Osteoarthritis; Living with it and alleviating it
I read this article recently (http://www.alive.com/articles/view/23930/support_your_foundation). It is a subject close to my heart given that I know someone very dear to me that has suffered with it for a long time.
This is a terrible disease to live with and can take so much from someone. It can strip someone of their independence and no longer be able to do some of the things they loved to do.
But what this article highlights is that there are ways to manage it and things you can do so that it doesn’t get worse and in some cases it may actually get better.
One statement really jumped out at me.
‘Our bones undergo a constant, dynamic process of cellular breakdown and rebuilding.’
That is to say that the bones we have now are not the bones we were born with. Our bones go through a regenerative process every 10 years or so. As outlined in this article http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/02/science/02cell.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
And to quote ‘the bones endure nonstop makeover. The entire human skeleton is thought to be replaced every 10 years or so in adults’
Therefore everything you do is either causing you to build stronger bones or causing them to weaken further. And if you are a sufferer of osteoarthritis I’m sure you would give anything to have the latter.
The article does point out that while some things can’t be changed like family history, DNA (which would determine you’re susceptibility to it in the first place), etc. there are things that can be done to help it not get worse.
There are 2 major factors here; Diet and exercise.
Eating a diet consisting of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich foods and reducing foods that cause inflammation and free radicals in the body is a major factor.
I am a big believer that eating a plant based diet is the best way to ensure optimal health, nutrition, wellbeing and longevity. The article itself states
‘A plant-based diet protects against osteoarthritis,’
Check out this article for a better understanding of what free radicals are, what they do to us and how anti-oxidants help to counteract them.
I also believe that a diet that is too heavily weighted towards the consumption of animal products is a major factor in the creation of many diseases in the body. Try to reduce your consumption and dependence of animal products in your diet. There are many alternatives available now especially in the areas of milk substitutes e.g, rice, almond, coconut milk etc.
The other big factor is exercise, in particular resistance or strength based exercise.
The article states ‘Build and tone joint-supporting muscles to avoid putting too much stress on the joint itself.’ (See the section ‘Treating osteoarthritis through exercise’)
Walking is great, it helps with fitness but doing exercise with light weights i.e. resistance will also help a lot more.
You don’t have to start going to the gym and lifting massive weights. Something as simple as buying a set of hand weights from a sports store and incorporating them into your daily routine, or a resistance band or even some bodyweight exercises will help. This will also help with muscle tone especially in those areas we all hate to get flabby, the backs of the arms and the tummy.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and comments in the comments section below.
Peter is qualified personal trainer and our in-house Pilates instructor. If you would like to speak to Peter more on this topic or to book an appointment please email email@example.com