Our joints allow our bodies to move in ways that allow us to do the simplest of actions like walking or typing on our phones and computers, and also perform complicated motions such as those required in dancing and playing sports. This crucial role of our joints in movement means that they are subjected to continuous wear and tear, so it’s no surprise that we sometimes feel like our ankles, wrist, or knees are hurting.
In addition to the usual wear-and-tear, joint pains can also be caused by repetitive use, in sports or certain tasks at work; structural problems, like osteoarthritis; or inflammatory conditions like gout or rheumatoid arthritis. LifeFood, the natural food supplement brand of UNILAB, lists down some of the common conditions that could be making our joints creak and ache.
Osteoarthritis. Getting older is one of the factors that causes joint discomfort, especially in the areas that bear the brunt of our weight like the hips and knees. This is because the gel-like protective cartilage that helps support and cushion the joints and bones can break down over time due to constant wear and tear. This condition is called osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease and affects millions of Filipinos.
Gout. Gout is another cause of joint pain: uric acid crystals accumulate in the joint space causing damage and inflammation. This condition is greatly affected by one’s lifestyle: eating too much protein like red meat, drinking alcohol or sugar-loaded drinks especially those with high-fructose corn syrup, dehydration, and being overweight are among some of the factors that lead to increased uric acid levels. Certain types of medications can also increase one’s chances of getting gout and experiencing joint pain. Considered as one of the most painful types of arthritis, gout symptoms include pain, swelling, redness of the involved joint or joints; typically the first attack happens in the big toe.
Rheumatoid arthritis. Another type of inflammatory arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder wherein the immune system attacks membranes around the joints. It’s characterized by tender, swollen joints and feeling stiff in the morning. It can also be accompanied by fever, tiredness, or unexplainable weight loss or loss of appetite. In addition to affecting the joints, rheumatoid arthritis can also affect the skin, lungs, and heart.
Old injuries. Old injuries especially in the tendons, ligaments, or bones, can also cause joint pain which can sometimes become chronic. Trauma to a joint can change its biomechanics and structure in ways that make it more prone to increased wear and tear compared to a non-injured joint.
Whatever the root cause, problems in the joints can be debilitating: the limitation of movements keeps us from doing our jobs or tasks, and the pain impacts our quality of life. Internal medicine specialist and functional medicine practitioner Eca Lorenzo, MD, FPCP shares that there are different ways to address joint pain depending on its cause, but managing inflammation is definitely an important part of treatment.
“Whatever the cause of joint pain there is usually inflammation involved, that’s what causes the pain. Inflammation is our body’s natural response to injury or infection, it’s part of the healing process. Unfortunately, it can become chronic and when that happens it starts to cause damage instead,” Dr. Lorenzo explains. “We can curb chronic inflammation by living a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, and following a diet that’s loaded with colorful fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that are rich in nutrients and antioxidants.”
She adds that one of the foods that people with achy joints can turn to is turmeric, also known as luyang dilaw. “Turmeric contains curcumin, a chemical that’s well-researched for its anti-inflammatory properties and known for reducing joint pain and swelling. Various studies have shown that it benefits those with diseases that are caused by some sort of inflammation like arthritis,” the doctor points out.
One of the products offered by LifeFood is LifeFood Curcumin that has a concentrated dose of curcuminoids extracted from turmeric. Considered as a natural pain reliever, it comes in a capsule form that can be taken 2-3 times a day, or as directed by a health professional. Unlike the usual luyang dilaw offerings in the market, LifeFood delivers 29x better absorption through a technology that ensures the body gets the optimal effects in every capsule.
Joint problems, in some cases, may be inevitable, but the pain that comes with it is highly manageable. With a healthy lifestyle and solutions like LifeFood Curcumin, we can get relief from pain so we can move more, and live life to the fullest!
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