To start with, maybe quit your job as a professional wrestler πŸ˜‰Β On a more serious note: when your joints hurt, just trying to get around can be a pain.

Most joint pain is caused by inflammation and, unfortunately, 33 percent of adults deal with this pain regularly. Fortunately, there are some ways you can get relief. There are many potential alternatives for relieving joint pain and no option is perfect. I want to tell you about some alternatives and share insights about the tradeoffs so you can make informed decisions for yourself.

Alternatives have been ranked on a scale of 1-10 based on four criteria: Effectiveness, Side Effects, Convenience, and Price.

Effectiveness:

Does the alternative reduce pain quickly? Is it a good long-term solution or is it just a temporary fix?

Side Effects:

Do the side effects create discomfort? Are the side effects nearly as bad as the joint pain?

Convenience:

Can you use this alternative in the comfort of your home? How often do you need to use this alternative to get relief?

Price:

How much does it cost relative to the other alternatives?

 

Alternatives, Ranked Lowest to Highest:

Opioid Painkillers: 5.5/10

Opioids, like codeine or oxycodone, are stronger than over-the-counter drugs and, therefore, can relieve more severe joint pain. However, the side-effects of opioids make them an unhealthy long-term solution. Side-effects may include constipation, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, drug dependence, and addiction. Opioids are easy to use but require a subscription and are more expensive than over-the-counter drugs.

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Physical Therapy: 5.5/10

ThisΒ score of 5.5/10 isn’t a knock on physical therapists; this can be one of the most effective long-term solutions forΒ joint pain, but it does come with some drawbacks. A physical therapist can help you to increase your range of motion and stabilize your joints by exercising and strengthening the muscles surrounding them. Therapists may use heat or cold therapy, electrical nerve stimulation, ultrasound, and physical manipulation. While this is a greatΒ long-term solution, you may need to use some of these other alternatives to get temporary, immediate pain relief until the therapy starts to take effect. There are few to no negative side effects of physical therapy, but it is less convenient and more expensive compared to alternatives.

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Injections: 6/10

Here’s what WebMD has to say about steroid injections:

For people who don’t find joint pain relief from oral or topical medications, the doctor can inject a steroid medication (which may be combined with a local anesthetic) directly into the joint every three months to four months. Steroid injections are most commonly used in patients with arthritis, joint disease, or tendinitis. The procedure is effective, but in most situations the effect be temporary. It can also have side effects; if steroid injections mask an injury, you could overuse the joint and damage it even further.

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Topical Ointments: 6.5/10

Topical ointments, such as creams or gels, are absorbed through the skin for temporary pain relief. Scientific research shows that topical agents are only moderately effective at relieving pain. Burning or stinging sensations are common side effects. Ointments must be applied frequently (often 2-3 times per day) and remain on your skin to deliver relief; therefore, ointments are less convenient than orally ingested alternatives.

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Over-the-counter or prescription NSAIDs: 6.5/10

NSAID stands for Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. Using these over-the-counter drugs to relieve joint pain and reduce inflammation are a decent temporary solution, but not a healthy long-term solution because of some nasty side-effects like increased risk for gastrointestinal bleeding and liver damage. Oral NSAIDs can be purchased at nearly any store, are easy to use, and are inexpensive.

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P.R.I.C.E.: 7/10

PRICE stands for Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate:

  • Protect the joint with a wrap or brace
  • Rest the joint; don’t do any activities that strain the joint
  • Ice the joint for about 15 minutes, several times per day
  • Compress the joint using a stretchy wrap
  • Elevate the joint above your heart

Using PRICE is a great way to temporarily relieve pain without medication. There are practically no side effects and PRICE costs very little, but it’s less convenient than alternatives.

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Noni Juice: 8/10

Noni juice helps by reducing inflammation, which is the main cause of joint pain. Also, studies show that juice from noni fruit has pain-relieving properties.Β  In some cases, noni juice can even help correct cellular abnormalities that send unnecessary pain signals. Unlike medications, noni juice doesn’t mask pain, it helps your body repair itself at the cellular level, naturally. Drinking noni juice is an all-natural alternative withΒ no negative side effects and it’sΒ very convenient; you just drink a few ounces per day. It scores a 3/5 on effectiveness because it won’t give you the immediate pain relief of medications, but works best through consistent, long-term use. Furthermore, noni juice helps most when used in conjunction with other solutions as part of a healthy lifestyle,Β rather than as a standalone solution. It’s a tadΒ more expensive than alternatives, but for good reason: it’s an all-natural, long-term, convenient alternative with no negative side effects.Β 

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Get Fit (or Stay Fit) : 8/10

Being overweight causes joint pain by putting extra pressure on your joints. Therefore, being fit through proper diet and exercise is one of the best long-term ways to relieve joint pain by taking pressure off your joints. When exercising, however, be careful to not further injure or inflame your joints with high-impact exercises. Biking is good because it’s low impact and swimming is even better because the buoyancy of water relieves joint pressure. There are zero negative side effects to losing weight through proper diet and exercise and it can be relatively inexpensive. Eating right and exercising require more time than popping pills, obviously, which makes this alternative less convenient. Yet, don’t let the relatively higher inconvenience deter you; being in shape really is one of the best things you can do, not only to relieve joint pain, but for your overall health.

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Our Recommendation:

At NoniDirect, we believe that natural alternativesΒ should be resorted to where possible. Therefore, for most joint pain, we suggest using in conjunction theΒ three alternatives we’ve ranked highest: Get Fit (8/10), drink Noni Juice (8/10), and useΒ PRICE (7/10). When extra pain relief is needed, use some over-the-counter pain relievers, but avoid resorting to drugs often.

(Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals. We are providing suggestions based on secondary research. If you want a professional opinion about our research or what we have presented, consult your doctor.)

 

Sources:

  • WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/joint-pain?page=3,Β http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/narcotic-pain-medications
  • Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoarthritis/in-depth/pain-medications/art-20045899?pg=1
  • Morinda: morinda.com

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