3 Steps to Lasting Joint Pain Relief

3 Steps to Lasting Joint Pain Relief

The human skeleton contains 206 different bones. With the exception of the hyoid bone in your neck, each of these bones is joined to another bone. The point at which the two bones meet is called a joint. These joints serve as bumpers or cushions between the bones, offering protection and in most cases, facilitating mobility.

Either through injury, illness, disease, or just by the process of growing older, nearly all of us experience varying degrees of joint pain at one point or another in our lives. In many cases, the pain is nothing more than a minor, short-term irritation (acute) but sometimes, it can be downright debilitating, lasting indefinitely (chronic). Treating joint pain often involves the use of powerful and harsh medications.

Some people however, have found ways to minimize, manage or eliminate joint pain on their own. Let’s take a look at some of the strategies you can use to avoid joint pain or bring about relief from joint pain on your own, without resorting to costly and potent medications. But first, we’ll take a look at the various types of joints found in our bodies so we can better understand what causes the pain in the first place.

The joints in our skeleton can basically be broken down into three broad categories:

  1. Synovial joints: These are the ‘movement’ joints that facilitate mobility and allow us to move our fingers, arms, hands, legs and more. Synovial joints are made up of bone, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and synovial fluid. Examples of synovial joints and the types of movement they facilitate include:
    • The neck: This is a pivotal joint that allows us to turn our heads from side to side
    • Hips and shoulders: These are ball and socket joints that allow for a broad range of movement
    • Elbows and knees: These are hinge joints that allow our limbs to move back and forth
    • The hands: These are ellipsoidal joints that allow us to open and close our hands
    • Wrists and ankles: These are gliding joints that link together the surfaces of flat bones, allowing one bone to glide over the other
  1. Joints with slight movement: These are the types of joints found in the spine. Here, strips of cartilage connect one bone to the other.
  1. Static Joints: These are the ‘non-moveable’ joints such as the ones found in your skull.

There are dozens of different causes of joint pain, ranging from injuries, inflammation, diseases and chronic conditions to overuse and the aging process. Synovial joints are usually the ones most prone to injury and pain. This is due both to their makeup and the fact that they are among the most active joints in our bodies. Synovial joints contain cartilage, which acts as a cushion that over time can become thinner or stiffer. When this happens, it starts to lose its shock absorbing capabilities, resulting in joint pain.

Joint pain self-management primarily focuses on two key strategies: 1) reducing or eliminating inflammation; and 2) keeping joint cartilage healthy, plentiful and supple. Proper nutrition and supplementation are the two key ways we can have a positive impact on inflammation and joint cartilage.

Deficiencies in certain nutrients—particularly Omega-3 essential fatty acids—can lead to increased joint inflammation and result in thinner, weaker and less pliable joint cartilage. Omega-3 fatty acids are naturally occurring polyunsaturated fatty acids with a double bond at the third carbon atom from the end of the carbon chain. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce joint inflammation and curb joint stiffness and pain.

Our modern, processed food-rich diets contain far less Omega-3 fatty acids than those of our forefathers and ancestors. In particular, food processing and refinement can alter naturally occurring Omega-3 fatty acids into artery-clogging, age-accelerating, joint-destroying trans-fatty acids. Additionally, the animals that are raised for meat are not being fed the Omega-3 rich diets they once enjoyed. Consequently, our meats, milk and eggs contain less Omega-3 fatty acids.

Additionally, as a result of our modern diets, many people today are overloaded with Omega-6 fatty acids due to diets of refined grains, vegetable oils and meats from corn-fed animals. In excess, Omega-6’s can stimulate excessive inflammation that can result in acute or even chronic joint pain. In order for our joints to operate at their maximum capacity, there needs to be a balance between Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. Ideally, the ratio between the two should be between 2:1 and 5:1.

Thanks to poor healthy eating habits and an over reliance on process foods, many people have an Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio of 10:1 or worse. The ratio for people who eat more processed foods and refined carbs can get as high as 50:1 or even higher.

So now let’s look at the three steps you can take to keep your Omega-6’s and Omega-3’s in the proper balance and in doing so, reduce your likelihood of suffering from acute or chronic joint pain.

  1. Reduce the amount of Omega-6 fatty acid-rich foods you eat. This includes processed foods (boxed and canned foods), along with foods such as corn oil, grain-fed meats, margarine and fast foods. Instead, eat fresh, whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible.
  2. Eat plenty of easy-to-digest meals that don’t cause stress for the digestive system. Meals that are tough to digest cause stress on the digestive system, increasing acid in the body and resulting in the increased likelihood that you’ll suffer from joint pain. Instead, eat healthy, wholesome, easy-to-digest meals that support a healthy balance.
  3. Replenish your Omega-3’s by eating a high quality fish oil supplement. Fish and fish oils are among nature’s best sources of healthy, joint pain-fighting Omega-3 fatty acids.

So there you have it—3 easy steps to help reduce or even eliminate joint pain from your life. Following these steps will not guarantee a life free from joint pain but the facts speak for themselves. Millions of people have found relief from troublesome joint pain by taking these simple steps to keep a healthy Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio and support healthy, pain-free joints.