For as long as long as people have been walking, lifting, and grasping tools, there has been joint pain. Fans of the popular Paleo Diet, the one that claims we should be eating like our Caveman forefathers, ignore the fact that ancient man lived in a world where arthritis was a common companion.
Joint pain can be the result of joint injury, age, or over use (a form of injury). The likelihood of pain and injury can be raised by things like obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and past injury. Often the pain is a result of the cartilage, which cushions the bones in the joint, becoming torn, frayed, or simply stiff with age.
If a joint is injured, eventually the body will heal itself, as long as the proper physiological conditions are met. First, the the joint is protected from being re-injured.
Sadly, these conditions can be hard to attain for a sufficient length time to allow complete healing. In some cases, the joint is isolated in an attempt to prevent further injury, but this may result in greater strain on surrounding joints. It also ignores the fact that the joint will need to be exercised for healing to occur.
The healing joint needs to be exercised, but not strained. Exercise helps to improve circulation to and around the joint, bringing the nutrients that promote healing while taking away the toxins that result from the injury. This improved circulation also helps to “lubricate” the joint, but most of the lubrication is, in fact, cartilage between the bones on either side of the joint.
Exercise can also help joint injury by strengthening the skeletal muscles that support the joint. This is why proper form and bio-mechanics are critical in exercise.
The nutritional fuel for joints to recover from the strains of daily living, as well as from injury, can be found in a normal, healthy diet. A number of basic vitamins are great resource for the body to heal itself. Some experts recommend taking vitamins for joint healing in the evening. The healing and recovery process takes place while we sleep, and most vitamins are water soluble, meaning that the multivitamin supplement you had with breakfast may not be effective at bedtime.
Vitamin A is very important for its anti-inflammatory properties. The pain in joints and the damage done to cartilage in joints is often the result of inflammation. Vitamin A is also a very good antioxidant; the damage done by free-radical compounds are known to limit joint mobility.
Although it is primarily taken for its help in nerve function, the B Complex vitamins are also important for proper joint operation. A study in the American Journal of Medicine has shown a connection between the severity of joint pain and Vitamin B-6 deficiency in rheumatoid arthritis.
Vitamin C is thought to be the king of the antioxidant vitamins, but in fact it works even better in combination with other antioxidants such as Vitamin A, D, or E. Collagen, which helps to hold the cartilage fibers together, depends on Vitamin C for formation.