By Erika Morvay - Erika has over a decade of experience, initially working in a busy health food retail environment, and more recently as part of the Technical Services and Education team at Fusion® Health, providing advice to consumers, practitioners and retailers alike.
Your hard-working muscles and joints provide you with both movement and stability. Here are a handful of ways to give yours some extra tender loving care.
1. Lose weight if necessary
Of the many joints in your body, your knees are among the most vulnerable to wear-and-tear. They’re the most common site for the development of osteoarthritis, are prone to sporting injury, and they bear the brunt of any excess weight that you’re carrying.
However, for every kilogram of excess weight you shed, the working load on your knees decreases by the equivalent of four kilos. Losing just 5% of your body weight may be enough to start relieving symptoms of joint pain, but losing 10% could have even more significant benefits.
2. Try a yoga class
Yoga has numerous benefits for musculoskeletal health, including strengthening the muscles, stretching out tight joints, improving balance and realigning the skeleton. If you decide to give it a go, start with a beginner level class, and be sure to tell your instructor if you have any musculoskeletal health problems so they can tailor the postures to your capability.
3. Take Turmeric – a natural anti-inflammatory
Turmeric contains a naturally occurring substance called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties, and may help to relieve the pain, stiffness and inflammation of mild osteoarthritis of the knee.
Scientific studies support the traditional Ayurvedic uses of Turmeric for the relief of joint and mild rheumatic pain, demonstrating that curcumin has inhibitory effects on the production and activity of a number of molecules involved in the body’s inflammatory processes.
Unfortunately though, curcumin is not readily absorbed and utilised by the human body, so when shopping for a Turmeric supplement, look for a high potency formula that also contains piperine – a naturally occurring compound from black pepper that may enhance the bioavailability of curcumin by up to 20 times.
4. Try Tienchi Ginseng for muscle and soft tissue pain
In traditional Chinese medicine, Tienchi Ginseng has traditionally been used to relieve the swelling, inflammation and pain associated with soft tissue injury to muscles, tendons and ligaments, including muscle soreness, sprains, strains and bruising. It’s a particularly popular supplement among athletes and active people, because it may also assist stamina and muscle recovery after exercise.
For soft tissue injuries such as bruises, sprains and strains, a suitable dose of Tienchi Ginseng is 3000mg, taken twice daily.
To support stamina, endurance and muscle recovery after exercise, the recommended dose is 1500-3000mg taken one hour before and/or after exercise.
In both instances, make sure to choose a supplement that’s been standardised to provide consistent levels of compounds called ginsenosides, which are believed to be largely responsible for Tienchi Ginseng’s therapeutic effects.
5. Increase your intake of omega-3
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil help to maintain normal, healthy joint function. They have anti-inflammatory properties, and may help to soothe painful and aching joints associated with mild osteoarthritis, while also improving the mobility of affected joints and relieving the associated inflammation and swelling.
However, many people prefer to take a concentrated, odourless supplement that reduces the number of daily capsules required while also minimising fishy odours and burps.
Since fish oils are highly perishable, choose a supplement that also contains astaxanthin, a naturally occurring antioxidant that may help to preserve the therapeutic benefits of the omega-3s.