By Anni Dahms
Owner of the retail chain
ANNI’s VITAL SHOP.
Nurse- & Health
specialist, Biopath and Nutritional Adviser.
While on my wonderful holiday in Cancun, Mexico, I was invited to attend a service at the local baptist church. I knew some of the musicians, and knew that it would be a nice experience, musically as well.
In between the service and the sermon, it was the custom to walk around, greeting and shaking hands with each other. I think that this is a beautiful custom and happily offered my hand to both children and adults. I gave an elderly lady a firm and warm handshake, to which she loudly moaned and groaned.
Alarmed, I looked down at her hand and saw a beautiful hand that was fragile and imprinted by many years of hard work. There can be many reasons for joint pain. With age, the joints become more fragile and are therefore prone to joint pain, although age is not always the trigger.
The pain can happen in all joints and at every age. Usually, it is the cartilage in the joints that are worn down. The cartilage becomes thinner and is not so easily regenerated as before. Eventually, the cartilage is almost worn away, so the bones in the joints almost touch each other, and this contributes to faster degeneration of the bones. This can lead to malformations such as arthritis.
Athletes often come by the shop and complain about joint pain. These people are mostly marathon runners, football players and tennis players who come in with painful knees, hips, back and ankles. However, hands are often vulnerable too. Often it is the weight-bearing joint that is affected the worst. Unfortunately, I know all too well about joint pain, and do a lot to prevent it from dominating my life. It is for me of the most utmost importance to have and to feel a good quality of life in my active daily life.
I do a great deal of walking, and am careful not to carry to much weight. With age, our back loses some of its flexibility. I do exercises to keep it flexible and have experienced that by keeping my stomach muscles quite strong, it has also helped my back and pelvic area. Another weakness I unfortunately share with many others, is the tendency to become more and more stooped and to fall a bit together. I can see that even though it’s age-related, there are many younger people walking around stooped-backed. It is not healthy, nor a pretty sight.
I become aware of stooping many times daily, and straighten up. I have told
my friends and family that they are to remind me to straighten up, when they see that I have forgotten. Luckily they are good at this!
Pay a lot of attention to what you put into your mouth.
Cut all superfluous sugar out of your diet, cakes, candy, etc.
If you have a sweet tooth, you can eat a small amount of dark chocolate, a little organic fruit, almonds, a bit of dried fruit. Try some dark berries as well as pineapple, this contains the enzyme bromelain which has a pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effect. Let ginger become a part of your daily diet. There are numerous studies showing gingers ability to ease pain. Add turmeric, it makes for a good combination to ease pain and improve blood circulation. A new and lovely turmeric (curcuma) tea from Pukka is now available, it can be enjoyed daily instead of a cup of coffee, which is acid-forming. The tea is spiced with liquorice root and mint, and tastes delicious.
Use plenty of rosemary as a spice in your daily cooking. Rosemary is, apart from giving good energy, also acts as a painkiller.
The joints require water, so make sure you are drinking plenty water. Refrain from all sweet carbonated drinks. It is damaging to your bones.
Muscles, tendons, ligaments, all joints and bones benefit from a diet rich in healthy oils and good organic butter. The oils can help to ease pain. So let a good amount of the healthy oils, e.g. olive oil, linseed and coconut oils be included in your diet.
Studies have shown that olive oil contains a chemical which acts much like ibuprofen. The research results were published in the prestigious journal, Nature.
An important factor, we can apply when we improve and plan our meals.
Studies have been made comparing the Danes use of olive oil to the Spanish. In Denmark, we use about 1⁄2 litre per person per year, while the Spanish consume about 10 litres.
Eat a good amount of fatty fish.
Eat plenty of vegetables of all variations. Use lots of linseed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and combine with nuts, especially walnuts and brazil nuts. Linseed is a natural source of omega 3 fatty acids and thus making it a painkiller.
Make your carbohydrates consist of whole grain products.
Let your choice of meat predominantly consist of chicken and turkey.
• Take a good multivitamin/mineral supplement that contains good doses of vitamin E, zinc, copper, boron and vitamin C.
• Whenever the subject is about joints, I especially recommend taking a good quality Chlorella. It is a fresh water unicellular micro algae, and contains a lot of good nutrients, with vitamins, minerals, omega 3 fatty acids and protein. It is often mentioned as a superfood. In addition to the content of nutrients, it also has strong detoxifying properties. It’s a natural product through and through, but make sure to get one of good quality and easily absorbable. There’s a lot of research behind Chlorella. It is available as capsules, tablets and powder.
• Wheatgrass is another superfood that is riding the present wave of fantastic superfoods.
• It can be sprinkled on your salad, taken as a small 25 ml shot or blended into your smoothie. It’s full of vitamins, mineral, including the 92 minerals we know that we benefit from, as well as amino acids, enzymes and chlorophyll. It’s gluten free and can taste a bit like a grass lawn, so I advise you to mix it with apple juice.
• Barleygrass is similar to wheatgrass in structure and effect, and helps to create balance in the body. It is alkaline and can tolerated by all.
• If you have strong pain in your joints and back, then glucosamine is beneficial. It can be found in many different combinations, e.g. with MSM and/or chondroitin. Be careful to avoid this product if you are allergic to shellfish, as this product is made from the shell of crayfish. If you begin taking this product, you should count on taking it for 6 months. For pain, take a daily dose of 500 mg 3 x daily. It helps to thicken cartilage, hereby halting erosion of the articular cartilage.
• I know that some athletes use it prophylactically, they only take 500 mg a day.
• MSM – Methylsulfonylmethane – is also a natural substance. MSM and glucosamine both contain sulfur. In this way, they help each other and our pain. You can also choose to take MSM alone. The maximum dose is 5 grams a day. It is completely harmless, but more than 5 g is usually not needed.
• If you have severe joint pain then it may be a good idea to combine the intake of the above with a cream containing Glucosamine, MSM and chondroitin. It can be applied if necessary, at night. It is economical and very effective.
• Another good and effective supplement is Devil’s Claw. It is an old, well-documented substance.
• There are many other well-known as well as less-known supplements which help joint pain. E.g. fish oil, ginger, turmeric, rose hip, astaxanthin etc. You could talk with a therapist or do some research yourself, to find out which could best help you. Perhaps it could be beneficial to change products every now and then.
• If you are a little too heavy, it’s a good idea to concentrate on losing the kilos, and at the same time changing your diet to one that is more alkaline and make it a new lifestyle.
• If you have access to a warm pool, it’s a nice, painless way to exercise your joints and increase blood flow.
• Exercise is important, but be careful not to over train, and good footwear is important no matter what type of exercise you do.
• If it’s the first time you’re starting a certain form of exercise, I feel it’s a good idea to talk to a personal trainer first and see which exercises and which sport is best for you. It is important not only focus on the joints, but also on the associated muscles. I have spoken to many who have felt that Pilates has helped to reduce their pain, so that they later can enjoy from other forms of exercise.
• When exercising, it is important to remember to stretch.
• Many people with joint pain benefit from regular visits to a skilled acupuncturist, osteopath, chiropractor etc. Often, a skilled therapist can significantly relieve your joint pain.
• Magnet therapy may also be a good idea. It is often effective as both pain relief and for improving circulation.