It is a commonly held assumption that osteoarthritis is inevitable, caused by the “wear and tear” of old age. However, while roughly eighty percent of Americans over fifty years old suffer from some degree of osteoarthritis, twenty percent do not! Many assume that osteoarthritis develops due to the increased joint stress of excessive weight or activity. However, while these factors contribute, arthritis also commonly occurs in those who do not subject their joints to undue stress. So are there other factors that if corrected, could help reverse the relentless progression of joint pain?
Let’s first look at what osteoarthritis actually is. A joint is a structure in which two parts of the skeleton are fitted together. Cartilage is a strong connective tissue comprised of about sixty percent collagen, that wraps and protects the ends of the fitted bones, absorbing shock and reducing friction. Healthy articular cartilage continuously releases lubricating fluid to ensure the joints glide smoothly against each other. When the cartilage dries, thins and cracks we get the painful scraping of osteoarthritis, with loss of joint motion, stiffness, swelling and pain.
If collagen forms sixty percent of our cartilage, and the quality of our cartilage is essential to the health of our joints, it follows that anything we can do to support healthy collagen levels is an optimal way to both prevent and treat arthritis and joint pain.
Collagen is found everywhere in the body, forming our tendons, ligaments, bones, and joints, but also our arterial walls, and the fascia surrounding and insulating our organs. Collagen is strong, and has electrical properties; every time we move any part of our body we are creating tiny electrical currents! Hundreds of scientific studies show that these tiny electrical currents stimulate the osteoclast cells in bone to lay down more bone, and the myoblasts to form more muscle. Since collagen is present in the fascia lining our bodies from head to toe, this piezoelectrical effect stimulating growth, healing, and regeneration explains much of the mystery of how acupuncture works! This includes the healing of our joints.
One of the best centuries-old remedies for joint pain is bone broth, with added chicken or pork feet for extra collagen. “Like treats like”; when we make broth, we turn skin, cartilage, tendons and ligaments into a gelatin-rich substance, which provides the amino acids the body needs to make and strengthen the same elements! Collagen is literally the secret to well-lubed and well-cushioned joints—a fact our ancestors knew very well.
No matter your age, weight, or previous injuries, it is possible to be free from joint pain. At Vital Health we use targeted diet, supplements, and acupuncture to heal and strengthen your joints, so that you can feel your best for years to come.
©2021 Darcy Greenwald, M.S.O.M., L.Ac. and Vital Health