When it comes to joint pain, some days can be worse than others. The aches radiating from your arms and legs can ripple through your body, making movement agonizing. If your joints are particularly achy on a given day, try these remedies to help ease the discomfort you’re experiencing.
Apply warmth and ice
The quickest and most common solution to ease aching joints is to apply heat or cold. E.C. LaMeaux of Gaiam recommends making ice therapy a regular routine if you suffer from joint pain. Wrap ice in a washcloth and apply it to affected areas for 15 minutes every hour on days when you hurt the most, and only four or five times a day on the following days. This helps reduce tissue swelling by reducing blood flow.
Applying warmth to aching joints has the opposite effect — promoting blood flow — but hydrotherapy can temporarily sooth discomfort by helping your muscles and tendons relax. Soak in a warm bath of Epsom salt now and then when you’re feeling particularly achy.
Change your diet
Believe it or not, the food you consume has an impact on how your joints feel. Certain ingredients have properties that tend to agitate and inflame joints, while others can help reduce arthritis pain. According to Mary Ellen Ellis and Dr. Debra Rose Wilson of Healthline, your diet should include omega-3 fatty acids, which are most prevalent in fish; gamma-linolenic acid, found in certain seeds, like those of blackcurrants; and curcumin, found in turmeric — all of which have been shown to ease inflammation and stiffness. You can add these ingredients to your meals when you’re feeling sore, but for best long-term results, incorporate them into your regular diet.
It may seem counterintuitive when your body is sore, but limbering up and stretching your body with exercise can actually ease joint pain. Regular exercise not only reduces body weight, which puts less pressure on your joints, it also helps maintain your flexibility. Regular movement can help mitigate the stiffness that comes from stagnancy. However, Ellis and Wilson of Healthline warn that weight-bearing exercises can be damaging; instead, low-impact exercises like water aerobics, swimming and bicycling are safer options that won’t further stress your joints.
Get a massage
Physical and emotional stress can produce joint pain by releasing chemicals that trigger inflammation, so helping the body unwind can help mitigate the impact of these chemicals and thus relieve pain. You can pay for a professional massage, or you can do it yourself. LaMeaux recommends applying a topical menthol rub to the affected area with gentle pressure, making sure to massage toward the direction of your heart.
All of these solutions can help temporarily ease the pain of sore joints until your body recovers. However, if you suffer from severe recurring joint pain, you should consult a doctor for a medical solution.