Joint pain is an inevitable result of exercise, growing older, or a combination of the two. Whether it be arthritis, bursitis, or tendinitis, joint pain can severely limit progress and activity; therefore, to take preventive measures is not only healthy, but it is also cost effective.

Arthritis is actual deterioration of joints due to disease or increased age. Many people who exercise heavily over long periods suffer from arthritis as they grow older and the joints begin to break down. Women who are post-menopausal also frequently suffer from arthritis due to decreases in estrogen levels. When in advanced stages, arthritis can be quite painful and limiting. The fingers become twisted and deformed.

Besides the usual over the counter (OTC) medicines that provide some measure of arthritic relief, there are herbal supplements that fare very well, too. White willow bark, for example, has very similar properties as aspirin, but is absorbed in the intestine instead of the stomach, which reduces the risk of stomach upset or ulcer irritation. Also, white willow bark lasts 6-8 hours in the bloodstream, as opposed to 3-4 hours with aspirin.

Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa, or liquid pouch that resides in the shoulders and knees. When inflamed, the joint becomes tender and movement is limited. Stress on the joint produces pain and can sideline an exercise regimen. With rest, ice, and use of anti-inflammatory agents, bursitis usually resolves quickly and can be overcome. Unlike arthritis, bursitis is usually temporary and brief in nature when recognized and cared for properly.

Tendinitis is inflammation of connective tissue mainly due to excessive repetitive movements over time. Often referred to “tennis elbow”, elbow tendinitis can be quite literally debilitating. As with bursitis, rest and treatment can usually resolve the matter. Left untreated and ignored, however, tendinitis can progress into a condition that requires surgery for partial resolution. I’m not sure if surgery on tendinitis has ever completely cured anyone. It mostly makes life tolerable.

Glucosamine/ chrondroitin/ MSM combinations have been proven to reduce joint pain and enable chronic sufferers some significant relief. I, myself, use this supplement and have had moderate success. I also use the following herbal combinations, which work remarkably well:

1) Ginger-

Ginger has been proven to assist in joint relief. Taken as a pill or in a tea, ginger also calms digestive upset and is better at allaying motion sickness than dramamine.

2) Ashwaganda-

Also called Indian Ginseng, ashwaganda over time helps significantly with chronic joint pain, and has been proven to reduce stress levels and encourage healthful sleep. Note that American and Siberian Ginseng have ingredients that prevent, not promote, joint lubrication and movement.

3) Nettle leaf-

This herb also is highly recommended for arthritis, and works very well for nasal congestion and allergy symptoms.

Remember, when taken care of early, joint pain need not be a hindrance to a healthy lifestyle. Use common sense while exercising and heed the pain, which is itself a warning that measures should be taken to prevent a potentially debilitating condition.