It seems like the more we get into fitness, the more we hear people complaining of their knees hurting, a stiff back or an aching neck. Why is it that every other athlete suddenly has “fluid in joints” or some form of arthritis? In this article, we’ll discuss the types of joint pains; hopefully getting you one step further to figuring out what that “stiff back” is from.
Before we getting into solving the issue we have to address the problem. Are you causing the pain? This of course is not as black and white as it may seem. You might be skipping your warm up or using as much weight as you can muster. And as simple as that, by being so ambitious, you’re causing your own pain. Over 80% of the
pain body builders experience is avoidable. Before going any further, check out these few tips that might just be the root of your pain:
- Skimping out on warm up/cool down stretches often
- Doing only a few reps with too much weight
- Your form is not correct
- Key nutrients are missing from your diet
- You’re not taking enough rest days/time for your muscles to recover
Maybe these aren’t the root of your pain – you could have a more serious issue or chronic joint pain. Some common joint pains are arthritis, tendinitis and bursitis. Arthritis, to start with, is an inflammation in your joints. Osteoarthritis being the most common form for most athletes and body builders, is caused by wear and tear on the joints, which over time weakens the cartilage around the bone. Tendinitis is caused when the tissue connecting the muscle to bone is inflamed. It is
the most common for athletes to experience – fortunately though, it is also the easiest to treat. Bursitis effects the small fluid sacs called bursae. These fluid sacs cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near your joints.
Supplements for Joint Pain Relief
Before jumping into prescriptions to treat your pain, I suggest some natural alternatives. Many medications may treat the pain but they are not treating the root. All of the above joint pains have a link to inflammation. Rather than taking something to temporarily relieve the pain from inflammation, treat the inflammation itself.
Fatty acids have long been known for their benefits. Omega 3 is one of the key fatty acids, and is not produced by our bodies but is needed for proper brain function. In addition, it helps to reduce joint inflammation, and is particularly beneficial in reducing osteoarthritis. It can be found in fish such as salmon, tuna and
halibut. Other well known sources include fish oils and Omega 3 supplements, with a lesser known source being flax oil.
Flaxseed oil contains both omega 3 and 6 both key ingredients in reducing inflammation. In addition, the oil not only reduces inflammation but reduces the risk of
heart disease, high cholesterol and cancer.
Plants serve as a natural homeopathic remedy that can help reduce inflammation. Turmeric poses curcumin as it’s active ingredient and this antioxidant helps protect cells from natural, but damaging oxidation. By destroying certain free radicals in the body, COX-2 (the “pain” enzyme) is greatly hindered. To feel the benefits, take turmeric orally. Try the spice in soups, curries or even teas.
Ginger is another spice with healing anti-inflammatory properties. The anti-inflammatory is called gingerols. Active ingredients in 6-gingerol greatly diminishes the production of nitric oxide which very quickly forms the damaging free radical called peroxynitrite. Not to mention, ginger has also been known to kill ovarian cancer cells and is a great overall immune booster. Try slicing it up and putting it in warm water with lemon or adding grated ginger and orange juice to pureed sweet potatoes.
Green tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world and serves as another anti-inflammatory. The compound EGCG found in green tea is able to stop the production of molecules that can damage both the cartilage and bone. Just a few of its helpful benefits are helping to reduce fat, lower cholesterol, fight depression and protect against cancer. If you’re not a fan of a cup of tea (you’ll need a good few to feel the effects), or looking to get more power per dose, try adding matcha green tea powder to your smoothies or taking it in capsule form.
Where to start with joint pain supplements?
First off, make sure you aren’t causing your pain, as we discussed in the beginning of the article. Next, before trying to guess which ailment you may suffer from, see a professional for a diagnosis. Self diagnosing can ultimately put you two steps back, as you may be working counter-intuitively, causing more damage to yourself.
Follow by trying some of the above recommendations, and give them a few months in order to see if they are helping you.