Reviewed By Dr. Waqas, Pain Management Specialist, Rehabilitation Specialist, Aesthetic Physician, Laser Specialist, Consultant, Physician, Rehab Medicine, Sports Medicine Specialist, Rheumatologist, Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine Doctor, Anesthesiologist, Acupuncturist, MBBS, MD (USA), MSc Pain Management
Turmeric (Curcumin) for Pain & Inflammation
So you may be wondering -if many of the health benefits of turmeric come from curcumin, why not just supplement with curcumin? That is undoubtedly an option and will likely benefit your overall health. However, many health practitioners recommend supplementing with whole turmeric for pain and inflammation-associated autoimmune disorders. Because turmeric curcumin blocks the inflammatory markers in the body to relieve pain. Turmeric also contains several compounds that are beneficial for health, and curcumin may be the most potent, but it is not the only one.
Often, whole foods have compounds that work together subtly to benefit your health. Consequently, you cannot enjoy those benefits if you isolate just one of those compounds. Hence, turmeric and curcumin are effective for pain induced by all sorts of Arthritis.
CURCUMIN-A SOLID GOLD:
It is called “the Indian solid gold” due to its efficacy in treating various health conditions, including:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Gastrointestinal distress
Turmeric’s Potential for Treating Arthritis-linked Pain
Turmeric can be pretty valuable if your knee pain results from arthritis because it contains over two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, such as COX-2 inhibitors. COX-2 inhibitors are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that treat the pain and inflammation of many types of arthritis. Inhibitors in turmeric can prevent such symptoms while remaining highly effective at reducing inflammation and pain. Turmeric is also potent for reversing symptoms of arthritis, inflammation, and back pain.
For instance, turmeric can help reduce micro-inflammation in the GI (gastrointestinal) tract linked to inflammatory bowel disease. Furthermore, turmeric benefits athletes experiencing joint pain and arthritis due to their training routines. Plus, it can help reduce the inflammation related to this pain.
What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation is a process where the body’s WBCs (white blood cells) protect the body from infection by bacteria and viruses.
But in arthritis, the body’s defense system triggers inflammation when there are no invaders to fight off. In these autoimmune diseases, the immune system acts as if normal tissues are infected or somehow unusual, causing damage.
Due to its suppression quality, Ayurvedic medicine is linked to anciently used turmeric for internal and external inflammation.
- Swollen joint
- Joint Pain
- Joint Stiffness
- Improper functioning of joints
Turmeric-An Effective Alternative for Knee Pain:
Knee pain is common these days. People shift to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or painkillers to reduce knee pain. You may be up to three times more likely to develop gastrointestinal side effects while taking an NSAID. But there are natural alternatives. One of the most effective is turmeric.
Turmeric vs. ibuprofen for Knee Pain
A 100 participants with knee osteoarthritis case study examined turmeric’s efficacy with ibuprofen for knee pain. These 100 participants were divided into two groups, one receiving ibuprofen and the other receiving turmeric every day for six weeks. The researchers measured the participants’ pain intensity while walking on level ground and up and down stairs.
After six weeks, the participants in the turmeric group reported having less pain on the stairs.
Turmeric for Inflammation
Some kinds of arthritis are the outcome of inflammation, including:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis & Inflammation(RA)
- Psoriatic Arthritis (PA)
- Gouty arthritis (GA)
Secondary painful conditions of the joints and musculoskeletal system that may not be related to inflammation include osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, muscular low back pain, and neck pain.
It is a chronic autoimmune disease. It happens in the joints on both sides. That’s why it is different from other kinds of arthritis. People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis experience pain and inflammation in their fingers, hands, wrists, knees, ankles, feet, and toes.
Uncontrolled inflammation damages cartilage, which generally acts as a “shock absorber” in your joints. Meanwhile, this can deform your joints.
What Can Turmeric Do Against Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Research states that turmeric offers several health benefits. Mainly, turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
People often name it a degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis in which the cartilage inside a joint begins to collapse, and the underlying bone changes. It occurs most frequently in:
How Does Turmeric Improve Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?
A hypothesis regarding turmeric’s anti-inflammatory effects is inhibiting pro-inflammatory signals. Turmeric alters pro-inflammatory cytokines and changes NF-κB protein signaling, which is crucial in regulating immune responses, which fight against inflammation.
Suitable Dosage of Turmeric for Pain & Inflammation-linked Diseases
FDA didn’t fix the amount of its dosing. Doses for osteoarthritis are generally less than 2000mg per day to avoid adverse side effects. In contrast, supplement manufacturers recommend a range of doses — usually from 500–2,000 milligrams (mg) per day.
The Arthritis Foundation advises taking turmeric supplements, i.e., capsules or gummies of 400-600 mg 3 times daily. One can take half to three grams of turmeric root powder daily.
It would be best to consider turmeric starting with a lower dose of a few hundred mg. Then you must notice increasing the amount weekly as long as you do not experience side effects.
You may have options if you decide to supplement with whole turmeric. You can take capsules or supplements. Before beginning this practice, it is essential to consult a medical professional to be sure it is a good option for you.
Many recommend making a paste using turmeric powder. Apply the paste to the knee, wrap it in plastic, and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
The following should not take curcumin supplements:
- Pregnant/Nursing women
- People with iron deficiencies
People taking the following medicines should not use curcumin supplements:
- Blood thinners
- Diabetes medication
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Razavi BM, Ghasemzadeh Rahbardar M, Hosseinzadeh H. A review of therapeutic potentials of turmeric (Curcuma longa) and its active constituent, curcumin, on inflammatory disorders, pain, and their related patents. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34312922/ Phytother Res. 2021
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