On lazy days, why do knees hurt more? Because motion is lotion, say Mayo Clinic scientists. Luckily, keeping knees lubricated and pain-free is easy. Ahead are three easy cures for knee pain.
Do a little dance.
Bopping a bit while you’re buttering toast or washing your hands is science-proven to quash knee pain! A recent Saint Louis University Medical Center School of Nursing study found that folks with knee pain who danced for the equivalent of just 13 minutes a day felt so much better, they reduced consumption of knee pain meds by 39 percent within three months. Bonus: Research suggests dancing barefoot might cause pain to plunge more by reducing footwear-triggered stress by 12 percent — a reduction on par with losing over 20 pounds!
Stash cream in the fridge.
Balms infused with purple-flowering comfrey have been used in traditional medicine to heal tendons and cartilage—and now a six-week Oklahoma State University study proves they lessen symptoms by nearly 60 percent. “Comfrey has incredible healing properties,” says Michelle Schoffro Cook, DNM, Ph.D., author of Arthritis-Proof Your Life ($24.99, Amazon).
She suggests boosting the healing power by storing comfrey cream in the fridge. That’s because pain signals and cold signals run on the same nerve fibers, and creating a sensation of coolness, in effect, blocks the line, so pain gets a “busy” signal. Be sure to choose an ointment labeled “free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids” which are highly toxic to the liver.
Dip bread in olive oil.
Australian researchers recently discovered that olive oil quashes pain just like NSAIDs. “A unique compound called oleocanthal inhibits inflammatory enzymes in exactly the same way Advil does,” explains Dr. Schoffro Cook.
Tip: Blend extra-virgin olive oil in a salad dressing or mix it into cooked food in place of butter, since high heat from frying or roasting destroys oleocanthal’s knee pain–relieving effects.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.