Many people experience stiff joints at some point in their lives, making this one of the most common conditions that affects the joints. The stiffness may be as a result of an injury to the ligaments near the joints, straining, spraining as well as arthritis. The latter is very important because it is a chronic condition for which proper diagnosis and treatment is required.
While stiff joints can affect any part of the body, they are common in the knees and shoulders. The pain that manifests may range from mild to severe, with the latter causing additional symptoms such as swelling and tenderness around the affected joint. There are home remedies available for the natural treatment of stiff joints.
It is important, however, to note that if the stiffness does not ease after a couple of days, it is advisable to get medical attention. Each of the remedies listed below is geared towards reducing the stiffness while enhancing the functionality of the affected joint. This is a great advantage in mild cases because it eliminates the need for conventional medication which sometimes has side effects.
1. Massage Therapy:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Choice massage oil (preferably one with healing properties) and warm water bath.
One of the best ways to deal with a stiff joint is to massage the affected joint using your choice massage oil. Massage is an effective remedy because it not only increases blood circulation to the affected joint; it also provides relief from the pain associated with the stiffness.
Additionally, massaging the affected joint increases the range motion in the joint, improving mobility and speeding up the healing process. The use of oil is recommended to avoid friction on the skin. Some of the oils appropriate for this remedy include coconut oil, olive oil, garlic oil and mustard oil among others. The aforementioned oils are ideal because they have anti-inflammatory properties that speed up the recovery process.
- Warm the oil in a water bath. The purpose of warming the oil is to increase its temperature so that it is easily absorbed by the skin, as well as to provide pain relief.
- Once the oil is warm, not scalding hot, pour some of it on the affected joint and then rub in gentle motions. Do this gently on and around the affected joint.
- Repeat the use of this remedy as often as needed until the stiffness is effectively dealt with.
2. Alternate Hot and Cold Compress:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 2 Clean towels, a bowl of hot water and a pack of ice cubes or frozen vegetables.
Using alternate hot and cold compresses is recommended for the natural treatment of stiff joints because it reduces the pain and discomfort at the site of the affected joint. The hot compress improves the flow of blood to the affected joint and goes a long way in relaxing the affected joint, while the cold compress significantly reduces the pain and inflammation. What’s more, the cold compress numbs the skin around the joint owing to its low temperatures. When used alternately, the remedy is more effective and helps he joint recover faster. Follow the directions below to get the most out of the alternate hot and cold compresses.
NOTE: While the compresses are effective, they are not recommended for all cases of stiff joints. Avoid using the hot compress if the skin around the stiff joint is red, hot, swollen or irritated. In the same breath, avoid using the cold compress if you suffer from diseases that affect the circulatory system as this could result in adverse effects. If you belong to any of these groups, it is advisable to use either of the remedies provided it does not worsen the symptoms.
- Soak one towel in the hot water for a minute and then wring it to get rid of the excess water.
- Place the towel, which is the hot compress, on the affected joint and let it remain there for about 2 minutes. You may want to gently press the compress in to allow the joint to recover faster.
- Remove the hot compress and immediately place the cold compress on the affected joint. The cold compress is made by wrapping the ice cubes in the towel to create a park.
- Leave the cold compress on for a couple of minutes, making sure you do not apply the ice cubes directly to the skin to avoid frostbites.
- Repeat this process severally for at least 20 minutes daily until the stiff joints are healed.
3. Cayenne Pepper:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: ½ Teaspoon of cayenne pepper and some olive oil. Fresh cayenne pepper or a gel containing cayenne are both excellent options.
Cayenne is a common type of pepper that belongs to the capsicum family. One of the most distinct benefits of this fiery pepper is its ability to reduce pain and inflammation, in this case, of the affected joints. There are two ways in which this remedy may be used: either taken orally or applied topically on the affected joint.
As expected, the oral route leaves quite a hot taste in the mouth, but studies show that it is actually beneficial for those NSAIDs, a common type of painkiller. The cayenne pepper taken orally helps prevent the irritation of the stomach lining from the NSAIDs particularly in chronic cases such as in degenerative arthritis for which stiff joints are one of the symptoms. Use cayenne pepper in any of the three methods below.
Adding ground Cayenne Pepper to Olive Oil for Topical Application
- This is a simple remedy that requires the use of cayenne pepper powder and warm olive oil. The oil provides a base for the application of the remedy.
- Once the two are well mixed, the next step involves the application of the oil on the joint.
- This is best done in gentle circular motions to allow the absorption of the cayenne’s anti-inflammatory properties.
- You may wrap the stiff joint using a bandage to keep the remedy in place for maximum absorption.
Fresh Pepper for Oral use
- For those who can stomach it, it helps to chew on the fresh pepper.
- Alternatively, the pepper may be added to one’s food.
- The catch is to make sure that the fresh cayenne is taken in moderate amounts spread throughout the day to deal with the stiffness effectively.
Gel Containing Cayenne Pepper Extract
- As a third alternative, you may use chemist-bought gels for topical application in cases of stiff joints. The gel is applied on the affected joint severally during the day to counter the stiffness.
- Remember to wash your hands well after using any of the different forms of remedies.
- Rubbing your eyes or nose using unwashed hands causes a stinging sensation and irritation of the eye and nose membranes.
- In the event that this does occur, running cold water helps eliminate the burning sensation and wash off the cream/remedy.
4. Yoga Exercises:
Time Required: Varies from one individual to another, but 30 minutes should prove helpful.
What You Need: Yoga techniques, a mat and a comfortable place to exercise
Yoga exercises may be one of the last things on your mind when you have a stiff joint, but different yoga routines are known to help reduce the pain as well as deal with the stiffness. There are multiple routines, and it may be best to get a yoga instructor who will guide you on the most appropriate routines. If anything, it helps to take up yoga as a regular activity because it not only boosts your overall body health, it also restores the function of the joints.
- Follow your instructor’s guide on the most practical yoga moves to deal with stiff muscles. As a general guide, it is advisable to stick to low-impact yoga routines. High impact exercises in general, often increase the intensity of the stiffness and prolong the period of recovery.
5. Workout Tips:
Time Required: Varies from one individual to another.
What You Need: Conscious decision to add these tips to your workout routines.
One of the reasons why joints get stiff is because of a sedentary lifestyle – that is a life with little or no physical activity. As one ages, this leads to the characteristic pain and inflammation of the joints alongside the stiffness of the same.
Another benefit of exercising regularly is that it allows the muscles around the different joints to be strengthened for improved mobility. Research also shows that exercise increases the flow of blood to the joints, another benefit that works in preventing the discomfort linked to stiff joints. To get the most of this, however, it is important to get proper guidance from a qualified professional. The tips listed below are meant to be used as an adjunct to the workout routines recommended by your trainer.
Workout Tips to Treat Stiff Joints
- Warm up before a workout routine. Many people find themselves skipping this integral part, but failure to warm up causes tension in the muscles and this increases the stiffness. Warm up exercises help to take care of this by increasing flexibility and eliminating joint stiffness. One of the simplest warm up exercises is a light walk to get going as well as ease the muscles for the routine at hand.
- Mix up your workout routines to prevent the affected joints from wearing out. As a general guide, carry out high impact exercises alongside gentler routines such as yoga and swimming.
- Just as a warm-up exercise is important prior to a routine, so is a post-workout stretch. It is often tempting to skip this seemingly optional part of your workout routine, but your joints will remind you that it is absolutely not worth it. After exercising, the muscles are taut and this decreases the range of motion in the affected joints. Failure to stretch post-workout creates the perfect condition for stiff joints. For this reason, make sure to perform stretches for about a minute.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 2 Tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 cup of warm water. 1 tablespoon of olive oil (optional).
One of the symptoms that characterize joint stiffness is pain in the affected joints. There is no better way to address this pain than with apple cider vinegar (abbreviated ACV). Apple cider vinegar has long been used to treat a myriad of conditions, including those that affect the joints. AVC helps reduce the pain and eliminate the stiffness. It is particularly beneficial for those whose stiffness arises from arthritis. The ACV may be applied topically or taken as a solution as indicated in the steps below.
Taking ACV Orally
- Place the organic ACV and honey in a glass and then pour in the warm water.
- Stir this mixture and drink it twice daily, preferably just before mealtime for enhanced absorption.
- You may keep up with this as a regular part of your mealtime for your overall health.
Using ACV Topically
- When using ACV for topical application on the affected joint, it helps to mix it with oil for enhanced absorption. Olive oil comes in handy for this as it also helps to relieve the pain in the stiff joints.
- Once the ACV is well mixed with the olive oil, simply massage it on the affected joint and allow the remedy to be absorbed.
- Do this twice daily.
Other remedies that are helpful in the natural treatment of stiff joints include garlic that is a potent anti-inflammatory, stinging nettle that helps preserve the health of the joints as well as evening primrose oil. In mild cases, the stiffness should ease after a couple of days. If this does not happen, and you experience any of the following symptoms, make sure you see book a medical appointment immediately: excessive bleeding, increased body temperature, paralysis as well as bones jutting out of the skin surface. This is very important because these symptoms may be an indication of a life-threatening condition.