Natural Support and Healing for Bone Pain and Joint Swelling

Millions of people experience bone pain and joint swelling due to various causes. Conventional recommendations include using prescription drugs and NSAIDs (over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication for pain including aspirin or ibuprofen). 

Although physicians use conventional drugs to counter the effects of bone pain and joint swelling and to alleviate the sensation of pain temporarily, these do not solve root causes of pain and discomfort, which are often multi-faceted. Prescription and over-the-counter drug use also has other consequences including long-term dependency on these products and side effects which can cause more challenges than they solve. 

Read this article for specific information on osteoporosis: Holistic Approach to Treating Osteoporosis and Bone Density Loss naturally.  

CDC research reports that in the U.S. people experiencing arthritis - a leading cause of bone pain and joint swelling - in numbers around 52.5 million [22.7 percent] adults (2010-2012). That number is projected to affect 78.4 million adults by 2040.


Arthritis symptoms include swelling, pain, loss of mobility and range of motion in joints that interferes with daily life activities and can impact quality of life those experiencing chronic pain from bone issues and joint swelling.

In this article we will discuss dietary changes, use of massage, exercise, chiropractic adjustments and herbs to address root causes of and reduce bone pain and joint swelling. A holistic approach can provide relief without dependency and side effects on drugs, as well as support and heal the body to address what's causing the pain. 

What are the causes of joint pain and swelling?

Some pain and joint swelling can be caused by the following: 

  • Broken bones or sprains, fractures and other injuries
  • Diet
  • Allergic reactions or symptoms of intolerance of some ingredient or substance in the diet or environment, which can cause inflammation in the body.

Some may experience bone pain and joint swelling due to more serious conditions:

  • Gout
  • Sedentary lifestyles or habits such as those sitting at desks for long periods, standing behind counters, or other activities which require repetitive motion or may cause movement or posture that can cause or contribute to pain in shoulders, neck, back, legs, and arms
  • Infections
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Auto-immune disorders such as Hashimoto's, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue or Lyme disease which can produce many different symptoms including joint swelling and / or bone pain
  • Excess weight gain

Eliminate the following from your diet: 

Processed and packaged food

Modern, industrial oils such as canola, corn, soy, cottonseed and other polyunsaturated oils or products such as artificial butter or shortening products. These tend to be rancid on the shelf due to high heat processing and are otherwise toxic due to their sourcing from genetically-modified crops. Many processed foods contain genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) which have been proven harmful and toxic to health, another reason to avoid these products. 




A 2002 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consumption of sugar increases inflammation which can lead to joint pain.




Contrary to popular belief, soy is not good for health. It contains phytic acid which has been shown to leach minerals from bones and contributes to joint and bone pain, osteoarthritis, and other chronic health conditions including thyroid disruption, hormonal imbalance, heart disease and cancer. 

In 2012, the European Food Safety Authority rejected claims that soy provides relief for menopause and halts osteoporosis.



Wheat and dairy 

Wheat and dairy contain gluten and casein proteins, respectively, which can cause joint pain and swelling for some, and reduction of symptoms in osteoarthritis. Typically, the processed versions of wheat and dairy products, that originate from commercial sources: wheat from mon-crop, factory farm environments treated with chemical fertilizers and herbicides and pasteurized / homogenized milk from cows administered with antibiotics, hormones, and living in confinement that consume genetically-modified feed (wheat, and other treated crops such as corn, and soy)





NOTE: some can tolerate organic, sprouted Einkorn wheat and other ancient grains in their diet, and some can tolerate raw dairy foods from healthy animals on pasture (no antibiotics, hormones, pesticide or herbicide residue, and from animals not administered crops such as grain, corn, soy and others that are genetically-modified and/or treated with Roundup and other toxic herbicides)


Include in your diet:

  • Grassfed and game meats, pasture-raised poultry, eggs (preferably from soy-free hens) and raw dairy (if dairy tolerant)
  • Wild-caught fish
  • Organic fruits and vegetables
  • Organic legumes, nuts and seeds (preferably sprouted)
  • Fermented foods with probiotics including sauerkaut, pickles and other cultured vegetables, and cultured dairy foods made from raw milk (if dairy tolerant) such as yogurt, kefir, sour cream and cream cheese.
  • Homemade bone broths, soups and stews with slow-cooked grassfed meats and poultry and wild-caught fish, organic vegetables and traditional fats such as butter, ghee, coconut oil or palm oil. Contains important amino acids such as glycine and proline from collagen and glutamic acid which is important for bones, cartilage and joints. 

Eat real food with traditional fats and proteins to avoid joint pain, swelling and recovery from chronic inflammation and disease. Conventional health experts tell us to avoid meat and animal foods and consume a plant-based diet with plenty of grains, vegetables, lean meats and low-fat or skim dairy foods, other fortified foods, and supplements. However, these commercial and low-fat foods can actually contribute to chronic inflammation, disease, joint pain, and bone loss. 

Our bodies need real nutrients from a variety of natural, real foods. The human body experiences challenges tolerating and digesting commercial foods that are produced or farmed with toxins, antibiotics, hormones, genetically-modified organisms and synthetic nutrients.


An excellent, healing protocol for joint swelling and inflammation, as well as other chronic health issues, is Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride's GAPS Diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome)

Other considerations in healing from chronic disease

Gut dysbiosis, or imbalance in the digestive tract from consuming toxic substances and processed foods can be a culprit in chronic inflammation which can lead to various health issues including auto-immune disease

Auto-immune disease is a major contributor of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, food allergies, joint and bone pain, low immunity, chronic fatigue and other chronic health issues. Supporting digestive health is a key to overcoming chronic disease. 



Learn more from the GAPS Diet web site:

Supplements, herbs and other food

  • Magnesium - recommended for topical use, 12foru magnesium spray, epsom, magnesium and dead sea salt baths - purchase salts from health food store. Having adequate magnesium in the body enables the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K2, all critical for bone health
  • Cherry tincture especially effective for joints and gout
  • Vitamin C - recommended liposomal C, easily absorbed, natural source and critical for immune, cellular formation, bones, gums, connective tissue, joint and bone health
  • Warm water and apple cider vinegar - 2-3 tablespoons per 5 ounces water 2-3 times daily, less if unable to tolerate flavor
  • Ginger tea, tincture or use plant in cooking for anti-inflammatory, immune support
  • Tumeric tincture or use plant in cooking for anti-inflammatory properties
  • Boswellia tincture for anti-inflammatory properties
  • Celery and / or celery seeds - contains potassium, boron, and Vitamin K which is a co-factor that works with fat-soluble Vitamins A, D and E and is necessary for mineral absorption such as magnesium, calcium also important for bones and joints
  • Nettles infusions - contain
     important minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron and phytonutrients including rutin, chlorophyll, and caratenoids essential for bone, joint, immune, heart and skin health.  
  • Dandelion tincture and milk thistle tincture, important for detoxification of the liver, which benefits bones and joints
  • Collagen and gelatin - provide amino acids and minerals, important for bone, joint and cartilage health. Recommended: Vital Proteins Collagen and Beef Gelatin. Read more here on the Benefits of Collagen.

Lifestyle changes and other modalities

Gentle, regular exercise and stretching including walking, hiking (after some time spent walking), rebounding, and weight-bearing exercises are all important for bone and joint health.


Reduce stress  stress causes nutrient depletion in the body and can cause deficits in all organ systems and areas, including our bones

Recommended reading for more information: Stress Repertory: Signs and Symptoms of Stress Induced Nutrient Depletion

Obtain regular and adequate rest and sleepOur bodies regenerate and heal during sleep, and research shows that proper rest can be beneficial to optimally supporting wellness including the health of our bones and joints. 

Regular, moderate sun exposure

Contrary to conventional recommendations about avoiding the sun, safe, regular exposure to the sun provides the best source of Vitamin D for our bodies and is critical for bone and joint health and is essential for other aspects of health including immunity, digestion and cardiovascular disease.




Massage for pain relief


Chiropractic care can provide results in pain those experience from conditions such as osteoarthritis:



Photo by Matthew LeJune on Unsplash

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