be seen in many autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
The best example of metabolic joint pain is “gout,” a condition characterized by excess uric acid in the blood forming crystals in the joints. This condition usually begins in the big toe joints with unbearable pain , swelling , and redness .
Pain of infectious origin
The different constituents of the joints can, like any other part of the body, be the site of bacterial, viral or parasitic infections . These infections usually manifest as joint pain and fever .
How does diet influence joint pain?
The vast majority of diseases require, alongside appropriate treatment, the adoption of a healthy lifestyle combining a balanced and diversified diet with regular physical activity , in order to increase the chances of clinical improvement. .
Generally speaking, in case of joint pain, it is recommended to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet .
Here are the foods to avoid and those to favor to fight against arthralgia in the long term:
Foods to Avoid
- All processed and ultra-processed foods which are generally very high in refined sugar, preservatives and other additives harmful to the health of the joints and the body in general (sodas, confectionery, biscuits, crisps, etc.).
- Alcoholic beverages which greatly increase inflammatory phenomena throughout the body, even in the event of so-called “moderate” consumption.
- Foods cooked at high temperatures , as this type of cooking promotes the release of pro-inflammatory substances.
- Acidic foods such as red meats, cold cuts, sweet products (refined sugar), coffee, etc. These foods increase the blood pH and maintain inflammatory reactions in the body (especially in the joints).
- Fruits and vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, parsley, garlic, celery, peppers, zucchini, apples, blueberries, peaches… Always give pride of place to fruits and vegetables on your plates, because they provide a good amount of vitamins and antioxidant substances which fight against inflammation and oxidative stress (neutralization of free radicals).
- Sources of omega 3 : oily fish (mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines, etc.), cod liver oil, egg yolk, rapeseed oil, etc. Consuming this category of food regularly allows you to balance the omega-3/omega-6 ratio and fight inflammation in the body.
- Sources of protein : white meat (chicken breast, turkey, etc.), eggs, whole grains, lentils, chickpeas, etc. It is important to consume enough protein daily to provide the body with the amino acids essential for the production of collagen (as a reminder, collagen is a ubiquitous protein that gives strength and elasticity to many joint structures).
Alongside a balanced and varied diet, it is important to drink plenty of water daily (at least 1.5 to 2 liters per day) to combat joint pain.
This is because synovial joints are composed largely of water . Proper hydration is therefore essential to allow their lubrication and thus prevent friction that is a source of inflammation and pain.
What dietary supplements to take to relieve joint pain?
Harpagophytum , also known as "grappling plant" or " devil's claw " , is a plant native to the desert regions of South Africa known for its many health benefits, particularly effective in the treatment of osteoarticular pain .
This plant contains an active principle called "harpagoside" which has very effective anti-inflammatory , analgesic and anti-rheumatic therapeutic properties to fight against certain painful osteoarticular pathologies such as osteoarthritis , polyarthritis , tendonitis , bursitis and lumbago .
To get the maximum benefits, it is recommended to take this plant in the form of a food supplement , favoring galenic forms that protect its active ingredient (harpagoside) from gastric acidity.
If you suffer from osteoarthritis , whether incipient or chronic, from a rheumatic condition such as arthritis or tendonitis , opt for the Coxadol food supplement based on Harpagophytum extract.
Thanks to its high concentration of harpagoside , Coxadol helps to effectively and durably reduce inflammatory reactions and joint pain.
Turmeric , also called "turmeric" , is a perennial herbaceous plant native to India. Its rhizomes (outgrowths at the root level) contain an active ingredient called "curcumin" . It has, among other things, powerful anti-inflammatory properties .
For centuries, the therapeutic virtues of turmeric have been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine to treat various pathologies, in particular those of the osteoarticular sphere .
Indeed, regular consumption of this ancestral spice can be very effective in fighting joint inflammation and relieving pain related to pathologies such as:
- Cervicarthrosis (osteoarthritis of the cervical spine);
- Gonarthrosis (osteoarthritis of the knees);
- Rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune pathologies affecting the joints.
To relieve your joint pain in a lasting way thanks to turmeric, do not hesitate to consume it daily, in particular by using it as a spice to spice up your dishes.
You can also take it in the form of a dietary supplement for better bioavailability , and therefore better effectiveness against joint pain.
Collagen is a protein that is used in the production of many tissues in our body, including skin , cartilage , muscles , tendons , ligaments , etc.
As we age, our bodies produce less and less collagen . The skin then begins to lose its elasticity, becomes less firm and the first wrinkles appear. At the joint level, the cartilage becomes more vulnerable, more fragile and begins to wear out.
This progressive wear of weakened cartilage (lack of collagen) exposes to the risk of osteoarthritis which is expressed mainly by chronic joint pain.
Lack of collagen is also a source of fragility in bones, ligaments and tendons . They are therefore more likely to be injured or to be the seat of a painful pathology.
To strengthen your articular cartilage and protect your joints from osteoarthritis and injury, it may be a good idea to take a dietary supplement based on collagen .
Joint pain: grandmother's remedies to relieve them
In general, joint pain is part of a chronic pathology (osteoarthritis, arthritis, etc.). They are therefore there for many years! Hence the importance of comprehensive and appropriate medical management of the pathology in question.
To avoid overusing analgesic and anti-inflammatory treatments, sources of many side effects, it is possible to use 100% natural home remedies just as effective as certain drugs against joint pain! Here are a few :
Although many scientific studies have been conducted to determine whether to use cold or heat to relieve osteoarticular pain, there is still no consensus. But, in general, it is recommended to apply cold when you are faced with joint pain of inflammatory origin .
Thus, during the acute phase of a trauma (phase characterized by a significant inflammatory reaction) or inflammatory flare-ups of a chronic pathology (flare-up of arthritis for example), it is advisable to apply ice wrapped in a towel directly on the painful joint for about fifteen minutes 3 or 4 times a day (or more if the pain persists) to reduce inflammation and relieve pain .
On the other hand, in case of non-inflammatory pain , it is rather advisable to use heat via a hot water bottle. This helps relieve painful muscle tension .
In addition, each person reacts differently : the same type of joint pain can be relieved by cold for one person, by heat for another... It is therefore up to you to carry out tests to determine the method that will be effective in your case. !
Plants for painful joints
To relieve painful joints, here are 7 plants with soothing properties to consume regularly in the form of herbal teas or decoctions:
- Ginger: has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties effective against many types of pain, it is particularly recommended in case of arthritis and osteoarthritis.
- Meadowsweet: real vegetable aspirin! Very useful to fight against arthralgia due to rheumatism or osteoarthritis.
- Turmeric: powerful natural anti-inflammatory.
- White willow: recommended to relieve joint pain of rheumatic or osteoarthritis origin.
- Blackcurrant leaves: in addition to promoting venous circulation, blackcurrant leaves and fruits are commonly used to relieve joint pain associated with osteoarthritis.
- Ash: the leaves and buds of the ash tree help reduce joint pain associated with rheumatism thanks to their powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
- Nettle: has effective anti-inflammatory properties in certain joint pains.
Attention, it is recommended to consult your doctor before starting a treatment based on medicinal plants to ensure the absence of contraindications and to avoid any risk of drug interaction.
soothing essential oils
To relieve many types of arthralgia, certain essential oils with soothing properties can be extremely effective. Just dilute a few drops in a small amount of vegetable oil (sweet almond or olive oil for example) and perform gentle and prolonged massages of the painful joint(s) to thoroughly penetrate the different principles. assets.
Here are 7 of the most effective essential oils for joint pain:
- Lemon eucalyptus: this essential oil soothes rheumatic joint pain and, as a bonus, promotes good quality sleep – knowing that sleep is generally disturbed by arthralgia (especially inflammatory pain with nocturnal recrudescence).
- Peppermint: it has a soothing action in case of joint and muscle pain , rheumatism , arthritis and polyarthritis thanks to its active ingredients with refreshing, anti-inflammatory and anesthetic properties.
- Wintergreen: the essential oil of fragrant or lying wintergreen is particularly useful for soothing joints and muscles after intense physical exertion . It is also widely used by top athletes.
- Clove: clove essential oil is excellent against pain of inflammatory origin such as arthritis , osteoarthritis and other articular rheumatism .
- Clary sage: it soothes inflammatory joint and muscle pain, particularly recommended in cases of rheumatoid arthritis .
- Noble laurel: relieves many types of arthralgia thanks to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also effective against pain related to a herniated lumbar disc (sciatica).
- Lavandin super: traditionally used for its antispasmodic and muscle relaxant properties, the essential oil of this plant of French origin is also recommended to soothe joint pain of inflammatory origin . In addition, thanks to its sedative and anti-stress properties , it significantly improves sleep and mental well-being.
Be careful, essential oils are very concentrated substances that must be used with care. It is strongly recommended to be supervised by a doctor , an aromatherapist or other qualified professional to avoid any health risk.
Joint pain: technical devices to relieve them and improve mobility
In case of arthralgia, one is generally tempted to remain bedridden in order to avoid any movement likely to awaken or aggravate the pain. This attitude is strongly discouraged, as it promotes joint stiffness and leads to a loss of muscle tone .
It is therefore recommended to maintain a light physical activity , provided that it is adapted to your physical condition. To do this, it is possible to use certain technical devices that support the pathological joint during movement, such as:
- An orthosis : knee brace, ankle brace, hand splint, lumbar corset to support the lower back, wrist splint, etc.
- A cane for joint pain in the leg.
- A walker for the elderly...
Please note, it is not recommended to “get used to” wearing orthoses (knee pads, lumbar corset, etc.). The use of these should be temporary , only in case of intense pain or during physical activity at risk of waking up arthralgia.