Are most joint and muscle issues simply caused by Boomeritis – people in their 50s and 60s wanting their bodies to perform activities like 20-somethings – or are they linked to diet and lifestyle habits?
To help you age pain-free, consider solving the underlying issues and root causes rather than only covering the symptoms with a painkiller.
Here are 8 steps to heal what hurts:
1. Get it examined. Many people haven’t had chronic pain examined by a doctor or physiotherapist. Often a presumed joint problem is actually a muscle, and vice versa (or within an organ), and therefore therapeutic relief may come in very different forms. Don’t self-diagnose… especially if you plan to self-medicate. 2. Keep a diary. Write down: a) when pain happens b) if the location changes c) what helps it or seems to relieve the symptoms. This will not only make you feel more empowered to heal it, it will help you to chart your progress and to determine if a supplement or complementary therapy has actually helped.
3. Breathe deeply. Many people with joint or muscle pain don’t breathe fully from the bottom of your lungs to oxygenate the area, which is vital for pain relief. Take 3 deep breaths a couple of times a day.
4. Get moving. It may be tempting to sit on a couch and do nothing, but to keep blood flowing, move the body part that hurts with some form of exercise every single day. That said, if you have an injury, give yourself permission to slow down and get adequate rest to allow healing, which prevents residual problems down the road. 5. Hydrate. Drink more water throughout the day. Dehydration increases stiffness in muscles, reduces mobility, and makes cartilage become dry, which degrades joints. Keep water with you in the car, on the kitchen counter, office desk, bedside table.
6. Fight stiffness with food. Cruciferous veggies (kale, broccoli, cabbage) are high in vitamin A, which protects cells from inflammatory cytokines that break down joints. Beets have a natural antioxidant called betalain that protects collagen in connective tissue. Omega 3 fats, ginger and chili peppers all have agents that decrease inflammation (and pain is usually a sign of inflammation).
7. Limit foods that induce pain. Foods that increase acidity and inflammation in the body may increase pain. Reduce red meat, sugar, alcohol, processed carbohydrates, caffeine and tannic acid (coffee/tea). Particularly for rheumatoid arthritis (and sometimes osteoarthritis), nightshade veggies – eggplant, bell peppers, potatoes, tomatoes – can increase symptoms.
8. Consider condensed nutrition. When issues have advanced or your body is in a deficit situation – a nutrient is depleted or when tissue cannot be rebuilt fast enough due to injury – supplements enable you to get higher nutrient amounts required. For example, the element sulfur (sulfate) is vital to reduce joint and muscle pain. Cartilage loss in joints is associated with low levels of vitamin D3 sulfate. Glucosamine sulfate in the body protects joints because it’s involved in lubricating and cushioning cartilage. MSM’s (methyl sulfonyl methane) sulfur removes inflammatory toxins and helps manufacture collagen in joints.