Joint pain from osteoarthritis is uncomfortable, frustrating, and debilitating, especially for those who are used to living an active life.
It is the most common form of arthritis today, and is caused by the breakdown of cartilage in one or more joints, simply due to the overuse of the joint. Cartilage acts as a cushion between the bones of joints. When the cartilage is lost, a joint can become bone-on-bone, which is very painful.
The main culprit in osteoporosis is ageing. Besides ageing, other factors which may increase the risk include:
- Injury to the joints (accidents or sports)
- Repetitive use of joints (wear-and-tear)
- Being overweight or lifting weights at the gym (extra load placed on the joint)
- Stressing the joints (poor posture, jogging, running, climbing hills)
- Family history (hereditary factors)
For relief of pain, many take prescription drugs from the COX-2 inhibitors, or pain relievers such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Short-term, it does the job - it does decrease pain and swelling. But what are the long-term implications of taking ibuprofen and similar non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, commonly abbreviated NSAIDs?
Most people with osteoarthritis do not nourish their cartilage. One needs to supply essential nutrients for the body to build strong, flexible cartilage. Having a strong flexible cartilage is the first step for healthy joints. Hence, with the right nutritional support, osteoarthritis sufferers can rebuild their worn out cartilage.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are two clinically proven nutritional compounds used for relief of osteoarthritis and knee pain.
Glucosamine exists naturally in our cartilage and functions to repair and stimulate new cartilage regrowth. However, as our body ages, less amounts of glucosamine are produced.
Chondroitin is another natural compound that is found in joint cartilage, which acts like a water magnet to attract fluid to lubricate the joints. The synergistic effects of these two ingredients can help relieve joint pains and improve flexibility.
Tips to relieve joint pain
Basically, cartilage wear-and-tear does not happen overnight, and likewise, pain relief with glucosamine and chondroitin will not be immediate. You need to take glucosamine and chondroitin supplements daily, at the recommended dosage, for at least three to six months. Once pain is controlled, a maintenance dosage can be followed thereafter.
Hence, important tips to relieve joint(s) pain include:
Nutritional therapy: Proper nutritional therapy for the cartilage is important, so this is where glucosamine and chondroitin conme into the picture.
Complementary nutritional supplement: MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is another nutritional supplement for the joints. MSM is a natural form of sulphur found in living tissues. MSM delivers sulphur to the body in a useable way to help maintain the structure of connective tissues by forming cross-linkages through disulphide bonds, thereby strengthening joint tissues. MSM reduces discomfort and pain arising from degenerative conditions, ie osteoarthritis.
Low impact exercises for an active lifestyle: The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) recommends getting regular exercise that improves your knees' range of motion and helps strengthen the muscles around the knees.
Choosing exercises that don't aggravate your bad knees will help manage knee pain and keep you active, but you can also take other steps to manage knee pain.
- Try exercises such as biking, walking and swimming - anything that doesn't jar the knees, and is easy on all of your joints.
- Avoid high-impact exercises such as running or jogging, which are bad choices for people with bad knees.
- Other exercises that can take a toll on the knees may include vigorous dancing, aerobics and jumping rope.
This article is courtesy of Live-well Nutraceuticals, for more information, please consult your pharmacist.