Is there anything I can do to get my joints in shape?
People with arthritic aches and pains, or sports injuries often ask about their joint health - usually with some despondency.
It’s understandable why. With age and activity, the protective covering of cartilage around our joints gets worn down. Joints very often become painful and stiffen and we gradually become less mobile.
Joint aches and pains can be treated
It is reassuring to know it is actually quite surprising how much you can do to look after your joints.
Firstly, you no longer need to sit back and wait for your cartilage to wear down. Over the past decade, research has found certain nutrients actually encourage cartilage regrowth. One of the leaders in the field is glucosamine. This feeds your body with the building blocks needed to maintain and make new cartilage. This process takes some time do you should aim to take this for at least three months to feel the effects of cartilage repair, reduced pain and better mobility – athletes suffering from sports injuries swear by it.
Take natural anti-inflammatory supplements
You can also take a range of supplements to reduce painful joint inflammation. Try MSM, an organic form of sulphur. Clinical trials on patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, found that when taken regularly, MSM reduced pain while improving joint movement.
Other supplements which are known to be effective in reducing joint pain and inflammation are:
- Turmeric: Drugs companies testing active compounds in turmeric are finding it every bit as effective as anti-inflammatory medicines and can help back pain.
- Devil’s Claw: In one trial, was as effective at cutting pain as the arthritis drug Vioxx.
- Rosehip: Studies in Germany and Denmark have shown that in a 6 month test with rosehip, the number of joints causing pain or discomfort fell by 40%
Ensure that you reduce pro-inflammatory foods from your diet
Reduce your intake of pro-inflammatory foods and drinks, cut down intake and avoid if possible as they cause increased inflammation in the body. Some of the most commonly consumed include:
- red meat
Increase your intake of anti-inflammatory foods which include:
- oily fish
- green tea
Get your circulation going too, if you can. A good blood flow through and around painful joints helps feed the tissue, and it flushes any toxins away. Good herbs for this are ginger (boil up a strong fresh ginger infusion twice daily) and chilli’s – add them to your meals if you like spicy food.
Even if you have aches and pains the right exercise is very important
Exercise that doesn’t impact already-strained joints helps to keep your mobility and range of movement. It can be tough to motivate yourself to do this when you are in pain and discomfort but it should not be underestimated how important this is, if you want to slow joint degeneration. Swimming, water aerobics, pilates and yoga are all great low-impact forms of exercise – and yoga is commonly considered one of the best way of staying flexible. Workout three times weekly, if you can. If you’re less mobile, don’t worry. More basic exercise will do, such as going for gentle walks and including some stretches in your daily routine. Give it some time to see results, at least a month or two – don't be surprised if you feel your joints have been given a good oiling!