Joint pain and arthritis are common issues that affect people from all walks of life. There are many potential causes of joint pain. Some young people suffer from joint pain after an injury, while for others the cause is osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.1 Pain in just one joint could be caused by gout, tendonitis, or damage to the cartilage.
With luck, any pain in a joint will be temporary and will pass with rest. Pain relief medication can be used to bring down any swelling and reduce the pain to tolerable levels while nature works its course and heals the cause of the pain. The challenge comes when the pain is very severe, or if it is something like inflammatory arthritis, which flares up and goes away repeatedly.
Natural Ways to Manage Joint Pain
Inflammation is a common part of joint pain. If you can reduce the inflammation in your body—known as systemic inflammation—then you can often make joint pain easier to manage. For instance, many people who suffer from chronic joint pain alter their diets to include more antioxidants, phytochemicals, and omega-3 fatty acids, in a bid to bring down joint pain.2
Regular exercise can also be useful for people who suffer from joint pain, although depending on the nature and site of the pain, individuals may need to be careful about the kind of exercise that they do. Swimming is a useful option for people with severe joint pain because it is low impact but offers a full body workout. Targeted physiotherapy exercises can be helpful for people who have pain in a specific joint because they can strengthen the muscles and break down scar tissue, restoring range of motion in that joint.3
Using Essential Oils for Joint Pain
Essential oils are popular as a form of pain relief. Using essential oils for joint pain and muscle spasms is something that has been done for a long time, and there’s some sound science behind these traditions.
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The scientific community is researching natural options for pain relief because there is a concerning opioid misuse epidemic in many parts of the world.4 Non-addictive, better-tolerated options for joint pain are a must, whether that be natural or pharmaceutical.
Using essential oils for joint pain can offer short-term pain relief, as well as improved mood and quality of life without many of the side-effects associated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or opioid painkillers.
There are many studies supporting the use of essential oils to manage the symptoms of arthritis or joint pain either through aromatherapy or massage.5,6 Studies show that topical application of essential oils can help reduce inflammation, which can reduce the severity of joint pain.7
Coping with Joint Pain
If you are suffering from joint pain and are unsure of what is causing it, or if the pain persists for more than a day or two after rest, then you should speak to a doctor. If you have already been diagnosed with arthritis or some other inflammatory condition or have an injury that is still giving you pain while you work through the physiotherapy exercises, then essential oils could be a useful addition to your treatment plan.
Talk to your doctor about your plans to use essential oils, and then consider using a personal diffuser to help yourself relax and get into a good state of mind before doing your stretches or physiotherapy exercises. Consider massages with a carrier oil and some lavender or other soothing essential oil to relieve tension in the joints. For an easy on-the-go option, try a personal diffuser like Relieve.
Of course, essential oils will not cure a broken bone or damaged tendons or ligaments, but they can reduce inflammation and offer some relief from the pain. Essential oils support your body’s own healing pathways, letting you stay in tune with your body’s signals about how much activity it can do while you heal.
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