By Dr. Rehan Lakhani, ND
Arthritis and joint pain can hold you back from performing at your best. Whether in sports, recreational activities, or in your day-to-day life, the last thing you want is for stiffness, swelling, pain and inflammation to slow you down.
There are many reasons for why you experience these symptoms, but regardless of the cause, naturopathic medicine can help reduce and eliminate pain, swelling and stiffness. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just a normal part of aging!
1. Cupping therapy
Have you noticed red spots on your favourite athlete’s shoulders, arms, or back? That’s a form of traditional Chinese medicine called cupping therapy that is now being used by Olympic athletes like Michael Phelps, and Patriots linebacker James Harrison.
Cupping therapy helps with arthritis and joint pain by increasing blood flow, nutrients, and oxygen to the painful or swollen area, and reduces symptoms like swelling, stiffness, and pain. For athletes, cupping is used for the maintenance of athletic performance, pre- and post-event injuries, and decreased recovery time between workouts and competitions.
2. Clinical nutrition
There are over 100 different types of arthritis and joint pain conditions, with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis being the most common. Both of these conditions are inflammatory in nature, which means there are compounds of inflammation in your bloodstream that cause swelling, pain, redness, and stiff joints. Your Naturopathic Doctor can measure these compounds by ordering blood work from Lifelabs and if your levels are not where they should be, they might be contributing to your symptoms. Inflammatory compounds can actually be produced or eliminated by the food that you eat, so dietary modifications can make a massive improvement in your symptoms. Sounds far fetched, but it’s true and pretty incredible!
Everyone reacts differently to various foods on a physiological level, the key is to identify which foods are inflammatory for your body and which ones heal and reduce symptoms.
Acupuncture is another therapy used in traditional Chinese medicine that is fantastic for chronic pain management. While there has been debate over the last few years about it’s efficacy, Harvard Health reports acupuncture relieved pain by about 50% in 29 different studies involving almost 18,000 patients. Before you dismiss the treatment due to the use of needles, know that acupuncture needles are much smaller in size than conventional syringe needles, and are designed to be painless when used.
Acupuncture works by modulating different chemicals in the body including neurotransmitters, hormones, and inflammatory compounds. It helps reduce pain, swelling, stiffness, and increases your range of motion by helping release tight muscles in spasm. It is best used in conjunction with the other therapies mentioned in this article to provide a synergistic, therapeutic effect.
There are many different reasons for why you have pain in your everyday life. Arthritis doesn’t have to be one of them. Book a complimentary consult today to see how Naturopathic Medicine can help you get back to feeling your best.