According to the Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org), over 27 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease. It can affect any joint in the body but most often occurs in the knees, hips, lower back and neck areas. It is believed to occur when the cartilage between the joints has worn down. Cartilage is the smooth, rubberlike connective tissue on the end of the bones. Eventually, this protective coating may break down fully, causing the joints to rub against each other with even the simplest of movement. This can cause pain, swelling, limited mobility, and further joint damage. Identification of those at risk for osteoarthritis and poor joint health is the first step to reducing pain and long term complications.
Although genetics and aging affect our overall joint health, poor health choices can also have an impact. Obesity adds extra strain on our joints. It can cause unnecessary pressure, and may lead to joint injury. Obesity may also result in being less active, and inactivity can further stiffen muscles and joints. Weak muscles, especially in the back and legs, may predispose one to further injury.
Lifestyle changes can positively affect joint health. Although osteoarthritis is not curable, many things can be done to lessen joint pain and lead to a more comfortable and active life. The following ideas outline positive changes one can make to reduce joint pain. I’m excited to mention that your local Walmart offers everything mentioned in this article: fresh foods and vegetables, health supplements, exercise equipment and even onsite pharmacists.
Low impact exercises such as walking, yoga, bike riding, and swimming improve joint mobility, lessen joint stiffness, and can reduce inflammation. Diet also affects joint health. Eating less fast foods, sugary foods, processed foods and foods high in saturated fats will reduce the body’s overall inflammation response thus lessening joint pain, swelling and limited mobility. Dietary changes should include sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, chia seeds and olive oil, which will suppress joint inflammation. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats will provide overall good health.
In addition to a better diet and increased activity, joint health can be improved with over the counter supplements. Research has shown that supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate can help reduce joint inflammation, and also protect the existing cartilage between the joints.
Cosamin DS is a trademarked combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. Chrondroitin is believed to help the body maintain fluid and flexibility in the joints; Glucosamine is a sugar protein that helps build cartilage. Together, this combination has been used in alternative medicine as a treatment for osteoarthritis.
As always, check with your healthcare provider before starting any new medications, diet, or exercise program. For more information on joint health, Cosamin DS, diet tips and coupon offers, check out this article by Dr. Lori Shemek as well as Walmart’s website: