Back Pain

Muscle and Joint Pain Relief Without Painkillers

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Back PainThis article originally appeared on Live in the Now.

If you have stiff joints, sore muscles or general aches and pains that just never seem to go away, you’re far from alone. Unfortunately, the way many doctors address chronic pain is to Band-Aid the issue with painkillers or steroids. But what if I told you that there could be an underlying cause for your aches and pains that your doctor doesn’t know about, and for which there is a natural remedy that is safe and permanent?

The current mentality has spurred a multibillion dollar industry for Big Pharma. However, studies show that long-term use of some of the over-the-counter pills that your doctor may recommend could actually weaken your joints.[1] And the painkiller Vioxx claimed as many as 55,000 lives before being banned.[2]

The Real Cause Behind the Pain

A few years ago, I started to experience significant unexplained muscle and joint pain. I went the traditional route first, seeing one doctor after another, but every test came back negative.

Two years went by with very little progress, and I knew that surgeries, steroids and painkillers were not the long-term solution. What none of my doctors knew was that I was suffering from chronic, low-grade body-wide inflammation — an affliction that causes body-wide symptoms such as pain and stiffness.

Glucosamine Worked Great… But It Wasn’t Enough

During this time I was taking a high-quality glucosamine and chondroitin supplement, which is an extensively studied combination proven to be effective for natural joint support.[3] It worked pretty well, and I definitely felt worse when I didn’t take it. However, it just wasn’t getting the job done for my chronic pain. That’s when I “hit the books” because I was determined to see what other natural solutions were out there that could help. It was up to me to cure myself.

Determined to find a solution, I read volumes on natural healing and nearly every research paper on joint pain, muscle stiffness and inflammation. I learned that the underlying cause of these issues is often chronic inflammation.

Normally, inflammation is part of the natural healing process, but when inflammation becomes chronic, that’s when real problems start. Many people unknowingly suffer from “invisible” internal inflammation. But I’ve learned that by putting an end to this inflammation, while at the same time fortifying your joints, you can end pain and discomfort and begin healing your body from the inside out.

It’s Not Just Cartilage That Protects Your Joints

Glucosamine and chondroitin are known to work together to protect and rebuild cartilage, but it turns out that this is only half the battle. Surrounding your cartilage is a thick gel-like substance called synovial fluid,[4] which acts as a lubricant, shock absorber and nutrient carrier. A major component of this fluid is hyaluronic acid (also known as HA). It turns out that your ability to produce HA declines with age and compromises synovial fluid. Amazing research shows that supplementing with HA can actually revitalize your synovial fluid, offering enhanced cushioning and protection for every joint in your body.

3 Letters That Rid Your Body of Inflammation

My research helped me discover the role that one compound in particular plays in keeping inflammation at bay. This compound is MSM, a natural form of sulfur, which is an essential building block for joints and cartilage. It turns out that most of us lack MSM because it’s been processed out of many foods.

Amazingly, MSM provides powerful relief for swelling, inflammation and pain[5] by allowing harmful substances that have accumulated in the tissues to flow out and healing nutrients to flow in. Additionally, studies have shown that MSM works with glucosamine to protect and rebuild cartilage.[6]

The True Spice of Life

As I continued to read about natural ways to reduce inflammation, I learned about the amazing benefits of curcumin, a component of the spice turmeric, which is commonly used in curries. Research shows that curcumin inhibits the synthesis of inflammatory substances in the body. One exciting new study I read fascinated me. Those taking curcumin showed:

  • A 58 percent decrease in overall reported pain and stiffness
  • A 16-fold decline in C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation
  • A 63 percent reduction in the use of over-the-counter drugs
  • A 300 percent improvement in emotional well-being[7]

A Little Ginger Goes a Long Way

It turns out that ginger has many of the same anti-inflammatory and pain reduction benefits as curcumin; however, ginger affects the body in different ways. Perhaps what excited me most was that they don’t duplicate each other’s benefits, but in fact complement them.

In two different clinical studies that I reviewed, physicians found that 75 percent of patients with joint pain and 100 percent of patients with muscle pain experienced significant relief from pain and swelling after taking ginger.[8] [9]

Nature’s Gift to Ease Joint Pain

Breakthrough new research suggests that an age-old herbal remedy, boswellia, may be nature’s “gift” to joint pain sufferers. Boswellia has emerged as a powerful pain and inflammation fighter capable of providing significant and fast relief! In a landmark, gold standard research study conducted at UC Davis, boswellia was shown to ease knee pain and stiffness within just seven days.[10]

And in a breakthrough study just completed last year, researchers found that boswellia inhibits the production of key inflammatory molecules, which helps to prevent the breakdown of cartilage.[11]

What Does Pineapple Have to Do With Joint Pain?

I had once read that pineapples had been used for centuries to reduce inflammation and pain. It turns out that an enzyme found in pineapples called bromelain does, in fact, have scientifically proven medicinal benefits.[12]

Some studies have shown that bromelain reduces swelling, bruising, healing time and pain, while at the same time reducing inflammation. Even more amazing is that some studies show that bromelain can actually reduce knee pain as effectively as over-the-counter pain medications.[13] [14]

The Cherry on Top of My Solution

One of my most exciting discoveries was the amazing healing and pain relief benefits of tart cherries. It turns out that tart cherries also have unique anti-inflammatory properties that specifically target muscle tissue.

According to researchers at Oregon Health & Science University, “Tart cherry juice may be a safer way to treat muscle pain and inflammation than over-the-counter pain relievers.”[15]

Another amazing study suggests that eating even a small amount of tart cherries helps to significantly improve muscle recovery after exercise.[16]

The Perfect Combination… And Great Results

So after years of research and experimentation, I developed a comprehensive joint support regimen for myself that consisted of the “best of the best” natural solutions for joint pain and inflammation. This consisted of glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, MSM, curcumin, ginger, boswellia, bromelain and tart cherry.

And this regimen exceeded my wildest expectations. After just a few weeks, I could honestly say I felt like my old self again.

So if you suffer from muscle and joint pain, this natural solution could work for you too. You could look for all of these natural remedies separately, but you’ll end up spending a lot of money and taking a bunch of pills each day. If you’d rather the convenience of an “all-in-one” supplement for joint support, click here.

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[1] Differential Direct Effects Of Cyclo-Oxygenase-1/2 Inhibition On Proteoglycan Turnover Of Human Osteoarthritic Cartilage: An In Vitro Study, Arthritis Res Ther, 2005.

[2] Dr. David Graham, Testimony to the Senate Finance Committee, 18 November 2004, accessed 16 January 2012.

[3] Glucosamine and Chondroitin for Treatment of Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Quality Assessment and Meta-analysis, JAM,. 2000.

[4] Hyaluronic acid. A review of its pharmacology and use as a surgical aid in ophthalmology, and its therapeutic potential in joint disease and wound healing, Drugs, 1994.

[5] Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in osteoarthritis pain of the knee: a pilot clinical trial, Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 2006.

[6] Randomised, Double-Blind, Parallel, Placebo-Controlled Study of Oral Glucosamine, Methylsulfonylmethane and their Combination in Osteoarthritis, Clinical Drug Investigation, 2004.

[7] Product-evaluation registry of Meriva®, a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex, for the complementary management of osteoarthritis, Panminerva Med, 2010.

[8] Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and rheumatic disorders, Med Hypotheses, 1989.

[9] Ginger (Zingiber officinale) in rheumatism and musculoskeletal disorders, Med Hypotheses, 1992.

[10] A double blind, randomized, placebo controlled study of the efficacy and safety of 5-Loxin for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee, Arthritis Res Ther, 2008.

[11] Boswellia frereana (frankincense) suppresses cytokine-induced matrix metalloproteinase expression and production of pro-inflammatory molecules in articular cartilage, Phytotherapy Research, 2010.

[12] Bromelain’s activity and potential as an anti-cancer agent: Current evidence and perspectives. Cancer Letters, 2010.

[13] Bromelain reduces mild acute knee pain and improves well-being in a dose-dependent fashion in an open study of otherwise healthy adults, Phytomedicine, 2002.

[14] Bromelain as a Treatment for Osteoarthritis: a Review of Clinical Studies, eCAM, 2004.


[16] Efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage, Br J Sports Med, 2006.

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