At the early age of 28 I was told I had early signs of arthritis and that it would be ideal to decrease my physical activities and limit the impact I was putting on my joints. Did I listen? Of course not. I spent the next 5 years running half marathons, cycling, weight training and doing yoga. Anything that would strengthen my knees. I am a fighter! You tell me to stop and give up, i say how well can I prove you wrong. Well I was proven wrong. At 33 I saw my specialist and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and sacral arthritis. September of 2013 was physically the hardest month of my life. Vancouver weather was rainy and cold which is the worst weather for joint pain. For me climbing stairs and working out was not an option. Walking to work was hard enough that I couldn't even imagine trying to put my knees through any bending or moving. To have this pain at such an early age meant I needed to arm myself with information that would allow me to live with this for the rest of my life. It wasn't ever going away but I could definitely make it something I could live with and lead a normal life.
What is it?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a form of arthritis, which means inflammation of the joints. OA happens when the cartilage that wraps the ends of bones in the joint wears away. The cartilage is a critical part of the joint and how it functions. It absorbs the shock from high impact activities and keeps the joint movement fluid and smooth. As the cartilage wears down the bones begin to rub against each other during any movement. The joint will then swell, become red and causes pain and discomfort. The pain may increase as the joint is used more throughout the day.
When the cartilage is completely worn away, the stiffness of the joints increases and the pain can become unbearable.
Osteoarthritis is most commonly found in the hands, feet and spine, also the weight bearing joints such as the hips and knees. In fact, it can show up in any joints of the body.
- Joint creaking
- Loss of joint flexibility
What causes it?
- Joint injuries
- Repetitive movement
- Loss of muscle strength around joints
How can you fix it?
- Use hot and cold compresses to reduce swelling, stiffness and ease the pain
- Eat a whole foods diet with vegetables, fruit, meat and whole grains. Eliminate sugar and processed foods
- Reduce consumption of the nightshade vegetables, which cause inflammation. These include Potatoes, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, tamarios, pepinos, pimentos, paprika, and cayenne peppers
- Keep a healthy weight to eliminate stress on the joints
- See a Physiotherapist and/or an acupuncturist to keep fluid movement in the joints
- Keep active by doing light impact exercises like swimming, cycling and yoga
- Take Omega 3 fatty acids daily to help with stiffness, pain and inflammation. Fish oils and GLA (gamma linoleic acid) are great choice
- Add Turmeric to your meals and supplement to reduce inflammation
- Consider taking herbs to help with inflammation, swelling and pain: boswellia, bromelain, devil’s claw, ginkgo, stinging nettle, and thunder god vine.