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Posted by Dr. Scott Wilson | 15-Apr-2022
If you have joint pain, you know all too well how limiting it can be. Whether it’s playing your favorite sport, going for a brisk walk, or even lifting grocery bags, the constant throbbing and aching of joint pain can severely limit your involvement in everyday activities.
As we get older, stiff joints become a reality for many of us. Years of wear and tear on cartilage can take their toll on joints, muscles, and bones. But age is not the only factor. Osteoarthritis risk can be inherited. Injuries can also affect joint health, and some people who’ve had the coronavirus have complained of severe joint pain. In fact, progression in joint pain depends mainly on genetics, biomechanical forces, and biological and chemical processes, all of which differ for each person.
Simply put, joint health supplements can make a difference. They’re especially helpful for those with arthritis pain and are considered the key to healthy joints. Supplements can also help with injury recovery and can increase functional ability, including range of motion. Even those without joint pain take joint health supplements as a preventative measure. Of course, physiotherapy is also an effective preventative measure for reducing your risk of developing Arthritis.
The way that joint health supplements work is by relieving inflammation or by protecting cartilage in the joints from wear and tear. However, the exact nature and extent of benefits provided varies according to the composition of each supplement.
Glucosamine is a naturally occurring constituent of cartilage and one of the most common ingredients in many supplements used for joint pain. The two main types of glucosamine found in joint health supplements are glucosamine hydrochloride and glucosamine sulfate. It helps to slow down cartilage loss and reduces stiffness, swelling, and pain. It’s also helpful in preventing the deterioration of cartilage for people suffering from arthritis. Glucosamine is also widely available in capsule, tablet, syrup, or powdered form.
Similar to glucosamine, chondroitin is also a building block of the cartilage found in joints and can help promote the healthy growth of cartilage. Chondroitin may also be beneficial in preventing cartilage breakdown due to osteoarthritis and several studies have found that it can relieve joint pain and stiffness in people who are suffering from osteoarthritis. Chondroitin sulfate may slow down the progression of osteoarthritis and delay the narrowing of joint spaces in between two bones, when taken for at least two years. Most joint supplement brands often blend chondroitin with glucosamine based on the idea that the compounds may work in tandem to support cartilage. Although, it’s still not entirely clear whether taking a combination of both supplements is any better than taking one or the other on their own.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is another common joint health supplement. It’s also often blended with chondroitin or glucosamine. Other than health supplements, this sulfuric compound is naturally present in certain fruits, vegetables, and grains. Cow’s milk, coffee, tomatoes, tea, swiss chard, beer, alfalfa sprouts, and corn are all rich sources of MSM. MSM is considered useful in the treatment of osteoarthritis. This is because sulfur is necessary for the formation of connective tissue. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, swelling, inflammation, joint aches, and oxidative stress. Patients with these symptoms are advised to take 1,000 to 3,000 mg daily. This is based on the belief that this daily intake can support overall joint health, and could reduce symptoms in most people.
Fish oil supplements are a popular option for relieving joint aches. These joint health supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids which are significantly rich in anti-inflammatory properties. Some forms of arthritis result in inflammation of the joints. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, can help with this. The human body does not naturally produce omega-3 fatty acids. So, this nutrient must be obtained through diet and/or supplements. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are the main fatty acids that are known to help with inflammation. They can be obtained through fish oil health supplements or by eating fatty fish like salmon, sardines, anchovies, and tuna.
Answer: As we grow older, we naturally begin to lose muscle and bone mass, which can result in joint health problems. Building and maintaining joint strength can help us stay much more active and energetic as we age. To do this, be sure to exercise regularly, lose extra weight, protect your joints while playing sports, and know your limits and don’t overdo exercises that can damage your joints. Eating a healthy diet will also help keep your bones and cartilage strong. If you’re experiencing pain, consult a physiotherapist for joint pain treatment.
Answer: There are several vitamins that are beneficial for dealing with arthritis. They include the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, and vitamins D and K. There is currently no significant evidence that validates the effectiveness of taking antioxidant vitamins in improving arthritis symptoms. However, a diet rich in these nutrients is generally considered a healthy one. It can also help with exercise and with maintaining an appropriate weight, both of which are important factors in maintaining joint health. What’s more, vitamins D and K are both essential for bone strength, especially vitamin K because it is involved in cartilage structure.
Answer: If you develop pain and swelling in your knee, the best way to relieve joint pain would be to take a break from high-impact activities such as running, jumping, or walking long distances. Also, try using the RICE treatment — rest, ice, compression, and elevation — and any of the anti-inflammatory supplements mentioned above. To protect the health of your knees, start by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Focus on exercises that target hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus muscles, and hip flexors. Also, try incorporating yoga into your stretching routine, maintain a recommended weight and choose moderate exercises to effectively protect the cartilage in your knees.
Answer: As we age, there are more chances that our bones will become weak and brittle, resulting in painful fractures. This condition is osteoporosis. Including higher degrees of calcium in your diet can help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, along with almonds, broccoli, and certain types of fish provide calcium, which is essential for bone strength. That said, the human body requires vitamin D to absorb calcium. Red meat, liver, and egg yolks are some very good sources of vitamin D. These should also be included in your diet. And last but not least, make sure to include safe and controlled physical activity in your daily routine.
The provision of nutritional supplements, combined with physiotherapy for early rehabilitation, can do wonders when it comes to dealing with arthritis and reducing joint pain and. Of course, when it comes to taking joint health supplements, it’s best to speak with a health professional about your medical history and current medications before making a change.
If you’re experiencing joint pain, our team of Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Naturopaths and Registered Dieticians can help. Book an appointment today and let us show you why, at Physiomed, Healthier Starts Here.
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