As the weather is warming up nicely, we are entering the season where outdoor training for runs and marathons is ramping up. This is peak time to jog town lake, enjoy yoga on the greenbelt, and hike with our furry friends. With more physical activity often comes more joint pain and sometimes a noticeable increase in inflammation.
Many people are concerned with the overuse of NSAIDS and want more holistic and natural alternatives to combat their pain. Here are my top recommendations and our best sellers for joint pain and inflammation.
Herbal medicine plays a wonderful role in a holistic plan to care for your joints and decrease inflammation. Perhaps you’ve heard of the wonders of turmeric and how utilizing it can decrease systemic inflammation and combat chronic pain. The key to choosing a top-notch turmeric is its bioavailability. Not all turmeric supplements are absorbed well. Liposomal technology is one of my favorite ways to absorb curcuminoids and achieve noticeable anti-inflammatory support. I absolutely love NuMedica’s Liposomal Curcumin which delivers 250 mg of curcuminoids per teaspoon. For people with elevated inflammatory markers, I often recommend 1 tsp twice a day.
Another way to improve the absorption rate and positive effects of curcumin is to take an herbal formula with other anti-inflammatory herbs. New Chapter’s Zyflamend Herbal Pain Relief is a trusted and true herbal formula for pain and inflammation. You get the effectiveness of turmeric with ginger, green tea, organic rosemary, and other herbs that combined together work better than just turmeric alone. I recommended 2 capsules a day for people dealing with mild to moderate everyday pain and inflammation.
Another herb that should not be overlooked in a discussion of herbal relief for joint pain is one of my favorite herbs, Boswellia serrata. It doesn’t get as much attention as turmeric, but this herb is great for joint pain and a must for osteoarthritis. Boswellia, also known as Indian Frankincense, is actually a resin from the tree rich in Boswellic acid, a compound that has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. When I have patients suffering from joint pain and have already tried other effective remedies, I add Boswellia for more pain relief and to further decrease the degradation of the joints that inflammation has likely caused. Himalaya’s Boswellia capsules have 150 mg of Indian Frankincense extract per 2 capsules. This is a good dose to begin with and higher doses of herbs like turmeric and Boswellia are best recommended under the care of a practitioner.
If you’ve ever suffered digestive insufficiency you may know from experience how wonderful digestive enzymes are. Digestive enzymes, taken with meals, help break down food into smaller particles for easier absorption. Certain enzymes, when taken away from food on an empty stomach, regulate and modulate inflammation. The best enzymes for addressing inflammation are proteolytic enzymes such as bromelain, papain, pancreatin, trypsin, chymotrypsin, serrapeptase and rutin. Chymotrypsin, specifically, is not only anti-inflammatory, but also anti-edematous and fibrinolytic, making it a good choice for those who have inflamed joints with edema or people suffering from pain related to fibrotic tissue. Wobenzym N, Wobenzym PS or Neprinol AFD are all excellent options for enzyme-mediated anti-inflammatory support. Once again, the key here is to take them on an empty stomach.
The best pain relief testimonials I have ever heard have come from customers in the pharmacy raving about CBD. It is often my go-to recommendation when a patient has pain, elevated inflammatory markers, trouble sleeping and moderate to high stress. Humble brag for our pharmacy, but Peoples Rx has been at the forefront of the CBD train—offering high-quality, effective CBD supplements and sharing the science and research with our customers for the past 6 years. CBD can help address all types of inflammatory conditions from joint pain to inflammatory skin diseases. Because it also has a positive effect on the nervous system it is an excellent choice for someone needing to heal while still facing daily stressors that cause flight or fight. Oftentimes we are trying to address multiple health issues while juggling the stresses of care-taking and child-rearing. I often say “if you aren’t sleeping, you aren’t healing.” So using CBD for inflammation, nervous system support and better sleep is a huge win in one supplement. I love +PlusCBD softgels and One Farm hemp extracts. If you’ve never taken CBD, start with a low dose – around 10 mg once a day, then work your way up to 2-3 times per day. If that isn’t enough, ask our wellness staff about higher doses and how to effectively take CBD for pain relief.
Admittedly homeopathic remedies are usually the least understood and the last to be recommended in the pharmacy. But, hear me out, they aren’t to be ignored. Homeopathic remedies are wonderful for people who are on several medications and are concerned about supplement and drug interactions. Homeopathic remedies do not interact, so they are very safe. I also recommend homeopathic remedies for children and teenagers since they respond well to them, and once again because of their safety profile. Homeopathic Arnica montana should be in every single household for instant pain and inflammation relief. We have about six vials in my home and one in my purse since my kids are accident prone. It can be dosed immediately for acute injuries—great for teenagers in sports. My other favorite homeopathic remedy for joint pain is Rhus toxicodendron. This remedy is great for rheumatic pain! T-Relief gel is a topical homeopathic that is excellent for all types of pain. Looking for a solution for an elderly person you know who can’t take additional supplements or medications for pain? Definitely try T-Relief!
Other Joint Support
If you’ve been suffering from joint pain, you more than likely have heard of glucosamine and chondroitin. When it comes to protecting your cartilage from conditions like osteoarthritis, these are the top two supplements typically recommended. Glucosamine and chondroitin can also decrease joint swelling and have some anti-inflammatory effects. I like formulas like Pure Encapsulations Glucosamine and Chondroitin with MSM. The MSM is a type of sulfur compound with anti-inflammatory properties that also helps improve muscle recovery after exercise.
So get out there on the greenbelt and get your hike on! With a few of these natural remedies in your wellness toolbox, you need not worry about pain and inflammation slowing you down.
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Dr. Lauren Sanchez, ND* helps people who want to feel their best and gain more energy and optimal wellness through a plant-based diet. Learn more about her approach to wellness and schedule a visit with her here. Learn about Peoples Rx practitioners who are available for consultation both virtually as well as in person here.
*Although licensed in other states, Naturopathic Doctors are not currently licensed in Texas. To support licensure efforts, please visit www.txand.org.