The 3 Things Stopping You from Healthy Joints

By: Dr. Craig Mintzer | Inflammation | Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 03:43 PM

inflammationMuscle soreness and pain in our joints can be the result of injury, infection, illness or normal wear and tear. For some people discomfort and chronic joint pain make it hard to enjoy life. Rheumatologists say millions of sufferers do have control over the condition of their joints; in many cases they believe there are 3 things stopping people from having healthy joints.

Weight and Possible Inflammation

According to John Hopkins researchers, if you are just 10 pounds overweight you are increasing the force on your knees by anywhere from 30 to 60 pounds every step you take. Osteoarthritis is common among people who are overweight. It is a degenerative joint disease that is caused by inflammation. It leads to the breakdown of cartilage and can create a lot of pain. A National Health and Nutrition survey shows that obese women have nearly 4 times the risk of knee osteoarthritis than non-obese women. Studies have also shown that both women and men who suffer from joint and muscle soreness experience improvement in their level of pain after losing weight.

Exercise for Healthy Joints

Inflammation, joint pain, and muscle soreness can make it difficult to enjoy sports or other activities that require a lot of movement, but researchers at Harvard Medical School say sitting out isn’t helping your cause. In fact, they say the right type of exercises can ease pain and inflammation, thus helping some people avoids surgery. A mountain of scientific evidence shows that regular exercise is not only good for your cardiovascular health, but it also helps keep you mobile longer. One study in the UK took a group of 69 year olds who had no known disabilities and put them on either an aerobics or resistance exercise program. They then evaluated the participants ADL disability. ADL means activities of daily living. (These are chores or activities people take part in on a daily basis.) As time passed, some participants stopped exercising. The study showed that those who followed through with the routine of aerobics had a 47 per cent reduced risk of ADL disability and the people who focused on a resistance program had a 40 per cent reduced risk.

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Health practitioners have mixed feelings about whether or not food has anything to do with joint pain, inflammation and muscle soreness; however, some studies seem to suggest that people with arthritis and other musculoskeletal problems feel better when they add certain items to their diet. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry states that resveratrol, which is found in grapes, blueberries, and cranberries can help reduce inflammation. Another report published in the same journal suggests that specific flavonoids found in certain types of berries can help reduce inflammation from forming in a person’s joints.

Nutritionists say that their clients often comment on how switching to whole grains improves their muscle soreness and joint discomfort. As well, avoiding nightshades seem to help. Nightshades are a category of vegetables that contain a substance called “solanine”. Scientists believe it interferes with enzymes in muscles and ultimately leads to increased inflammation. Nightshades include eggplant, tomatoes, green peppers, and white potatoes.

Since there is so much anecdotal evidence linking certain foods to healthy joints, there is demand for much more scientific research on the subject. In the meantime, to maintain healthy joints and avoid pain, remember to keep the weight off and exercise regularly.


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