Health

10 Home Remedies for Knee Pain

Knee pain is a frequent problem affecting people of all ages. Most people will experience some form of knee pain throughout their lives, and there are… Elizabeth Lilian - March 14, 2017

Knee pain is a frequent problem affecting people of all ages. Most people will experience some form of knee pain throughout their lives, and there are many different causes, from sports injuries to medical conditions like arthritis. Pain can be felt in the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and cartilage, and can range from mild to severe. If left untreated, the pain can worsen and become debilitating, affecting the quality of life. Additional symptoms can include stiffness, swelling, redness of the area, and difficulty walking or putting pressure on it.

If you’re suffering from pain that doesn’t respond to any form of treatment, it’s important to visit your doctor for a professional opinion. For those suffering from mild to moderate knee pain, there are many different things you can do to relieve it.

1.      Cold Compress

Treating injuries with hot or cold therapy has been a popular choice of pain relief for years. It’s quick, effective and easily affordable, but there’s often confusion about whether to use heat or ice. Generally speaking, ice (or cold therapy) is used for an acute injury – one that’s happened in the past 48 hours, while heat is better for sore muscles or stiffness, which are typical symptoms of chronic injuries – an injury that has occurred through overuse of the body part, or an acute injury that hasn’t healed correctly.

Cold therapy is also known as cryotherapy, and it works by restricting blood flow to a particular area and temporarily reducing nerve activity, which can lessen pain. Cold therapy can be administered in a few different ways, like in the form of a frozen gel pack, coolant spray, ice massage or ice bath.

If you suffer from knee pain, applying something cold to the affected area will numb the pain, reduce inflammation and stop any bleeding. Ice packs or cold compresses can calm down the damaged tissue and constrict the blood vessels, which prevents swelling. To use a cold compress for knee pain, simply put some ice cubes into a plastic bag and wrap in a thin towel, then apply to the area. This can be done several times a day.

When using ice packs or a cold compress to treat pain, avoid applying it to the skin for longer than 20 minutes at a time. Though you may think the relief will last longer if the ice is on for longer, this is incorrect, and you can actually begin damaging the nerves.

2.      Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is an extremely popular remedy for many different things, from household cleaning to facial toner. It’s made from fermented apples, and it contains a whole load of raw, nutritious enzymes and beneficial bacteria which makes it an incredibly healthy addition to the diet.

Apple cider vinegar is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It can be diluted with water and gargled to soothe a sore throat or cure bad breath, applied to insect bites, eczema, acne and other skin conditions, relieve heartburn, improve digestion, and is even believed to cure hiccups. Apple cider vinegar is an effective tool for weight loss as it contains pectin, a soluble fiber that can control hunger cravings and make you feel fuller for longer.

Though apple cider vinegar is acidic, it becomes alkaline when it’s consumed. This not only helps regulate your body’s pH levels, naturally boosts energy and gives the immune system a boost, it can also aid detoxification and encourage the removal of toxins. Pectin, acetic acid and mallic acids found in apple cider vinegar work to absorb metabolic waste, flushing them out of the body.

Apple cider vinegar is also used as an effective remedy for pain and inflammation. It contains calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, which the body needs in order to dull and relieve pain. To use, just mix one teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with one cup of water and drink in the morning on an empty stomach. Additionally, you can mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with one tablespoon of olive oil, and massage into the affected area once or twice a day until pain subsides.

3.      Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a member of the capsicum family, commonly used in meals to add spiciness and heat. It originated in South America and has been an ingredient in traditional Native American, Chinese and Ayurvedic therapies to treat various ailments like heartburn, paralysis, fever, sore throat, nausea, hemorrhoids and gout.

Cayenne pepper is high in phytonutrients like flavonoids and carotenoids, which provide that vibrant red color, and it’s also a good source of various vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, E, B6, K, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc. Cayenne pepper can stimulate the circulatory system, boost your metabolic rate, reduce acidity, and detoxify the body.

Cayenne pepper is an effective pain relief thanks to capsaicin, the main active compound. Capsaicin is a common ingredient in many topical creams and ointments that aim to relieve pain from issues like arthritis, nerve damage, joint stiffness and muscle soreness. Various clinical studies and research have discovered modest pain relief from topical capsaicin when applied three to five times a day. Cayenne pepper is believed to reduce the amount of a chemical called substance P, which carries pain messages to the brain. When there’s a reduction of substance P, there’s a reduction of pain messages, which can provide some relief from pain.

There are many different ways to use cayenne pepper for relief from pain. Mix two tablespoons of powdered cayenne pepper with a half cup of warmed olive oil and apply to the affected area twice a day for as long as required. Or, mix half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder with one cup of apple cider vinegar and stir until blended, then soak a clean cloth in the mixture and apply it to the knee for around 20 minutes. Be careful not to apply cayenne pepper to any open wounds on the skin though, as this can cause burning and irritation.

4.      Ginger

Ginger is the root (or rhizome) of the ginger plant, which is a member of the Zingiberaceae family. It’s scientifically known as Zingiber officinale, and has been a popular remedy for things like motion sickness, morning sickness, indigestion, wind, bloating, appetite loss, chills, colic, irritable bowel syndrome, painful flatulence, stomach cramps and much more.

Ginger is a common ingredient in Indian and Asian cuisine and can be enjoyed fresh, powdered, dried, or made into juice or oil. But no matter what form it comes in, it holds many health benefits. Ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic compounds, and other nutrients like dietary fiber, protein, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, folate and vitamin B6.

Ginger has been a popular remedy for pain and swelling for many years, thanks to its anti-inflammatory qualities. These qualities come from compounds called gingerols, which are also believed to have anticancer properties. Other various studies have found that taking a daily ginger supplement can relieve muscle pain by 25 percent. Side effects of ginger are rare, but can include gas, bloating and heartburn, and it can potentially interact with some medications like blood thinners. If you’re concerned, seek advice from a professional beforehand.

Making your own ginger tea is a quick and easy way to consume it. Simply crush fresh pieces of ginger and add to one cup of water, bringing it to the boil. Allow it to cool before adding a small amount of honey and lemon juice. Drink two or three cups per day. Alternatively, you can make or purchase ginger oil, and massage it into the affected knee a few times a day.

5.      Turmeric

Turmeric is a powdered spice derived from the root of the plant Curcuma longa, another member of the Zingiberaceae family and a close relative to ginger. It’s been used as a spice, herbal medicine, cosmetic and even a fabric dye for thousands of years. Native to India and Southeast Asia, it’s frequently used in Ayurvedic therapy and in recent times, it’s become popular throughout the Western world too.

Turmeric is believed to hold a wide range of health benefits that can combat such ailments like conjunctivitis, skin cancer, chicken pox, urinary tract infections, liver problems, jaundice, abdominal pain, colic and much more. Turmeric has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also a choleretic, which means it can stimulate bile production and boost the digestive system, and a carminative, which can relieve flatulence, bloating and other gastrointestinal issues.

Turmeric contains various healthy vitamins, nutrients and polyphenols. Curcumin, a particularly powerful polyphenol, is the main ingredient in turmeric and the pigment that provides its rich orange color. Curcumin is also believed to hold anti-cancer compounds that can inhibit the production of tumor-causing cells. Turmeric is also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, choline, niacin, riboflavin, calcium, potassium, iron, copper, magnesium, zinc and manganese. Adding a few grams of turmeric to one meal each day can provide enough of these nutrients that can protect and support the body.

Turmeric can be used to treat pain in many different ways. It can be brewed into a tea with ground ginger and a teaspoon of honey, or mixed in with milk. Alternatively, you can take turmeric capsules, but it’s advised to not exceed more than 500 mg of turmeric a day. Turmeric can also thin the blood, so it’s best not to use if you’re taking blood-thinning medications.

6.      Lemon

Lemons are a much-loved citrus fruit that has been used for centuries all around the world. Their origin is unknown, but they’re believed to have begun growing in China or India. They belong to the Rutaceae family alongside other citrus fruits like tangerines, grapefruits and oranges. Lemon trees fruit all year long, and they can continue to ripen even after they’ve been harvested.

Lemons are hugely beneficial to health and wellness. They hold a wealth of vitamins and nutrients, with one raw lemon able to provide over 80 percent of your daily vitamin C needs. They also contain thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese. Consuming lemons can lower the risk of stroke, promote healthy skin, hair and nails, boost immunity, prevent asthma and reduce the risk of kidney stone formation.

Lemons can alkalize the body and contain a multitude of phytonutrients and antioxidants including hesperidin, which can reduce allergies like hay fever; naringin, which can lower cholesterol levels; and tangeretin, which has the potential to protect the brain from neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Lemon juice also contains limonene, a potent anti-inflammatory compound that may also be anti-carcinogenic.

Lemons can be used to cure joint pain caused by arthritis and other issues, as the peel contains essential oils that can relax the blood vessels and promote anti-inflammatory effects, relieving pain and soreness. To use on an aching knee, slice a lemon into wedges and tie them up in a clean piece of cloth. Dip into a warm oil like sesame or olive, and then place on the affected area for at least five minutes. You can also grate the lemon peel and mix the zest with extra virgin olive oil, allowing the mixture to sit for a while before dipping a piece of cotton or gauze into it and applying it to the skin.

7.      Mustard Oil

Unbeknownst to some, mustard is actually a plant from the same family as broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts. Use of mustard has been traced back to the Stone Age, and Egyptians would add mustard seeds in many of their meals. Romans would grind the seeds down into powder and mix it with wine, and it’s been a primary spice throughout Europe for thousands of years. The word ‘mustard’ actually comes from the Middle English word mustarde, which means condiment.

There are roughly 40 different species of mustard plants, but the most commonly used ones are the black, brown and white mustard plants. Every part of the plant is edible, with the leaves used in salads, the flowers are used as edible decorations, and the seeds can be eaten, or turned into oil.

Mustard seeds can be turned into two completely different types of oil, depending on the method of extraction. Fatty mustard oil is made by cold-pressing the seeds, and essential oil is extracted by steam distillation. After extraction, the different oils are purified and ready for consumption. Mustard oil is edible and comprised of mostly monounsaturated fatty acid, or “good” fats, while mustard essential oil is not edible, but can act as an insect repellent, hair tonic, stimulant, appetizer, antibacterial and antifungal.

Mustard oil contains an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, which can help the body fight disease and protect the heart from cardiovascular damage. Mustard oil has been a popular Ayurvedic treatment for pain and inflammation, as warm mustard oil can relieve swelling and improve circulation to the affected area. To use mustard oil on knee pain, simply heat up two tablespoons of mustard oil and fry one garlic clove in it. Once the garlic turns brown, strain the oil and allow it to cool before massaging it into the knee. Cover with plastic wrap and apply a warm towel over the top to enhance the heat.

8.      Epsom Salt

Epsom salt is named after a town in Surrey, England, and has been used for centuries as an effective remedy for many ailments. Made up of magnesium, sulfate, oxygen and water, Epsom salt is believed to boost the circulatory system, regulate the heartbeat, reduce blood pressure and improve heart health.

Epsom salt can be used for many different things including health, beauty, fitness and even gardening purposes. It can be used as a laxative, to remove blackheads and relieve bronchitis. The main ingredient in Epsom salts, magnesium sulfate, has been researched for its positive effects on pain relief in surgical patients and has been found to be an effective muscle relaxant when used in proper circumstances.

Epsom salt baths have long been used to relieve stress and pain. When Epsom salt is put into water, it breaks down to just the magnesium and sulfate compounds, which are absorbed in through the skin as you soak, reducing stiffness and soreness. It can also treat bruises, psoriasis, insomnia, sunburn and more. The magnesium acts to remove excess fluid from tissues, reducing inflammation and pain.

To use, pour a half cup of Epsom salt into a hot bath and dissolve it well. Soak in the water for 15 minutes or more, until you feel the pain start to subside. Enjoy this treatment often, as it will also reduce stress as well as pain. However, it’s not recommended to use if you suffer from hypertension, heart problems or diabetes.

9.      Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek seeds come from fenugreek, one of the oldest medicinal plants, but also one of the least well-known. Fenugreek is grown in India, the Mediterranean, Egypt, the Middle East, Africa and Argentina, and is used in many different cultures across the world. It goes by various names such as methi, Greek clover, bird’s foot, bockshornsame and trigonelle, and is frequently used as a spice in curries and other meals.

Medically, fenugreek seeds are used to ease digestive problems, enhance breastmilk supply, suppress appetite, control blood sugar levels, promote healthy skin and hair, increase libido and reduce high blood pressure. Fenugreek seeds are a great source of iron, protein and fiber, as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, and minerals like magnesium, potassium, folate, calcium, zinc and more. They also contain phytonutrients like choline, trigonelline, diosgenin and neotigogens, which provide further benefits.

Fenugreek seeds have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation, making them an effective treatment for pain and stiffness. To treat pain using fenugreek seeds, soak one teaspoon in water overnight and drain them off in the morning before eating them. They can be added to oatmeal, mixed in with cereal, or simply eaten by the handful, but you can also make a fenugreek seed-infused tea by roasting the seeds for a few minutes on a low flame, then grinding them into a powder and mixing it with warm water.

While fenugreek seeds are extremely beneficial, they can also cause some negative side effects, though these are rare. Fenugreek can be used to induce childbirth, so pregnant women should avoid ingesting them or at least discussing with your doctor beforehand. They may also cause irritation when applied directly to the skin, and shouldn’t be taken by anyone taking blood thinner medication or anticoagulants.

10. Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalypts are native Australian trees that are considered to be some of the tallest in the world. With over 600 species of eucalypt, they grow in different regions throughout Australia and can also be found in North and South America, Europe, China, Africa and India. Eucalyptus is an extremely important tree due to its high-quality wood, which is harvested to use for things like buildings, shopping centers, furniture, and cookware.

Eucalyptus oil is another highly sought-after component of the eucalypt, but it can only be derived from certain species. Generally, the eucalypts that are a good source of oil aren’t suitable to be used as timber, and those that can be used for timber contain very little oil. Eucalyptus oil is said to hold a variety of health benefits. It has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antiseptic, antibacterial, deodorant, and decongesting properties, among many more.

Eucalyptus oil can be used on open wounds, burns, ulcers and other skin lesions to promote healing and provide protection against infection, treating respiratory problems like cold and flu symptoms, and can even relieve mental exhaustion and stress due to its stimulating and refreshing effects. Eucalyptus oil is also a vasodilator, which means it helps support the circulatory system by relaxing the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow smoothly through the body.

Massaging eucalyptus oil into sore and stiff joints or muscles can relieve pain due to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, and as it’s a coolant it can provide even further relief when applied topically. To use, blend at least five drops of eucalyptus oil in with two tablespoons of olive oil, storing in a glass container and keeping away from direct sunlight. Massage the mixture into the affected area whenever the pain flares up.

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