Written by: Holly Larson, MS, RDN
What is inflammation?
Inflammation sure is getting a lot of attention these days - but what is it, exactly?
Is all inflammation bad? And what are natural ways to fight inflammation?
The truth is, inflammation is a natural and normal process if we get sick or injured. Your body is in a defensive mode to fight and kill pathogens - the bad guys – and to heal injured tissue. This is acute inflammation.
Then, your body is supposed to go back to regular relaxation mode, refocusing on digestion, and reducing inflammation.
But what if your body continues to be in hyper-vigilance mode? This is chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is the black sheep causing all inflammation to have a bad reputation.
We weren’t meant to be in a state of chronic inflammation. Our environment, poor diet and high-stress levels can all make it more likely that we are in a constant state of inflammation, i.e. - chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation raises our risk of diseases and chronic conditions, including joint pain.
Natural joint pain relief
While pharmaceutical medicine is one tool in the toolbox, many of us are looking for natural ways to fight inflammation. There are many options for natural joint pain relief!
Turmeric for joint pain relief
Many of us might reach for the medicine cabinet if our knee is in pain. But what about the spice cabinet? Natural pain relief for arthritis can come from your spice cabinet! Turmeric and other herbs are scientifically proven to reduce inflammation.
A 2020 study found that turmeric reduces self-reported pain in those with knee joint pain as well as blood values of inflammation. And a bonus? Turmeric can achieve these results with minimal risk of side effects.
Note: the active component of turmeric – curcumin – is not well absorbed. Combining turmeric with black pepper increases the amount of curcumin available for your body to absorb.
Yoga for joint pain relief
While any gentle movement can prevent stiffness, starting your day with a sun salutation, doing a custom routine with your favorite yoga app or winding down with a moon salutation, you can welcome yoga into your day anytime. A few more specific yoga poses to try and help relieve inflammation are in our previous post.
Yoga is accessible, more than ever, to people everywhere. From traditional classes in a yoga studio to lessons streaming live and on-demand, you can weave yoga into your routine.
Pssst: claiming that you’re not flexible enough to do yoga is like saying that you’re too dirty to take a bath. Yoga is especially helpful for those with minimal flexibility.
Meditation and mindfulness for joint pain
Yoga and deep breathing are both powerful tools for connecting your mind and body. Although it might seem too good to be true, yoga and meditation can actually reduce inflammation and pain.
There are many forms of meditation. And thankfully, it is becoming more mainstream. The Arthritis Foundation is sharing this information with their members. The most important thing is to find a form of meditation that you connect with.
Key takeaways: natural ways to fight inflammation
- Turmeric may be as effective as pharmaceutical medications for pain relief
- Turmeric is better absorbed in combination with black pepper
- Yoga and meditation help to reduce inflammation
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Holly Larson is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and is the owner of Holly Larson Writes LLC, a nutrition copywriting boutique for dietitians in private practice and wellness brands. Holly is the founder of The RD Blog Club, a writing community for RDNs to learn to write blogs effectively and consistently. In her free time, Holly loves to read, garden and hike with her bernedoodle, Teddy.