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White Willow Bark - Nature’s Aspirin for Joint Pain Relief

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to the National Health Institute (NIH), approximately 11% of the population is suffering from some form of pain, from mild or occasional to chronic or severe. That’s about 25.3 million Americans!  Many of those aches are in the joints, and a reason that sends millions of people to their doctors for relief.  For those seeking more than the traditional drugs and narcotics prescribed, white willow bark is proving to be a safe and effective way to bring joint pain relief.

What Is White Willow Bark?

White willow bark comes from the bark of white willow trees. It has been used in Chinese and European medicine for centuries and the earliest settlers in this country learned of its pain relieving properties from Native Americans.

White willow bark is often called nature’s aspirin due to the pain-relieving compound found in the bark called salicin. 

How White Willow Bark Provides Joint Pain Relief

When salicin is ingested, the body converts it to salicylic acid, which lowers prostaglandin levels. Prostaglandins are long-chain hydroxyl fatty acids produced naturally by the body and can be found in the lining of the stomach, the intestines, the uterus and all smooth muscles throughout the body.  They help regulate body temperature, control inflammation and vascular permeability. They are also responsible for uterine contractions during birth and the cause the painful cramps some women experience while menstruating.  Too many prostaglandins circulating in the body, especially the joints, causes pain. 

The salicin in white willow bark is similar to aspirin and in addition to pain relief can help reduce inflammation in the joints and reduce fevers.  Several studies have actually shown it to be as, or more effective at relieving pain, than aspirin.  It does take longer to bring pain relief but typically its effects last longer, making it a good alternative for those seeking joint pain relief who do not want to be popping synthetic drugs all day.

Related:  The History of Nature's Aspirin for Lower Back Pain

Besides joint pain relief white willow bark can also be taken for:

Dosage

If you would like to try white willow bark, the recommended dosage is 300 mg in capsule form twice a day with a meal. Just be sure to purchase a product that is standardized to 15 percent of the active ingredient salicin.

White willow bark is for adults only. There is no safe dosage determined for children. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not take it either. Always consult with your doctor before taking any supplement to avoid unfavorable drug reactions. Those who are sensitive or allergic to aspirin should not take white willow bark supplements.

Side Effects:

With any medication or supplement there is the possibility of side effects. Fortunately white willow bark side effects tend to be mild but include:

  • Upset stomach (nausea)
  • Ulcers
  • Vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Kidney or stomach inflammation

Natural Pain Relief

Most people will experience some degree of joint pain in their lifetime. If you are looking for an alternative to traditional pain relievers for joint pain relief, consider taking a white willow bark supplement. 

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How Fish Oil Increases Joint Mobility

by Cindy Gray

Did you know there are over 300 joints in the human body?  Each one of those joints benefit from omega-3 fish oil sourced from oily fish or fish oil supplements. Here’s how!

There are many proven benefits of omega-3 fish oil for joints

The ends of the bones in the body are cushioned with cartilage, which buffers unyielding bones from jolts and shocks that are part of daily wear and tear. Synovial fluid also fills the cavities of joints, further reducing friction between the bone and cartilage. In a healthy joint, this works well, but inflammation, wear and tear, and loss of synovial fluid due to age can all lead to painful joints. Research now shows that the significant benefits of omega-3 fish oil for joints can help significantly reduce inflammation, and ease painful joints.

Causes of Joint Pain

Arthritis is a common cause of joint pain in older adults. Osteoarthritis in particular can limit joint mobility as the cartilage deteriorates, exposing the bone and making walking painful. It may be the result of advancing age, obesity or it may be triggered by injury. There are many studies underway to better understand the benefits of omega-3 fish oil for joints.

Unlike arthritis, which tends to be age-related, rheumatoid arthritis affects all ages. This autoimmune disease means that the body attacks its own tissue resulting in painful deformed joints. Gout is another type of arthritis caused when uric acid crystals form in the synovial fluid, inevitably causing excruciating pain.

Related:  Top Foods to Help Ease Chronic Joint Pain

Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oil for Joints

Research has shown that certain foods help relieve painful joints, namely oily fish and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil contains two different types of fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  Both demonstrate the significant benefits of omega-3 fish oil for joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis.

Although doctors do not yet fully understand why omega-3s help relieve painful joints, research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that omega-3 produces resolvin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that helps to relieve arthritic joints.

Other benefits of omega-3 fish oil for joints include relieving morning stiffness and reducing tenderness in the affected joints. Unlike NSAID medications, fish oil does not cause unpleasant side effects such as kidney problems, stomach ulcers and tinnitus.

Numerous clinical trials have shown the benefits of omega-3 fish oil for joints, making it a safe, affordable and effective treatment for all types of joint pain; as well as supporting a healthy heart, helping to lower cholesterol and maintain mental acuity. Check with your doctor if you are on medications or blood thinners before taking fish oil supplements, and choose a high quality omega-3 supplement from a safe and sustainable source. 


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Why Too Little Progesterone Affects Your Bones

by Institute for Vibrant Living

There are currently very few published studies on the role of progesterone, but this hormone certainly influences changes in premenopausal women. Scientists now believe that too little progesterone can be as damaging to bone strength as low estrogen levels. 

Too little progesterone can cause weak bones in post-menopausal women

Let's look at what is already known about this ovarian steroid and what menopausal women need to be aware of to avoid the consequences of too little progesterone and estrogen.

Perimenopause and Too Little Progesterone

Perimenopause is a period of up to 15 years prior to actual menopause when hormonal changes are taking place in the woman's body. Research into menopausal side effects have focused in the past on the changes in estrogen levels, but scientists are now realizing that too little progesterone can also have long-lasting effects on bone health and the increased risk of osteoporosis.

Perimenopause is marked by initial changes in hormone levels and is often hard to actually diagnose. Initially estrogen levels rise during this early stage of pre-menopause, although they later drop significantly. But let's consider what is happening to its partner hormone, progesterone, during this time.

RelatedHow to Prevent Bone Loss Naturally

Progesterone Partners with Estrogen for Bone Health

Progesterone collaborates with estrogen and is understood to play an active role in bone metabolism during and post menopause, helping to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis. While estrogen is known to inhibit calcium loss from existing bone and facilitates calcium absorption from the intestine, by balancing progesterone levels any hormone therapy can be even more effective. 

Evidence from several controlled trials shows that progesterone therapy can help prevent fractures in postmenopausal women, as part of an antiresorptive therapy. Progesterone appears to stimulate new bone by attaching itself to the osteoblast cell receptors which are responsible for new bone tissue to be formed. Too little progesterone can have the same negative effect on bone density as too little estrogen.

As always, no single part of the body works alone for the best of health. Estrogen working synergistically with progesterone appears to be essential for strong healthy bones in post-menopausal women. With this in mind, the only way to counter the hormonal effects on bones is by keeping hormones balanced, maintaining healthy levels of both estrogen and progesterone to avoid estrogen dominance and too little progesterone causing weak bone structure during and post menopause. 

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Alternative Arthritis Treatments for Joint Tenderness

by Health News

Approximately 350 million people worldwide have some form of arthritis, a group of conditions that typically cause pain and swelling in joints.  While many claims have been made about the effectiveness of alternative arthritis treatments for relieving joint tenderness, two in particular appear to show promise.

Acupuncture and massage make promising arthritis treatments for joint tenderness.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been used in some parts of the world to relieve joint pain for more than 5,000 years.  It is a treatment in which ultra-thin needles are inserted into specific points of the body, triggering energy flow (or qi) to promote healing.  While many people worry about the treatment's potential for discomfort, insertion by skilled practitioners usually proves painless.

Moxibustion

Sometimes, practitioners use a technique called moxibustion, in which the tip of the inserted needle is wrapped in an herbal mixture called moxa.  Made from mugwort, a small spongy herb, the moxa is ignited to generate heat to the acupuncture point and speed healing in the body.

Acupuncture Research

Research on acupuncture for pain and joint tenderness has shown good results, making it one of the most promising alternative arthritis treatments.

  • Research published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine looked at 204 patients with chronic pain.  Following treatment with acupuncture, 74 percent of the patients experienced significant relief for more than three months.
  • A study from China showed that 20 sessions of traditional acupuncture or electro-acupuncture (sending pulsating electrical currents through the needles) reduced joint tenderness in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
  • A German study examining 304,674 people with osteoarthritis of the knee showed that those who received 15 sessions of acupuncture in combination with standard care experienced less pain and stiffness than people receiving standard care alone.  Results lasted for three months after the acupuncture treatment.

Massage

Many people take advantage of massage to relieve anxiety and soothe sore muscles, but according to research, it also makes for one of the better alternative arthritis treatments for relieving pain.

Related: Managing Chronic Joint Pain on a Day-to-Day Basis

Massage Research

A study in 2006 examined 68 adults with osteoarthritis of the knee.  Researchers found that people who received two sessions of Swedish massage for eight weeks reported less pain and stiffness and better range of motion than people who did not partake in massage.  Another study in 2006 examined 22 adults with arthritis of the hand or wrist.  Participants received four weekly therapeutic massages and were educated how to self-massage tender joints at home.  All experienced reduced pain and anxiety and better grip strength as evidenced by pre-therapy and post-therapy testing.

With a pill for nearly every medical condition, often accompanied by unwanted side effects, many people are turning to alternative methods of treatment.  Offering promising results in scientific studies, acupuncture and massage give people with arthritis an alternative to NSAID pain relievers or stronger oral medicine for the relief of joint tenderness.

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Comparing Two Types of Arthritis

by IVL Products

Causing joint damage and pain, arthritis affects more than 46 million Americans across the country.  In comparing the two major types of arthritis ─ osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis ─ people note a few similarities and some key differences.

In comparing the two major types of arthritis, there are some key differences.

What Is Osteoarthritis?

Of all the types of arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common, affecting roughly 27 million Americans.  Usually, it develops as a result of wear and tear on the joints caused by excess weight, repetitive stress, or aging. In fact, 80 percent of people afflicted are over the age of 55. Not surprisingly, osteoarthritis most commonly develops in weight-bearing joints like the knees, hips, feet, and spine, and it progresses gradually over months or years.

Osteoarthritis develops in joint cartilage, the rubbery material that covers the ends of bones in joints, causing it to break down over time.  With breakdown in cartilage, joints lose their cushioning resulting in pain, stiffness, and occasional grating sounds with movement. Osteoarthritis makes normal activity like holding objects, sitting, and walking difficult.  Many sufferers experience warm joints, morning stiffness, impaired joint motion, and occasional swelling.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Affecting more than two million Americans, rheumatoid arthritis can develop any time in life, but roughly 75 percent of those affected are women.  In fact, up to 3 percent of women are expected to develop the disease in their lifetime.  Differing from its degenerative cousin, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, a condition in which the immune system attacks specific areas of the body. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system usually targets the joints, but it can also affect the eyes, lungs, skin, heart, and other organs.

Related: Does Regular Exposure To Sunlight Reduce Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk?

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can begin suddenly or develop gradually.  Those afflicted may experience pain, stiffness, and swelling in the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, ankles, feet, jaw, or neck.  Occurrence in several joints is common, and the disease often tends to attack joints in a symmetrical pattern, meaning it develops in the same joints on both sides of the body.  With rheumatoid arthritis, joint swelling is persistent, and over time it can lead to severe damage and deformities like lumps on the skin called rheumatoid nodules.  Because of chronic pain, inflammation, and stiffness, rheumatoid arthritis interferes with normal daily activity and can lead to debilitating fatigue, reduced appetite, and weight loss.

Addressing Concerns about Symptoms 

People who have concerns about either of these types of arthritis should consult with a health care professional.  While the development and symptoms of the diseases differ, the treatment goal for both conditions is the same: to ease pain, reduce inflammation, and minimize joint damage.

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Foods that Trigger Joint Pain and Inflammation

by Nancy Maneely

Relieving chronic joint pain can be as simple as eliminating certain foods from your daily diet. Some foods are known to cause flare-ups of joint pain in people prone to arthritis.

Approximately a third of arthritis sufferers are sensitive to foods that trigger inflammation, including those in the Solanacea or “nightshade” family. These include white potato, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers (cayenne, paprika) and tobacco.

Foods that Trigger Joint Pain and Inflammation

Related Article: Want To Be More Active - Nature's Joint Health Formula That Helps You Live An Active Lifestyle At Any Age

Foods Which Commonly Cause Inflammatory Allergic Reactions Are:

Wheat and other grains with gluten – almost all breads, crackers, cookies, pasta, pancakes, bagels, etc… yes, eliminating gluten is one of the most challenging things to do, but it’s possible. Today it’s easier than ever before with the many gluten-free products on the market. Eat corn (not wheat) tortillas and brown rice whenever possible. Do this for two weeks to find out if this is the cause of your inflammatory response.

Foods that Trigger Joint Pain and Inflammation

Dairy – this is probably the second most difficult food to give up! It includes butter, sour cream, cheese, milk, cream, yogurt – anything made with milk or milk products. Again, while challenging, it is easier today with the many dairy-free products available at the store. If you haven’t yet tried almond or soy milk, you may be surprise how tasty it can be and easy to substitute for regular milk in your recipes. Don’t substitute artificial creamer because most contain harmful trans fats.

Foods that Trigger Joint Pain and Inflammation

Try eliminating these three groups of foods – nightshade family, gluten and dairy – one at a time to test for sensitivity. First, give up the nightshade group completely for two weeks, then add them, one at a time. If/when you start to feel bad, you’ve identified which food you need to avoid. Do the same with gluten – completely stop gluten foods for two weeks, then eat a slice of bread and then all the wheat you want for a week. Then add other grains, one each week. And then do the same trial with dairy foods.

This can be a difficult process. But well worth it, if you can identify those foods which send your body’s inflammatory response into overdrive, triggering daily joint discomfort and limited mobility. The information you’ll gain is something you’ll benefit from for the rest of your life.

Have you tried this or other ways of relieving joint pain naturally?

Source:
WomenToWomen.com: Joint Pain and Arthritis – Quieting the inflammatory noise.
AboutInflammation.com: Foods that Cause Inflammation

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Manage Common Joint Tenderness on a Day-to-Day Basis

by Health News

Living with chronic joint pain can be a substantial challenge, and those who have never experienced this type of ongoing pain don't really have any way to relate to what you may be experiencing on a daily basis. Some chronic pain can be managed very effectively by following a variety of daily steps. One good point regarding your chronic pain is that the medical breakthroughs regarding pain in general are impressive and are truly progressing faster than ever before. 

Natural Relief for Joint Pain

Studies have shown that there are ways that you can deal with chronic pain. Some of these ways may work better than others, and how you respond personally may differ greatly from others. However, it is important to note that there are benefits to be had from exploring the different pain relief options for that are available for chronic joint pain. In this article, we will look at a few of the different ways you can tackle your chronic pain and find a degree of relief!

There was a time not long ago that acupuncture was not treated very seriously by the medical community; however, those days are a thing of the past. Medical and research powerhouses, such as John Hopkins, now recognize that acupuncture can help with chronic pain and serious pain.  Research seems to indicate that acupuncture can block pain signals from reaching the brain. Further, acupuncture may even help with healing injuries.

Massage can help your chronic pain. The bottom line is that massage is very good for you, as it releases built up stress hormones from your body, such as cortisol. Massage has been proven as a way to deal with reducing stress and inflammation.

At the root of many forms of chronic pain is inflammation. Any step that you can take to reduce inflammation will help with your chronic pain. This is part of the reason that NSAIDs are often prescribed for dealing with injuries, as they reduce inflammation. 

However, it is important to note that there are natural and effective supplements to help to deal with chronic pain​ that don't have the nasty side effects that NSAIDs have. 

There are many potential avenues to finding relief for your condition. 

Music therapy, which can be as simple as listen to calming music, has shown promising in dealing with chronic pain, as it induces relaxation. 

Those seeking pain relief often cite the power of biofeedback. Biofeedback may take time to "get the hang of," but it can be a very effective pain management tool. No matter which chronic pain relief options you pursue, check with your doctor first and get his or her opinion as to what avenues will work best for your particular pain or condition.

Do you use any natural solutions to help you deal with your chronic pain?

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5 Supplements for Joint Pain Relief

by Health News

5 Supplements for Joint Pain Relief

Relieve joint pain nautrally with the following joint health vitamins, minerals and supplements.

Magnesium – This powerful mineral works together with calcium to build strong bones, which is important for flexibility.  In order to be properly absorbed, calcium must be taken with magnesium.  Women need to pay particular attention as it is estimated that most American women are deficient in magnesium.

Boron – This is an essential mineral in the chronic joint pain relief of arthritis, as boron works to integrate calcium into cartilage and bone. This is important because aging is partly related to weakened bone density, and adequate amounts of boron can prevent this.

Zinc – Zinc has been proven to reduce symptoms of oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.  Zinc deficiencies have been observed in people with rheumatoid arthritis, which adversely affects joint health and flexibility.

Vitamin B Complex (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12) - These eight important B vitamins are all water soluble, which means they are not stored in the liver and are needed daily.  Each vitamin has a separate function, but together they may help reduce joint inflammation, pain and enhance movement in the muscles, ligaments and tendons by improving circulation.  Deficiencies in these and vitamins A and E can cause loss in muscle and coordination problems.

Vitamin D – This is an important vitamin for healthy cartilage and strong bones.  It also helps muscles use calcium to expand and contract.  Lack of vitamin D can lead to atrophy or muscle wasting.