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10/18/2016

Joint Venture

I have been living with chronic lower back pain for the last thirty years. Degenerating discs, sitting on office chairs, lack of excercise, being slightly overweight, occasional heavy lifting - I had grown so used to the pain, that I hardly paid attention to it anymore. When the pain gradually increased early this year, and then spread further down into my right hip, I thought this was to be expected as a normal result of aging.

Three months went by before I finally decided that this was too much pain to ignore. It got so bad, that I would avoid getting up out of my chair, because I knew the initial pain would be excruciating. It took me longer, and longer to get moving. I developed a limp in my walk, and people started asking "are you ok?" when they noticed that.

Researching my symptoms, possible causes, treatment options, or future prospect, everything pointed me in the direction of osteoarthritis of the hip; not a very good thing to discover. Many articles I read about the topic suggested it can't be cured, all you can do is alleviate the pain, and eventually you will need joint replacement surgery.

Before I just roll over and die, though, I decided to first have the diagnosis confirmed by a professional, and then plan on a course of action. Finding a doctor who will accept new patients is not easy in the USA. Expect long wait times. It took me two hours on the phone to set up an appointment several months out, early in October. In the meantime I decided to develop my own treatment plan, assuming my assessment was correct, and I did in fact have osteoarthritis.

joint pain,osteoarthritis,anti-agingFrom my research I learned, that osteoarthritis is painful mainly because of inflammation, not so much because of bones rubbing on bones - at least in the initial stages. Inflammation caused by little chunks of malnourished cartilage coming apart, floating around inside the joint, will prompt the surrounding bones to form bone spurs, which then cause more wear and tear on the cartilage, and more inflammation. It's like a vicious cycle that ends in destruction of a joint, if you can't stop it.

Armed with my newly found knowledge I developed a holistic approach to my joint problem. I knew there would not be the one "miracle pill" that fixes years of neglect and damage within a short time. I knew I would need changes in my diet, and life style, and suitable supplements to help my body help itself. I knew this would take time, months, maybe years.

By now, five months into my own treatment plan, I am happy to report improvement. A day before my scheduled doctor's appointment I thought to myself "I really don't need a doctor for this", but then I also wanted to have a professional diagnosis, and maybe hear some professional opinion about my options.

The x-ray images taken revealed moderate (stage 1-2) osteoarthritis in my right hip, and on both sides of my sacroiliac joint. That definitely explains all the symptoms I was experiencing. The doctor recommended to continue doing, what I had been doing. She offered prescription pain medication, suggested a referral to an orthopedic specialist, physical therapy, injections... but all that only if I felt the pain was getting worse again.

You're still here? Good. You will now find out exactly what I am doing to improve my condition. If you suffer from arthritis, I hope you'll have the same results as I did. Feel free to contact me with additional questions by commenting on this post.  

1. Nutrition

Inflammation is a reason for many ailments, not just osteoarthritis, so to eliminate that is the first goal. Greatly reduce your intake of animal protein; eat more plant based food instead. You don't have to become a vegetarian; just eat less meat, dairy products, eggs. Also avoid processed, packaged food with artificial sweeteners, artificial colours, preservatives, and other chemicals you can't even pronounce.

Don't drink pop, read labels and chose natural, plain, simple products, containing no more than ten ingredients that you would have available in your kitchen. Prepare your own food from scratch whenever possible. Fresh ginger and turmeric are excellent spices to use. Drink lots of clean water, or unsweetened tea. Eliminate sugar, other sweeteners, and simple carbohydrates from your diet - or at least minimize those. 

2. Life Style

The basic "use it or lose it" rule applies to joint mobility too. Joints need to be moved to stay flexible, but you have to make sure the movement doesn't result in excessive wear. If you are overweight, work to reduce that. Every pound lost takes up to four pounds of pressure off your joints.

Walk frequently throughout the day; aim to be walking for at least 45 minutes every day. Swimming, riding bicycle, dancing, tai-chi, yoga, or any other sport that involves slow, flowing, smooth movements, is advised. Don't run, or jump, or play sports like tennis, or volleyball, where you would have to twist and turn rapidly. Get enough sleep daily.

3. Supplements 

Even with changes to diet and life style, osteoarthritis is sometimes hard to control. Especially when damage to the joint has already occurred, adding the following supplements may help you reach your goal to be pain-free, and to prevent the disease from progressing.

Be advised, though, that I am not a medical professional. Talk to your doctor, if you are unsure about adding any of these supplements to your daily regimen. Even natural remedies can have side effects, or interactions with medication you are already taking.

I personally use these supplements, which I order from Amazon, to help with my osteoarthritis:

Colloidal Silica 1 tablespoon full every morning with breakfast
Hubner Original Silica Gel 17 fl.oz

Glucosamin, Chondroitin, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) 2 tablets daily in the morning
Triple Strength Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM (Shellfish-Free) Tablets 120 TABLETS

Undenatured standardized Collagen Type 2 (UC-II) 1 capsule at night, two hours after the last meal, with orange juice
Life Extension Bio-Collagen with Patented UC II, 60 capsules

Serrapeptase 1 capsule at night
iSerra 250,000 SPU - 90 Delayed Release Capsules

Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO) 2 capsules at night
Natrol CetylPure Capsules, 120-Count

09/10/2016

Expat.com published an Interview with me

A few weeks ago I was contacted by EXPAT.com - a website that I signed up for in 2009, and hadn't done anything worth mentioning on - asking if I would be willing to answer a few questions about "life in the colonies".  Nice.

So I answered some questions, which were sent via email, and I attached photos to illustrate the article. Today the journalist let me know that my interview had been published here:

German expatriate in the United States

I like the fact that they didn't shorten, alter, or correct anything I wrote. If you are interested in reading more stories like mine, or maybe even tell your own, you may want to sign up.

07/19/2016

DIY - Anti - Aging

I know we all get "old" sooner or later, that's by design. I am hoping to get really, really, old - because that's still better than dying young. What I don't like are the side effects of getting old. For me the most noticeable, and most annoying, side effects of aging were mobility restrictions: morning stiffness, aching joints, start-up pain, lower back pain, sciatic nerve problems, maybe even early stage arthritis, or osteoporosis.

Instead of simply accepting the facts, or going to a doctor to get some kind of prescription, I went on a treasure hunt in pursuit of a solution to my problem, or at least an improvement of the condition.

Now, two months into my research and experiment, I am happy to report that things are looking really good! My mobility has greatly improved. Joint pain is almost gone in most situations. In addition to my main concern being a lot less concerning, I am also finding surprising improvements in other areas. Thinning eyebrows are growing in nicely again, I now have visible lower eye-lashes, my skin isn't itchy and dry anymore, the gaps between my receding gums and upper back molars seem a lot smaller lately, my respiratory allergies cause less frequent/severe coughing during the day.

How did I do all this, you may ask. Apart from a few general recommendations for a healthy life-style (eat less animal protein, get enough sleep, exercise every day) I attribute my success to three supplements that I added to my daily regimen, listed in descending order of importance.

  1. one tablespoon full of colloidal silica (Hübner Silica Gel)
  2. two capsules of high dose pure serrapeptase (Arthur Andrew Serrétia)
  3. two capsules of cissus quadrangularis extract (Nutrakey Cissus Quadrangularis)  

SilicaAndMore.jpg

06/09/2016

Blogspirit "eating" your HTML Code?

Because it was rather frustrating for me, and my search on the web only turned up other people’s frustration, I dedicated a few hours of my time to play around with it. It is actually ridiculously easy to make Blogspirit accept code just like you enter it – without making any changes to it.

Here’s how this works:

After you log in, click on the “Publications” tab, then select “All Posts”

BlogspiritHtml1.jpg

There is a link right there, "to change the default post settings, click here".

Go ahead and click that.

BlogspiritHtml2.jpg

For “Editor” select “Text only”. That will pop open the Text formatting option. Select “none” for that. Don’t forget to click “Update Information” to save the settings.

You can always go back to the WYSIWYG editor later, after you’re done with that one post in pure html.

06/07/2016

Ecwid - eCommerce for us "Little People"

I invented the awesome ExxoPok phone pouch - and I (try to) sell it on Etsy and Ebay. Not bad, for a start. It's like having a stand at the flea-market, though. Your shop isn't really yours, and the marketplace wants to make money off of you by charging various fees. Listing fees, transaction fees, monthly fees, service fees.........

So I started looking for ways to diversify, maybe add a web-shop to my own little old home page? Or sell ExxoPoks on Facebook? There are so many different ways to do that, I started to get confused. Shopify, Volusion, BigCartel, SquareSpace, 3dCart, LemonStand, BigCommerce, AmeriCommerce......... all fine products having several flaws in common.

They all cost monthly fees (after some initial trial period), ranging anywhere from $8 to $299 a month, depending on the level of flexibility you buy. Also, once you decide what e-commerce platform to use, you are pretty much "stuck" with them. Migrating to a different platform is complicated, or next to impossible, for most of these.

After weeks of digging I finally found a little gem called "Ecwid". It took me a few hours on the weekend to get this figured out, setting up a subdomain, adding a free template to it, customizing that and integrating Ecwid's shop plugin - looks great!

ExxoPok shop powered by Ecwid

Then I realized you can simply add that plugin to a Facebook page too. For up to 10 items the whole platform is completely free to use, forever. Which means, if I make a sale through Ecwid, all I'd have to pay would be Paypal's transaction fees.

I even figured out how to embed a single product widget right here, in my old blog!

 

 
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