Many people don’t realize how important rest can be, not just for joint pain relief, but for the concept of overall health. To understand the importance of rest, one needs to look at what actually happens when your body is resting. Resting is a time of replenishment. During your day as you do physical activity, your muscles are depleted of their energy stores. The only way to restore these is to sleep. While you sleep, various hormones are released into your bloodstream from the endocrine system, such as somatotrophin, melatonin and human growth hormone. All of these and many more, transport proteins and fatty acids around your bloodstream, which work to rebuild the muscles, bones, joints and ligaments that have been depleted through normal use during the day. Overnight, they are rebuilt and they become stronger than they were before.

A similar process occurs in your brain. As you do a lot of mental work, at some point, you begin to lose the ability to focus and need to rest. While you sleep, neurons are being continuously built and rebuilt and the next morning, you are fully replenished and ready for another day of mental or physical work (or ideally, both).

Sleep should not be taken lightly

Sleep is a natural process that not only helps with joint pain relief, but in general should not be ignored or taken lightly at all. In fact, even though you might be tempted to think that one third of your life is “wasted” sleeping, time which you could be spending doing something else, go for a few days without sleep and you can have serious consequences related to your health. In fact, in very rare instances, people who do not sleep for a week may even die unexpectedly.

It is still hotly debated how much sleep people need every night, but it is generally agreed that for an adult, the number should be somewhere in the vicinity of 7 hours. For some this might mean a bit less, for some a bit more. Ideally, what you should be aiming for is 2-3 full circadian cycles, where you go through all of the various stages of sleep. Deep, restorative sleep takes place every 2-3 hours, depending on the person, so ideally you want at least 6 hours if your cycle takes place in 2 hours or 9 hours if it’s more like 3 for your circadian cycle. The number changes for every person, but you should endeavor to work out what the best number is for you and change your habits appropriately.

Sleep and rest directly give joint pain relief as well

If you suffer some sort of an injury to one of your joints or muscles, then your doctor or physiotherapist will virtually always recommend rest and sometimes even elevation. The reason for this is very simple: the more chances you give your injured joint to rest, the more time your body will have to work on healing it. Your blood will naturally circulate while you are resting, so make sure you are getting enough water for oxygen and healthy food for nutrients. This will help with joint pain relief and it is very important for people who are bedridden with such an injury to get not just adequate rest, but also healthy food and plenty of water.

Make sure you do not walk around at all if you are dealing with a joint injury. If you need to go to the bathroom, that is generally not a problem, but try to keep your weight off the injured appendage and if necessary, ask your doctor for a pair of crutches or get one from a pharmacy. It’s very important while your injury is healing that you do not stress it any further by putting unneeded pressure on the joint. You could make the problem far more severe and this could mean a longer down time.

Assisting your sleep with remedies for joint pain relief

One simple fact that often thwarts your attempts to get adequate rest if you are suffering from any sort of joint injury is the pain. People often turn to common painkillers in order to be able to sleep. Unfortunately, pain also has an interesting habit of becoming more pronounced at night. This is because your mind is tired by this point and it needs rest. One way to help with joint pain relief at this point is the simple painkiller, but for some people they might be ineffective, or they might have side effects that are not wanted. Commonly prescribed NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can cause elevated blood pressure and stomach ulcers, amongst other side effects.

A good solution is to use a natural supplement, such as glucosamine, chondrotin or MSM. All three of these have been shown scientifically to be very effective for all kinds of joint pain relief. In addition to this, they can improve the mobility of your joints, reduce swelling and inflammation and also decrease the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

There are also many herbal teas as well as compresses that are available to help with joint pain and other natural, organic remedies.

Massage, acupuncture and calming techniques

For greater joint pain relief, there are also several techniques you can try. Often, pain relief of any sort requires a comprehensive approach, addressing a variety of possible causes and cofactors all at once. So while you might like to get plenty of rest, take something for the pain, or use a natural supplement, you can also consider a variety of holistic and meditative methods as well for a completely balanced approach to healing.

Massages on a frequent basis are one of the best ways to deal with joint pain relief. You can either ask your partner to do this for you if they know how, or you can go to a professional on a regular basis. Some people also swear that acupuncture, meditation and other calming techniques help them relax and deal with all sorts of pain.

Author's Bio: 

Matt Edwards is a health and fitness columnist who shares advice for joint pain relief on his blog.