It’s time to get spicy! A recent study found that a gel containing capsaicin (the “hot” in hot chili peppers) significantly helped reduce knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. Previous studies have found the same thing, but the concentration that they used was so high that it caused skin irritation and an unpleasant burning sensation. The concentration used in this study (0.0125 percent) was low enough to avoid that skin irritation and burning while still providing pain relief.
The run-down on natural pain relief:
1. Ginger: Having fresh ginger after exercising may provide you relief from muscle soreness. It may also reduce joint pain associated with arthritis.
2. Tart Cherry Juice: Drink it right after a long, hard run to reduce soreness in your legs the next day.
3. Onions and Garlic: Eat up and get nice and smelly… it may relieve your joint pain!
4. Non-Citrus Fruit (cherries, berries, peaches, plums, bananas, etc.): People with a high intake of non-citrus fruit were less likely to have osteoarthritis than those with a low intake.
5. Hot Chili Peppers: This has only been shown to help topically (when applied on the skin like a lotion or cream), so keep your eyes out in the store for a cream that contains it. Look for one that has a concentration of about 0.0125 percent.
Capsaicin has some other “hot” properties; eating the whole chili pepper is not only a powerhouse of heat and joint relief but also a potent antioxidant (boosting your overall health), and possibly an aid in weight loss (may raise the metabolism slightly). If you have acid reflux, it’s recommended to avoid spicy foods as it can cause irritation to your esophagus. Otherwise, the next time you’re cooking or out to dinner, add some spice and then give your aching joints a rub.
Does glucosamine/chondroitin work? Well if this popular substance is working for you, then continue to use it. However, recent research suggests this supplement has shown to not be as effective as previously believed.