A joint is not merely a site where the bones meet. Though mechanically designed to impart purposeful mobility, it can be a site for local as well as systemic diseases. Inflammation is body’s response to protect the concerned area from invasion by harmful substances, pathogens, and irritants.
However, sometimes inflammation is an autoimmune response of the body.
When a joint is inflamed there is release of chemicals in the blood which increases the blood flow to that area in order to protect and care. This may turn the joint red and warm. The joint becomes swollen when fluid leaks out from the tiny blood vessels and it causes pressure on nerves leading to pain.
Joint inflammation of long duration can damage the synovial lining and joint cartilage, which primarily provides lubrication to the joint. As a result movement is affected and inflamed joint becomes stiff.
What Causes Joint Inflammation?
A variety of reasons and diseases can cause inflammation of joint. In some disorders, the inflammation subsides after a while, some disorders take long time to heal.
- Trauma: One of the commonest reasons for inflammation of joint is an injury. The affected joint becomes swollen and painful and red. Most often it is seen in ankle joint, elbow, or wrist but it can occur in any joint.
- Gout: It is a painful disorder of joint where uric acid crystals get deposited in the affected joint producing pain and inflammation. Uric acid is a byproduct of protein metabolism which usually is flushed out from the kidneys. However, excess of it in blood can occur when kidneys are malfunctioning or body prepares more uric acid than required. The crystals of uric acid in blood get deposited in joints. In most cases great toe is first affected. However, other joints like knee, wrist, fingers and elbow can also be affected in this disease.
- Arthritis: It is a chronic inflammatory disorder of joint. Rheumatic arthritis is an auto immune disease. Small joints as well as large joint both are affected. Usually it is unilateral; only one side of the joint is affected. Pain, swelling, redness, stiffness and warmth are common features of rheumatic arthritis.
- Ankylosing spondylosis: It is an autoimmune disease affecting the joint of spine. Stiffness and mild back pain is common in this disease. The bones of spine fuse together due to inflammation.
- Lupus: It is an autoimmune disease which is more common in women as compared to men. Systemic lupus erythematosus is one of the forms of lupus. In this disease the joints as well as the connective tissues such as skin, muscles, ligaments, are inflamed. Gradually other organs of body get inflamed and destroyed. The disease is incurable though medicines can control and alleviate the symptoms.
Foods That Cause Inflammation Of Joints
There are several foods that are believed to be responsible for flare up of certain conditions such as arthritis, especially gout and rheumatic arthritis. Knowledge of such foods will help patients to avoid flare ups.
Patient suffering from gout is advised to restrict the intake of protein containing foods. The end product of protein metabolism is uric acid. Upon taking food containing more protein will add up to already raised level of uric acid in blood. Reduce or eat in moderation beans and legumes, red meat, milk, fish, asparagus, anchovies, mussels, roe, baker’s yeast, poultry, etc.
Usually vegetables and fruits do not cause any flare-ups except some, which may aggravate the symptoms of inflammatory changes and pain in joints that occur in arthritis. Vegetables belonging to nightshade family such as eggplant, tomatoes are known to cause flare ups. Avoid such foods when you have acute arthritis problem.
Natural Remedies For Inflamed Joints
Joint inflammation can occur due to many causes. There are several natural remedies that may help to treat joint pain and inflammation.
- Turmeric: This herb is most valued in reducing inflammation when the underlying cause is trauma. Turmeric contains chemicals which help to reduce swelling. Take a pinch of turmeric powder in a glass of warm milk once in a day. It is especially helpful in ankle sprain. You can also apply turmeric paste on the inflamed area of sprain.
- Honey: It is another important home remedy for inflammatory changes due to trauma. The anti inflammatory properties of honey are well known. Together with turmeric, it is an ideal natural anti inflammatory natural medicine. Take one teaspoon of honey mixed with a pinch of turmeric powder once or two times in day to reduce swelling and pain in joint.
- Cat’s claw: Tea prepared from the bark and roots of cat claw tree is beneficial in reducing inflammation in arthritis. It is popular in South America for alleviating symptoms of arthritis. The tannins and sterols present in it are beneficial in reducing inflammation. It acts as a complimentary to prescription medications.
- Raisins: Resveratrol is a substance present in raisins which helps in reducing inflammation in joints. Eat few grams of raisins daily if you are suffering from arthritis.
- Boswellia: This herb is renowned for its anti inflammatory properties. It reduces stiffness, improves circulation and alleviates pain in inflamed joints. It is a natural alternative to NSAID’s.