By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
March 24, 2014
- Old age doesn’t have to mean achy and creaky joints
- The truth about NSAID pain-relievers
- A neat trick to start enjoying your life… pain-free!
Joint pain – it’s one of the top complaints I see in my practice. And I’m surprised that so many of my patients seem to think their achy and creaky joints are just something that comes naturally with age. “Oh… it’s just a touch of arthritis,” they say.
Well I don’t know about you. But if I’ve got an ache or a pain, I don’t want to just “accept” it. I want to get to the root of the problem and make it go away – permanently!
The most common cause of those aches and pains might be a breakdown in joint cartilage. This is a condition known as “osteoarthritis.” And it can be caused by many different things: being overweight, a joint injury, or simply stress on the joints from a specific job or sport.
It’s true that we put a lot of wear and tear on our joints over the years. But it doesn’t mean you have to suffer from painful arthritis in the knees, hips or back as you get older.
You see, the one, single thing you think you’re doing to prevent pain and inflammation of the joints might just be making it worse!
You’ll be surprised to hear what this common mistake is…
When your joints start aching, what’s the first thing you tend to do?
If you’re like most of my new patients, it’s likely you reach for an over-the-counter pain-reliever. And in most cases, it’s probably something called a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID), like aspirin or ibuprofen.
It’s true that these meds can lessen your pain for a short while. But while they’re working to ease your pain, they’re also increasing your chance of heart attack or stroke. That’s the last thing you want to do.
But there’s another issue here you probably haven’t heard about. It turns out NSAIDs might also be making your arthritis even worse than it was to start with.
These medications are known to accelerate the breakdown of joint cartilage and prevent the formation of new cartilage. In other words, they speed up the progression of arthritis!
Without getting too technical, joint cartilage is constantly being regenerated and remodeled. However, NSAIDs block the synthesis of certain proteins, molecules and compounds necessary to complete these repairs. This hastens deterioration of the joints and accelerates arthritic damage.
Taking NSAIDs – whether over-the-counter or by prescription – could even increase your risk of undergoing a knee or hip replacement… maybe even spinal surgery.
Another downside to NSAIDs (and an unintended one with major consequences) is their propensity to begin or hasten along a “leaky gut syndrome,” where partially digested food particles or pathogenic bacterial matter passes through the gut barrier lining into the bloodstream, causing potentially serious disease as the body’s immune system attacks it… especially in joints.
Now I know most mainstream doctors recommend them. In fact, they’re the number one medication prescribed for osteoarthritis.
But as a functional physician, I would much rather see you get to the root of the problem and reduce your joint pain naturally – without adding any further damage.
The best way to beat the pain and stiffness of arthritis is to get regular exercise. It’s one of the most important things you can do to support healthy joints.
Now I know it can sometimes be difficult to remain active when you’re in pain. So here’s a neat trick…
Try aquatic exercise. All you need is access to a swimming pool, lake or ocean. The water keeps you buoyant, which reduces the impact on your joints. So you can jog in place, perform jumping jacks or just swim without putting any wear and tear on your joints.
This low-impact type of exercise is easy to do, and it can significantly relieve the aches and pains associated with arthritis. Better yet, it’s a lot of fun!
There are also a few supplements that can help…
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is naturally produced by your body and keeps your joints lubricated. But as you age, your body produces less of it and may lead to pain, stiffness and arthritis. HA helps relieve joint pain, cushions joints and eases symptoms of arthritis. I recommend taking 150 mg. of a good quality hyaluronic acid supplement daily.
Green-lipped mussel extract (150 mg. daily) can reduce joint tenderness, morning stiffness and improve pain levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids slow the progression of osteoarthritis and could reduce your risk of developing it by as much as 50%. For best results, take 3,000 mg. of a purified marine fish oil supplement each day.
Glucosamine, used alone or in combination with chondroitin, relieves pain, improves joint function and slows cartilage breakdown. I recommend my patients take 1,500 mg. of glucosamine with 800-1,200 mg. of chondroitin.
Curcumin – Take 500-1,000 mg. twice a day for the inflammatory component of your pain.
Remember: Unless otherwise instructed by your physician, most nutrients are best taken with food or just after eating.
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