Are your muscles and joints hurting? You know there is inflammation in there, but what causes it? How do you fix it?
And the inflammation might be:
- Causing pain
- Waking you up throughout the night, and giving you poor sleep
- Changing the way you move. Maybe you’re limping, or changing certain movement patterns, to avoid the pain.
- Affecting which activities you can do. Maybe you can no longer play golf or tennis, or do gardening, or other activities.
Simply put, it sucks!
So in this article, we’re going to cover:
- What is inflammation?
- The nutritional reason for inflammation in your joints
- The mechanical reason for inflammation in your joints (usually, the most neglected part)
- What to do about it
Though if you’d like to skip all the theory, and jump straight into practice, you can see if you qualify to work with us and get something more customized to your body by responding to this email with the subject line “Pain-Free Joints.”
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is your body’s natural reaction to injury. It’s a reaction that begins the healing process. For example, when you get a paper cut, the skin will be red, and warmer to the touch. When that happens, there are lots of immune cells rushing to the site of injury to begin the repair process.
That’s a good thing.
The problem happens when the inflammation becomes chronic and does more damage.
Why does inflammation become chronic? Because the body perceives that the damage is ongoing, it needs to continue repairing and repairing and repairing.
What do you do? Do you suppress the inflammation with anti-inflammatories (either natural or over-the-counter)? Or do you address the root cause of the inflammation?
The answer: you do both.
Taking an anti-inflammatory somewhat stops the healing process, but it also reduces the pain. Addressing the root cause can take weeks or months. And understandably, while you’re addressing the root cause, you don’t want to wait that long for the pain to go away. So that’s why you use both.
The Nutritional Reason for Inflammation in the Joints
Technically, inflammation in the joints is called “arthritis”, but what most people don’t know is that arthritis is not one condition, but a group of conditions, because a joint is made up of more than just cartilage. It’s also made of tendons, ligaments, bursa and more. So technically, tendinitis, is a form of arthritis, because the tendon is inflamed. Bursitis is a form of arthritis because the bursa is inflamed. Gout is a form of arthritis also.
But back to the simplified nutritional reason for inflammation in the joints. Certain foods can be inflammatory. And it’s not just the obvious, like junk food, and fast food. It might be otherwise healthy foods, like spinach and chicken.
So if you’re eating foods that you’re unknowingly sensitive to, it might affect your joints. It depends on your genetic susceptibility. For one person, eating foods they’re sensitive to will affect their joints, for another person, it might be the immune system, for someone else, it might be the nervous system, and so on.
And you might continue eating that food, convinced that it’s healthy (like tomatoes, or peppers), and yet, for you, it isn’t.
That’s why I’m a big proponent of food sensitivity testing. As far as I know, Dr. John Dempster runs the most thorough food sensitivity testing, which is why I refer my clients to him. And no, I don’t get paid for that endorsement.
The Mechanical Reason for Inflammation in the Joints
This is the reason that is most often missed by nutritionists and doctors: the mechanical reason. It’s missed for a simple reason: they don’t have training in biomechanics.
Often, misalignment of the bones and joints causes structures to grind away. And if there’s continuous grinding away, then the body’s perception that there is on-going damage being done is correct. You basically don’t turn “off” the signal that tells your body to stop the inflammation.
Let’s use the knee as an example. On the front of the thigh, we have a muscle group, called the “quadriceps”, and on the back of the thigh, we have a muscle group called the “hamstrings”. If the ratio of the quads to the hamstrings is off (and most often, it’s off in favour of the quads), you’ll get grinding away. Eventually, that can become knee arthritis, a torn meniscus, or something else.
Imagine that you have a pole, and 2 wires attached to the pole from opposite sides. But what if one wire is pulling harder on that pole than the opposite wire? Then, you might get grinding away at the joint with every movement you make at that joint.
I use the knee as an example, because it’s simple, since it only goes forward and back. It gets a lot more complex at the shoulder and the hip, because there is much greater motion at those joints.
If your muscles, bones and joints are out of alignment relative to each other, you can eat the perfect, anti-inflammatory diet, and take all the anti-inflammatories that you want but diet and supplements don’t fix misalignment. Exercise does, and certain manual therapy techniques do too. But it’s not just any exercise, it’s exercise that is specifically targeted to your misalignments.
How is it that my team of trainers was able to fix hip pain? Not by giving anti-inflammatories, but by fixing alignment.
What to Do About It
Since the cause of inflammation in the joints can be either nutritional or mechanical, there are a few things you can do about it:
- Identify and remove food sensitivities. Again, Dempster does the most comprehensive food sensitivity testing.
- Use certain anti-inflammatory compounds, like curcumin, ginger, SAMe and fish oil. AOR makes the best curcumin, in my opinion (which I am not paid for) in their product, Inflammation Relief. And as far as I know, Metagenics makes the most potent fish oil for inflammation, in their product OmegaGenics EPA-DHA 2400. Again, I’m not paid for recommending these products.
- Use the Medistik. I LOVE the Medistik. It’s a roll-on type of tube that contains peppermint, folic acid, vitamin C, and more.
- Improve your alignment. Again, if the cause of inflammation in the muscles and joints is misalignment, then the previous strategies cover up the symptoms, which makes you feel better, but it doesn’t eliminate the root cause. If there is misalignment, it must be corrected. To correct it, you must go through an assessment to identify your specific imbalances and tailor an exercise program to that.
Combine these 3 strategies, and in a matter of 1-4 months, you:
- Will likely reduce your pain
- Will be able to move better
- Will sleep better, if the pain was affecting your sleep
- Won’t have to give up the activities that you enjoy.
If that sounds good to you, you can see if you qualify to get this kind of assessment and tailored program by responding to this email with the subject line “Pain-Free Joints.“
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