Joint pain can describe discomfort, pain or inflammation arising from any part of a joint — including cartilage, bone, ligaments, tendons or muscles, according to Mayo Clinic.
In older people, joint pain that gets steadily worse is usually a sign of osteoarthritis – a common type of arthritis in the UK.
Osteoarthritis, which can affect almost any joint, is a condition that causes joints to become painful and stiff, and the severity of osteoarthritis symptoms can vary greatly from person to person, and between different affected joints.
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Mounting research suggests taking certain supplements can help to ease joint pain caused by osteoarthritis, and here are three such supplements:
Glucosamine is a natural substance found in the body and is formed by the combination of glucose and glutamine.
It is found primarily in cartilage and plays an important role in its health and resilience, and many supplements aimed at treating joint pain caused by osteoarthritis contain glucosamine.
One study investigating the effect of a type of glucosamine found in supplements called glucosamine sulfate found that did improve symptoms of osteoarthritis.
When taken over a long period of time, glucosamine sulfate may also help to slow down the progression of osteoarthritis. Studies suggest that it slows down the narrowing of the joint space, a marker of the condition getting worse, when taken for up to three years.
Chondroitin is a vital part of cartilage and studies have found that taking chondroitin can prevent cartilage breaking down from osteoarthritis and can also boost its repair mechanisms.
A review of 43 studies comprised of 9,110 people found that about 53 percent of people who take chondroitin have a 20 percent or greater improvement in knee pain.
Chondroitin sulfate may also slow down the progression of osteoarthritis when taken long-term.
Studies show that it slows down the narrowing of the joint space when taken for up to two years.
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Turmeric has been touted as a treatment for a range of health conditions, including joint pain caused by osteoarthritis.
Its pain-relieving properties are attributed to a chemical compound in turmeric called curcumin, which seems to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Although research on turmeric for joint pain is limited, an analysis of studies found that it improves symptoms of joint pain more than a placebo and may be comparable to ibuprofen.
Other ways to treat osteoarthritis
There’s no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are a number of treatments that can help you to manage it and control your symptoms, explains Bupa.
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As the health body explains, a GP may refer you to a health specialist such as a physiotherapist who specialises in maintaining and improving movement and mobility.
“They can assess whether braces, splints and supports would be useful for you. These can help to protect your joints. You use them in addition to other treatments to reduce pain and help keep your joint stable,” said the health site.
A physiotherapist can also advise you on using Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation machines (TENS) for pain relief.
A TENS machine is an electronic device that sends pulses through your skin to stop or reduce pain signals coming from your nerve endings, explains Bupa.
Exercise can also help to alleviate symptoms associated with osteoarthritis, whatever your age or level of fitness.
As the NHS explains, if osteoarthritis causes you pain and stiffness, you may think exercise will make your symptoms worse.
However, regular exercise that keeps you active, builds up muscle and strengthens the joints usually helps to improve symptoms.
Furthermore, exercise is also good for losing weight, improving your posture and relieving stress, all of which will ease symptoms, added the health site.
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