Coping with joint pain


Tomorrow is World Arthritis Day. Afflicting millions worldwide, arthritis is a chronic degenerative disease that can vary in severity. With its widespread prevalence and effect on health and well being, the disease accounts for a significant percentage of doctor visits.

Arthritis is defined as the inflammation of one or more joints and symptoms of the condition include redness, swelling, tenderness, stiffness, pain, and warmth in the affected area. There are over 100 types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and gout.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis. It is a chronic condition characterised by the breakdown of the joint’s cartilage.

Cartilage is the part of the joint that cushions the ends of the bones and allows easy movement of joints. Healthy cartilage is extremely strong and flexible and allows the joints to move smoothly and painlessly, but in osteoarthritis, the cartilage is damaged, and subsequently wears down. This process continues until little or no cartilage is left in the affected joint, causing bone to grind against bone.

Osteoarthritis typically affects certain joints, such as the hips, hands, knees, lower back, and neck. It occurs more frequently as we age. Before age 45, osteoarthritis occurs more frequently in males. After age 55 years, it occurs more frequently in females.

One needs to supply essential nutrients for the body to build strong, flexible cartilage. Having a strong flexible cartilage is the first step for healthy joints. Hence, with the right nutritional support, osteoarthritis sufferers can rebuilt and regrow their worn out cartilage.

Nutritional support

Glucosamine & chondroitin are two important nutritional compounds used in the treatment of osteoarthritis.

Both Glucosamine & chondroitin are natural components of healthy joint tissue. They work by supplying the natural raw ingredients cartilage needs to repair and rebuild itself. They also suppress the natural enzymes that break down cartilage in the first place.

Quick facts:

  • Glucosamine is a natural compound that is found in healthy cartilage. It is a normal constituent of glycosaminoglycans in the cartilage matrix and synovial fluid. It is used in the formation and repair of cartilage.
  • Chondroitin is the most abundant glycosaminoglycan in cartilage and is responsible for the resiliency of cartilage. It acts as a “water magnet”. The ability of chondroitin to hold water gives rigidity to the cartilage and also enables it to act as a “shock absorber”.

Supplementation with Glucosamine & chondroitin helps to relieve joint pains, rebuild cartilage, improve flexibility, lubricate joints, promote healthy connective tissues, and reduce stiffness.

In recent years, studies have shown that two-in-one Glucosamine & chondroitin supplements are far more effective in treating moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis than potent anti-inflammatory drugs (celecoxib) or even glucosamine or chondroitin taken separately by itself.

Sulphur this

MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane), a natural sulphur compound with many health benefits, is widely used together in combination with Glucosamine & chondroitin for effective relief of joint pains. Many developed nations across the globe such as the US, UK, Europe, Australia, etc regularly observe very positive results in the treatment of osteoarthritis when oral MSM supplements are added to Glucosamine & chondroitin nutritional therapy.

MSM is found in the normal diets of humans and almost all other animals. MSM is made up of 34% sulphur, the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body. Sulphur is necessary for the structure of every cell in the body. It is needed for the structural integrity of joint cartilage and connective tissue such as skin, hair, and nails.

Many amino acids, the building blocks of protein, have sulphur as a component. Hormones, enzymes, antibodies, and antioxidants all depend on it. And because the body utilises and expends it on a daily basis, sulphur must be continually replenished for optimal nutrition and health.

The Arthritis Foundation of America recommends starting with a low dosage of 500mg MSM twice a day and increasing gradually to 1,000mg MSM twice a day.

Lifestyle tips for osteoarthritis sufferers

  • Physical activity keeps joints flexible and maintains or improves muscle strength.
  • Weight control is important for the prevention and slowing down of the progression of OA affecting weight-bearing joints (knees and hips) and the lower back.
  • Weight loss of only 15 pounds can reduce knee pain for overweight individuals with arthritis.