Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, causes the breakdown of joints in the body. For many people, the disease progresses over time to affect several joints at once. The Arthritis Foundation estimates that osteoarthritis affects 33 million people in the United States. While treatments exist to reduce pain and slow progression of the disease, there is no cure. Over time, the effects of osteoarthritis can be severe enough to interfere with everyday living and physical activities.
Cartilage is a firm, elastic tissue that pads the space between bone ends that form a joint. This tissue allows joint bones to glide during movement and prevents bones from rubbing together and wearing down. Osteoarthritis causes the breakdown of cartilage and commonly affects joints in the hands, wrists, knees, hips and spine. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons explains that without cartilage for padding, joint bones rub directly against each other, causing bone ends to become rough and damaged.
Over time, nodules, or bumps, can form on joints affected by osteoarthritis that make movement difficult. Small pieces of bone ends may break and wedge in affected joints, and joints can become extremely weak and difficult to move. A joint may lose its original shape as bone ends continue to wear down, causing joint disfiguration and reduced function.
Pain is common with osteoarthritis. Joints without cartilage to pad them become inflamed and sore. A basic movement such as flexing the fingers to grab an item can bring pain and makes movement difficult. Pain may be worse in the morning, and vigorous physical exercise may make pain worse.
For some, joint pain begins as mild and progresses as the disease gets worse. Some people, however, may have constant, ongoing throbbing or nagging pain in joints affected by osteoarthritis.
A lot of joint pain seems to peak in the winter for our patients. Vitamin D provides the most bang for the buck. It is a supplement everyone should be on during the winter, not only for joint pain, but also immune support. Older folks typically ache more in the winter months due to the lack of natural vitamin D through sunshine. We recommend between 5,000 and 6,000 I.U. a day for our adult patients. If we go any higher, it’s recommended to monitor your vitamin D level through bloodwork. Just this last year, Collagen powder and the anti-inflammatory Boswellia Complex have been a proven combo for many of my patients. Another thing to consider when experiencing joint pain is the type of water you drink. Well water, tap water, bottled spring water, and alkaline water may worsen joint pain, stiffness, and cramps. The calcium in those waters is not broken down well in the body and can exacerbate symptoms. If this is the case, body pH may become a problem. Acid is needed to assimilate calcium and many patients I have encountered have poor digestive acid. This is one of the biggest reasons we do not recommend alkaline water. The American diet is very pro-inflammatory with too many omega-6’s and not enough omega-3’s. A good quality fish oil works well into the mix.
What are some other things to consider when it comes to joint pain? From a Functional Medicine view, baseline bloodwork can show us some quick insight. A complete blood count will check white blood cells and make sure there isn’t any infection. Evaluating uric acids level for gouty arthritis should be ruled out. CRP will be raised when there is infection or inflammation and depending on how high it is, autoimmune markers may be a factor. Food sensitivities for gut health is very key in today’s age. If you have an inflamed gut because of a gluten intolerance, it will build up in the body and create more joint inflammation. Living on daily NSAID’s (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) is not the answer to your daily aches and pains. Is your doctor trying to get to the root cause of joint pain for you? The following joint overhaul pictured above is as followed daily. This protocol works best for age-related osteoarthritis, but has been helpful in some of our autoimmune cases as well.
1-2tbsp. Collagen powder
2-4 Boswellia Complex
4 drops of Bio-D-Mulsion
2-4 Advance Joint Complex
Enjoy Dr. J