Get in the Game! Tips to Sideline Arthritis Pain
Every spring, my weakness for being the “patron saint” of vintage bicycles kicks in. While cycling through the neighbourhood, I spot a classic bicycle in need of some TLC, unceremoniously kicked to the curb! In most cases, some oil on the chain and air in the tires is all it needs to roll like new.
When it comes to arthritis pain, it’s well-known that muscles and joints get nutrition through movement; this movement stimulates both circulation and lubrication within joints. Physical activity and exercise also strengthen muscle groups which in turn stabilize points of articulation, especially weight-bearing joints.
The “catch 22” for many is overcoming joint and muscle pain enough to reap the pain-reducing benefits of physical activity. Research published in the Journal of Health Psychology polled 118 active women with arthritis which determined what may seem obvious to most of us: Those women with a higher level of pain acceptance (tolerance) were significantly more active.
Let’s discuss some nutrients that can level the playing field to allow those of us more susceptible to arthritis pain to benefit from an exercise regimen.
When it comes to joint mobility, supplementation with a high-potency EPA/DHA fish oil is a great start: It reduces chronic inflammation associated with arthritis—you can feel results within weeks.
Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is a terrific topical analgesic when applied to sore or damaged joints or muscle tissue prior to training. DMSO mediates pain transmitted by C-type nerve fibres which are not insulated with a myelin sheath, which delivers accelerated pain relief. DMSO also reduces inflammation in several ways, as it exerts antioxidant activity and scavenges free radicals at sites of soft-tissue trauma or injury. However, the principal avenue of relief from inflammation is its ability to directly interfere with prostaglandins, naturally occurring compounds that provoke inflammation. DMSO penetrates fast to get you rolling.
Topical application of soothing botanicals makes a great postworkout reward. Look for natural extracts of Arnica montana and Calendula officinalis. Compounds within their bright yellow flowers penetrate deep within the skin to tame postworkout muscle pain, ease inflammation, and initiate collagen formation critical for healing of soft tissue. Clinical trials have also shown Arnica montana to be effective for the management of pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.
Look for these nutrients to establish a dynamic ritual that can unleash your inner athlete and develop the strength to break free from the limitations of arthritis.
“No pain no gain” is an age-old cliché! Topical application of DMSO pre-workout with Arnica- and Calendula-containing topicals post-workout will allow you to push the boundaries of soreness versus pain to reach your true potential.
Gordon Raza, BSc
As the technical writer for Flourish, Gord shares his
unique perspective on natural health products, nutrition,
and active living.