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How To Really Look After Your Joints

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The Other Ways To Look After Your Joints

When it comes to joint health, most people have two quick go-to items:

  • Stretching
  • Supplements like omega-3 and glucosamine sulfate

Stretching, and specifically, mobility exercises, are important! We’ll have to do a main feature on these sometime soon. But for today, we’ll just say: yes, gentle daily stretches go a long way, as does just generally moving more.

And, those supplements are not without their merits. For example:

Of those, glucosamine sulfate may have an extra benefit in now just alleviating the symptoms, but also slowing the progression of degenerative joint conditions (like arthritis of various kinds). This is something it shares with chondroitin sulfate:

Effect of glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate on the osteoarthritis progression: a meta-analysis

An unlikely extra use for the humble cucumber…

As it turns out, cucumber extract beats glucosamine and chondroitin by 200%, at 1/135th of the dose.

You read that right, and it’s not a typo. See for yourself:

Effectiveness of Cucumis sativus extract versus glucosamine-chondroitin in the management of moderate osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial

Reduce inflammation, have happier joints

Joint pain and joint degeneration in general is certainly not just about inflammation; there is physical wear-and-tear too. But combatting inflammation is important, and turmeric, which we’ve done a main feature on before, is a potent helper in this regard:

Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials

See also: Keep Inflammation At Bay

(a whole list of tips for, well, keeping inflammation at bay)

About that wear-and-tear…

Your bones and joints are made of stuff, and that stuff needs to be replaced. As we get older, the body typically gets worse at replacing it in a timely and efficient fashion. We can help it do its job, by giving it more of the stuff it needs.

And what stuff is that?

Well, minerals like calcium and phosphorus are important, but a lot is also protein! Specifically, collagen. We did a main feature on this before, which is good, as it’d take us a lot of space to cover all the benefits here:

We Are Such Stuff As Fish Are Made Of

Short version? People take collagen for their skin, but really, its biggest benefit is for our bones and joints!

Wrap up warmly and… No wait, skip that.

Writer’s anecdote: when I was young, my mother—her body already wracked with arthritis, along with post-polio syndrome—warned me that if I did not dress warmly, I would end up like her. In her mind, the cause of her arthritis was having spent too much time exposed to the elements. This is a popular myth, doubtlessly resulting from the fact that barometric changes can worsen the symptoms of already-extant arthritis, so it’s not a stretch to believe that wind and rain caused it. But, while it’s not a stretch, it’s also not scientific.

If you have arthritis, you may indeed “feel it in your bones” when the weather changes. But the remedy for that is not to try to fight it, but rather, to strengthen your body’s ability to respond to it.

The answer? Cryotherapy, with ice baths ranking top:

Note that this can be just localized, so for example if the problem joints are your wrists, a washing-up bowl with water and ice will do just nicely.

Note also that, per that last study, a single session will only alleviate the pain, not the disease itself. For that (per the other studies) more sessions are required.

We did a main feature about cryotherapy a while back, and it explains how and why it works:

A Cold Shower A Day Keeps The Doctor Away?

Take care!

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