Many Doctors continue to misinform patients on both the causes of joint pain and treatment necessary to alleviate it. The cure to joint pain is not about popping a few pills and resting your tush in the hopes the pain will go away. This is only suppresses the symptoms of millions who are given this advice, only to later find their condition has progressed further. Here are 5 myths the medical profession is still insisting on when it comes to joint pain.
Imagine what your life would be like without joint pain. What if throbbing, aching joints never made you think twice about doing the activities you used to enjoy? Imagine being able to play 18 holes of golf effortlessly or sit through a movie without getting stiff. How about being able to get out of bed in the morning without feeling those creaks and pops, ready to take on the day?
Staying Active Is the Fountain of Youth
Here's a simple truth to remember. Nothing does more for your quality of life and longevity than staying active as you age. And what usually keeps people from staying active is some combination of believing that aches and pains are a NORMAL part of the aging process, and quite simply, bad advice from their doctors. Despite what your doctor might tell you, there's an underlying cause for joint pain that may have nothing to do with your age. (More on that later). But first, it's important to understand that the conventional approach to joint pain is basically to band-aid the issue with painkillers.
Don't Let Big Pharma Take Away Your Best Years
The current medical mentality on pain management has spurred a multibillion-dollar industry for Big Pharma. However, studies show that long-term use of seemingly "harmless" over-the-counter pills, such as ibuprofen, can actually weaken your joints over time, and prescription pain pills have a well-established track record of causing serious damage and even death. You may recall the tragedy that unfolded around the FDA-approved painkiller Vioxx, which claimed as many as 55,000 lives (and possibly up to 100,000) before the FDA banned it.It makes me wonder, is the next Vioxx lurking out there?
Despite what your doctor might say, you don't have to stop exercising and take painkilling medications just to maintain an acceptable quality of life as you get older. And any way you slice it, taking painkillers long term, even ibuprofen, is NOT safe.
MYTH # 1: Exercise Makes Joint Pain Worse
If you're suffering from any kind of joint pain, the commonly held belief is that additional "wear and tear" will make it worse. But the problem with this idea is that it doesn't take into account the body's inherent ability to repair damage and that physical activity actually stimulates this repair. The fact is, inactivity is known to weaken muscles and decrease joint flexibility.
Although short rest may be prescribed for back pain, it's best to remain active. Experts say that complete bed rest is one of the worst things you can do. If you're not active, the body quickly becomes deconditioned -- causing even more pain when you eventually move.
Yet, strangely, if you go to your doctor complaining of joint pain, you'll probably be told to "rest up." However, it's scientific fact that low-impact exercise, such as walking or biking, is highly beneficial to your joints because it increases circulation, which in turn enhances your body's natural ability heal joint tissue and protect it from further damage.
MYTH # 2: All Joint Pain Is Arthritis and Part of The Aging Process
Like gray hair and wrinkles, a few aches and pains are a part of nearly everyone's life. But chronic pain -- which can increase suffering and decrease quality of life -- doesn't have to be. Most people should be able to lead relatively pain-free lives as they age. If you are bothered by chronic pain, a Naturopathic Doctor can find many natural remedies to help you decrease your pain -- no matter how old you are. Also, not all joint pain is arthritis which many Doctors are often too lazy to diagnose. Other conditions, such as tendonitis, bursitis or other soft-tissue injuries also cause joint pain.
MYTH # 3: Painkillers Are a Safe, Long-Term Solution
At their doctor's suggestion, many people take over-the-counter pain medications like aspirin, naproxen or ibuprofen day after day, under the assumption that it's perfectly safe to do so. You can blame this at least in part on those fancy pharmaceutical ads that make it seem like these pills are side effect-free. But this is far from the truth. What those ads won't tell you, and what your doctor may not know, is that these pills have serious negative health consequences when taken for long periods of time. For example, shocking new research shows that long-term use of ibuprofen may actually damage your joints over time, since one way it reduces pain is by suppressing the natural healing process.These pills also have other serious side effects including liver and kidney damage, stomach bleeding, ulcers and increased heart attack and stroke risk.
MYTH # 4: If The Pain Can't Be Found, It's Not Real
"Just because you can't find the exact source of someone's pain doesn't mean they don't feel it," says John F. Dombrowski, MD, a Washington, D.C. pain specialist. No test can measure the intensity of pain, no imaging device can show pain, and no instrument can locate pain precisely. This doesn't mean pain can't be treated. "We don't need to know the exact cause of the pain to try to make it feel better." Joint pain is often localized inflammation that will not necessarily show up on any test in your joints.
MYTH # 5: Natural Products Don't Work
Here's a funny thing about doctors. Recent surveys show that the majority of them take supplements on a daily basis, but many balk at the notion of recommending them to their patients. But when it comes to managing joint pain, the fact is that thousands of scientific studies prove that natural products do work -- often times better than prescription drugs.
Isn't it a doctor's responsibility to recommend the most effective and safest solution? Let me remind you that properly prescribed pharmaceutical drugs are thought to kill approximately 100,000 people each year. Guess how many people died from taking dietary supplements last year? The government's own CDC reports ZERO. For this reason, any doctor who fails to recommend natural joint health products, at least as an option to more dangerous over-the-counter or prescription pills, is committing a form of malpractice. After all, doctors take an oath in which they vow to heal -- not write prescriptions.
Does Your Joint Supplement Belong in the '80s?
The combination of glucosamine and chondroitin has become the most widely used natural remedy for joint pain -- and for a good reason. Hundreds of studies have shown that it's safe, helps to protect and rebuild cartilage and is effective to some degree for a large portion of joint pain sufferers.That being said, the research on joint health has taken major steps forward since glucosamine-chondroitin was first popularized in the 80s.
One of the major discoveries in recent years is that supplementing with hyaluronic acid (also known as HA) can revitalize synovial fluid, a thick gel-like substance that surrounds cartilage, acting as a lubricant and shock absorber.Nowadays, a number of popular joint-support formulas contain some combination of glucosamine, chondroitin and HA. However, while important, these three ingredients don't address what many leading experts now believe to be the root cause of 90% of joint-pain problems.
Most Supplements Fail to Address This Critical Issue
Temporary inflammation is a normal part of your body's natural healing process. But when inflammation becomes chronic, the health consequences can be dire. Unfortunately, as a combined result of exposure to toxins, consumption of processed foods and other factors, many people unknowingly suffer from "invisible" chronic low-grade inflammation. It's now thought this is one of the leading causes of joint pain and discomfort throughout your body.
The problem with most joint-support supplements is that their ingredients are designed to focus only on the joints themselves and don't have any ingredients that fight the inflammation that is causing the pain. If you don't address the larger systemwide issue, then you're only fixing a small part of a larger problem. That's why the very best joint-support supplements out there are packed with natural inflammation fighters. It's simply the very best way to ensure immediate and long-lasting relief for your entire body, not just specific areas.
Fascinating new research shows that there are a number of powerful and perfectly safe herbs that work amazingly well at beating back chronic low-grade inflammation and healing your whole body with amazing effectiveness. These herbs have been used in traditional medicine around the world for thousands of years. But it's not just anecdotes and folklore. Breakthrough scientific studies are proving that these ancient remedies can be safer and more effective than the toxic potions conjured up by modern medicine.
1. Blueberries: Blueberries are excellent anti-inflammatory foods. They increase the amounts of compounds called heat-shock proteins that decrease as people age. When heat-shock proteins are in short supply inflammation, pain and tissue damage is the result.
2. Cayenne Pepper: Ironically, cayenne pepper turns DOWN the heat on inflammation due to its powerful anti-inflammatory compound capsaicin.
3. Celery and Celery Seeds: James Duke, Ph.D., author of The Green Pharmacy, found more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds in celery and celery seeds in his research, including a substance called apigenin, which is powerful in its anti-inflammatory action. Add celery seeds to soups, stews or as a salt substitute in many recipes.
4. Cherries: While many people opt for aspirin as their first course of action when they feel pain, Muraleedharan Nair, PhD, professor of natural products and chemistry at Michigan State University, found that tart cherry extract is ten times more effective than aspirin at relieving inflammation. Tart cherries have powerful anti-inflammatory benefits with the "highest anti-inflammatory content of any food".
5. Dark Green Veggies: Veggies like kale and spinach contain high amounts of alkaline minerals like calcium and magnesium. Both minerals help balance body chemistry to alleviate inflammation.
6. Flax seeds and Flax Oil: Flax seeds are high in natural oils that convert into hormone-like substances in the body to reduce inflammatory substances. Add ground flax seeds to smoothies, atop pancakes or French toast, and many other foods. Flax fiber suppresses appetite and helps support weight loss. Do not heat.
7. Ginger: Dr. Krishna C. Srivastava at Odense University in Denmark found that ginger was superior to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Tylenol or Advil at alleviating inflammation. Ginger tea may alsol help prevent the development of cancer.
8. Raspberries, Blackberries, and Strawberries: In Dr. Muraleedharan Nair’s later research she discovered that these berries have similar anti-inflammatory effects as cherries.
9. Turmeric: Research shows that the Indian spice frequently used in curries suppresses pain and inflammation through a similar mechanism as drugs like COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitors (without the harmful side effects). Turmeric is one of the most powerful ancient herbs with an abundance of health benefits including supporting healthy joint function, promoting radiant skin, improving digestion, and promoting your immune system among many more. Studies show that curcumin is effective in easing the chronic pain of rheumatoid arthritis. A suggested dose is 400 to 600 mg of curcumin taken three times daily for pain and inflammation.
10. Walnuts: Like flax seeds, raw, unsalted walnuts contain plentiful amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids that decrease pain and inflammation. Walnuts are top of the tree when it comes to heart-healthy superfoods, research has shown.
DMSO - A Potent Topical Agent For Pain Relief
For superficial application of a topical agent that can penetrate several layers of the dermis, look no further than DMSO. DMSO and Sweet Relief cream combined is a completely natural way to deal with chronic pain. DMSO has many uses, but it is known mostly as a natural pain killer and transporter. First synthesized in 1866, DMSO is a sulfur-containing organic compound that is derived from MSM, and can be used internally or externally. DMSO can aid injuries such as sprained ankles, sore muscles and joints, and even fractures. It is very effective in treating joint pain when combined with capsaicin which dramatically increases effectiveness.