Joint issues in one form or another are the #1 cause of forced time off from the gym and diminished workout intensity. Joint pain is incredibly common; with over 30% of those aged 18 or older having experienced joint pain in the last 30 days. As we age, this number increases drastically. Of those aged 40 and older, over 75% experienced joint pain in the past 30 days. While there are several causes, a lot of this is due to the fact that humans are living longer and longer and joints are breaking down over time. From 1 A.D. until about the 1800’s A.D., human life expectancy was anywhere for 30-50 years depending on a number of factors. However, with the advancements in medicine over the past 100-200 years, life expectancy has skyrocketed to 67 years (as of 2010). People are now living nearly twice as long. We continue to extend our life expectancy by prolonging the life of our organs and bodily systems, but no such fix has yet been discovered to make our joints last 67 years. Our joints are much more mechanical in nature, and treating them and caring for them is more challenging. As such, our joints break down far sooner than the rest of our bodies, leaving us with the statistic listed above with over 3 in 4 people over 40 years old having joint problems. Our current remedies for joint related issues are first and foremost, pain medicine. Be it ibuprofen, acetaminophen, Vicoden or much more powerful pain meds, they are the most used remedy. However they can lead to tremendous side effects and do nothing to fix the problem, rather, they only mask the pain, which often leads to it getting worse and requiring even more pain meds. Another option is surgery to repair the joint, which of course is a last resort. A more logical option is joint car
e supplements such as Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, and collagen. Several products have been developed that provide a great deal of relief by nourishing the joint and targeting inflammation. Products like Allflex from Allmax nutrition has been shown in studies to greatly reduce inflammation, repair joints and restore mobility, however, by themselves, joint supplements aren’t always enough. There are other things we can do to aid in this process that are often overlooked.
To know how to treat joint pain, we must first understand why it happens. Nearly all joint pain is a result of inflammation within the joint and a lack of proper lubrication of the joint. These are caused by overuse and a breakdown of joint cartilage. The primary reason joint pain tends to linger is that there is very minimal blood flow to the joints. The joints do not have major arteries; they only have a few small capillaries, which greatly reduces the speed at which they heal. Here are a few things, outside of pain meds, joint supplements and surgery that we can do to healthily and quickly relieve joint pain:
Do moderate cardio when you can’t use weights– Exercise causes muscles to release cytokines. Cytokines are cell-signaling protein molecules that initiate a healthy inflammatory response and accelerate the healing process of muscles and joints. Following a cardio session, cytokines will be produced for about 24 hours post exercise. So even if your joints hurt too bad for resistance exercise, doing some moderate cardio will spike your body’s cytokine production and accelerate the joint healing process.
Move the affected joint regularly – Since joints have such poor circulation, any way we can increase blood flow to them will aid in their recovery. For any joint that hurts, do some regular stretching and basic movements to get the blood flowing to the joint a couple times per day. Not only will this increase blood flow to the joint, but will also help maintain joint mobility until it is healed enough to use it normally.
Eat plenty of greens - Scientists at the University of North Carolina conducted a study that analyzed the knees of more than 2,000 subjects and revealed that individuals who ate the highest amount of green vegetables like spinach and broccoli were half as likely to experience serious health issues resulting from joint discomfort and lack of mobility. The reason for this is that green vegetables have a plethora of health effects such as balancing the body’s’ PH and aiding blood flow, among other benefits, which significantly improve the healing process and also help maintain joint health long term.
Get plenty of Omega 3’s – Omega 3 fatty acids are known widely for their cardiovascular and other health benefits, but they are a boon to aid in joint health as well. They are extremely powerful anti-inflammatories, which, in the context of achy joints, means everything. They have also been shown to greatly increase joint lubrication. If you have sore joints, be sure to get plenty of fish oil. There is no upper limit that has been found to have negative effects, so be sure to eat plenty of fish or get plenty of supplemental fish oil.
Joint pain is a multi-faceted problem that involves mechanical breakdown of joints, inflammation and also lack of proper lubrication. As such, it requires a multi-faceted approach to treat. Medication and surgery are quick and easy solutions, but they do nothing to address the cause. To deal with achy joints and assist then in lasting 67 years, be sure to keep them moving, stay active, take a great joint supplement like Allflex from Allmax and eat plenty of green vegetables and fish or fish oil.