Medical herbalist Nicola Parker’s remedies for joint pain
This a very common problem and is usually a result of injury or arthritis
There is no doubt about it, it’s definitely the wet season. After a beautiful summer that seemed to stretch into September, it feels jarring to have been hit with the downpours of the last week or two. My open windows are rattling, as wind and rain beat down on them, and my raincoat has been well and truly put back to work.
With all this wet weather and cold wind, I’ve found myself waking up to stiff, painful knees that refuse to tackle the stairs in any manner other than a sideways hobble.
Yep, cold weather and joint problems are the best of friends, but it is possible to prepare your body for the worst of it.
One of the old school remedies for joints is Glucosamine. It was the first remedy I ever bought, long before coming to do job I do today. Old injuries caused arthritis to set in early for me and mobility is high on my priority list. I love hiking, getting outdoors and being surrounded by nature. The idea of losing this privilege later in life due to joint issues caused me to start taking joint health seriously very early.
But are these old fashioned remedies just as good as the new?
Undoubtedly yes. Glucosamine has developed a reputation as a bit of a Marmite remedy in recent times... people either love it or hate it. They either proclaim that it works wonders and has completely resolved their issues or that it did nothing for them.
So why is this? Why does it help some people and not others?
Over time, joints begin to wear out. If you’re between 30 and 40 this may have already begun, even if the pain doesn’t kick in until much later. Wear and tear are a slow process and of themselves, don’t cause that much pain. You might hear the odd crunch, long before the pain kicks in. My knees have sounded like Rice Crispies for years. The pain comes later, after the damage is done and inflammation begins. So, if you are experiencing joint pain it is important to look at both protection and inflammation.
Ingredients like glucosamine are used to help maintain the structures that have started to break down. Things like cartilage and synovial fluid are essential for healthy joints. They provide the cushioning between and at the ends of your bones. Restoring them can offer some pain relief, but glucosamine can only do so much. If your joints started to wear away 10 to 20 years ago it might not be enough to just add in repairing nutrients. If you’ve been told that the cartilage has worn away, then you definitely need something more. Even the best nutrients can’t fix and protect what isn’t there. So what can you do?
The easiest thing is to combine glucosamine with other ingredients that help with pain management, not just with repair and protection. Different ingredients act in different ways and my favourite combination formula is Lamberts Glucosamine Complete. It blends glucosamine, msm and chondroitin, a great combination for repair and protection. Yet, it doesn’t stop there.
Lambert’s Glucosamine Complete goes a step further, adding herbs that help reduce the inflammation, namely rosehip, ginger and quercetin. You can take these herbs alone to combat the pain, but putting them together with glucosamine, msm and chondroitin and you get the best of both world – joint support and pain management.
Last year, when I began my seasonal sideways hobble down the stairs, it took only weeks of taking the combination remedy before I was walking normally again. It was so successful that I then forgot to take it, meaning the pain (and the hobble) is back again this year.
As soon as the wet weather hit and that familiar ache started to gnaw at me throughout the day, I started back on my remedy. The alternative was for me to start cancelling plans, doing less sport or popping Ibuprofen every few hours to keep the discomfort in check.
Hopefully, next year I’ll keep more on top of my joint remedies so that I can avoid both the pain, the inconvenience and the weird downstairs hobble.
l For more information on this issue, or to book an appointment with Nicola, contact her clinic on 01524 413733.