Arthritis is associated with pain, stiffness, swelling, joint inflammation, wear and tear of joints, and muscular strains. There are many existing pharmaceuticals such as NSAIDs and steroids, that are prescribed to treat symptoms such as pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. However, as physical therapists, we try to find alternative ways to improve joint pain with joint mobilizations, soft tissue mobilizations, as well as prescribing cardiovascular exercise, muscle strengthening, etc to avoid the potential side effects that these pharmaceuticals may cause.
Something I’ve been personally interested in lately is the use of turmeric in addressing joint pain, inflammation, muscle soreness, and more. Tumeric is a bright yellow colored powder ground from the root of the turmeric plant. It has been claimed to reduce pain, inflammation, and improve digestion and has been used for well over 100 years in China and India for the treatment of all symptoms listed above.
The current research is as follows:
1. "Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials” published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2016 by J. Daily, M. Yang, S. Park.
-Subjects included middle aged to elderly men and women suffering from knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis with pain rated at or above 5/10.
-Each subject added turmeric extract to their daily routine for 8-12 weeks.
-Subjects found significant pain relief caused by their osteoarthris and rheumatoid arthritis.
2. According to Arthritis.org (https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/guide/turmeric.php), multiple studies have been found to support the use of turmeric supplements in the treatment of joint pain. A 2006 study found that turmeric supplements helped PREVENT joint inflammation and a 2010 clinical trial found that turmeric provided significant and long term pain relief in 100 patients with knee osteoarthritis.
Lastly, a small study completed in 2012 found that turmeric was MORE effective in reduced joint pain and swelling in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis than the use of an NSAID.
I’ll be incorporating turmeric into my daily diet starting next week and will update you with how I feel! If you’re experiencing joint pain, muscle soreness, or inflammation, come on in! We can help eliminate your pain with manual therapy and skilled exercise prescription and get you back to the life you love!
Maggie Nguyen, PT DPT