In the US, it’s reported that more than 600,000 knee replacement surgeries are performed per year. That’s a staggering number that’s been consistently rising due to factors ranging from longer lifespans and American weight gain, to increased injuries. While knee surgery can be a game-changer for some, it’s not always necessary. In fact, there are several natural treatments for knee pain.
Of course, whether or not you opt for surgery depends on the severity of your pain and the recommendations of your doctor. But if you’re looking for potential alternatives to knee replacement, these three scientifically-backed remedies may be worth a try.
Ginger doesn’t just enhance your meals, it’s also known to have anti-inflammatory properties (and it may even provide stress relief, which is always a plus). Because of its anti-inflammatory effect, it’s thought to be a natural remedy for arthritis, and Healthline reports that its anti-inflammatory compounds function in the same way as COX-2 inhibitors (drugs used to treat pain and inflammation). The site also notes that ginger’s pain-relieving abilities has been proved by a number of studies, though some have had mixed outcomes meaning further research is still needed.
Additionally, a study in the journal Metabolism found that consuming ginger promotes feelings of fullness, making it a potentially effective tool for weight management. Since weight loss is known to alleviate stress on the knees, this effect of ginger may also prove helpful in avoiding knee replacement. Studies have found that weight loss can be a key factor in avoiding this surgery.
Give yourself a massage.
Got knee pain but not sure what you should be doing to treat it? A quick, gentle massage could provide some relief in the moment. A study in the Journal of Physiotherapy found that a massage is a better form of standalone treatment for musculoskeletal conditions than no treatment at all.
If you want to make the massage particularly effective, you might consider using a dab of MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) cream. MSM is a naturally occurring compound which has been shown in small studies to relieve joint pain. While MSM cream may offer pain relief for some, note that the Arthritis Foundation has pointed out that more studies are needed and you should avoid using it if you take blood thinners.
Try this supplement power duo.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are structural components of cartilage. While they are naturally produced by the body, they can also be taken in supplement form to potentially ease pain and inflammation in the knees or other joints.
A study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that when patients with moderate-to-severe knee pain were given a daily dose of 1,500 milligrams of glucosamine and 1,200 milligrams of chondroitin sulfate, it was a more effective natural cure for knee pain than a placebo. However, this supplement did not yield those results for study participants with mild knee pain, so be sure to assess your pain level and talk with your doctor before supplementing.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.