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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