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It is inevitable that there will be some degenerative change in our joints over our life time. Up to 85% of people over 65 show some evidence of osteoarthritis (OA), with about half experiencing symptoms including pain, decreased mobility and decreased functional capacity.
Several key factors appear to contribute to the development of OA. The most apparent of these is simple wear and tear, with intense repetitive activity, overuse or structural imbalances resulting in an increased incidence of joint degeneration. Moderate exercise, however, has been shown to prevent OA of the knees by maintaining muscle strength of the quadriceps.
Genetic factors also seem to play a significant role with researchers estimating that they may affect between 30-60% of people with OA.
The conventional medical approach generally targets the symptoms of pain and inflammation, with the use of medications such as paracetamol, NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors being first line considerations. These drugs do little to modify the progress of OA and, along with the risk of serious side effects, long term use may in fact exacerbate degenerative joint conditions.
From a natural medicine perspective, there are a number of safe and well studied recommendations that are well worth considering. Recent studies now further support the use of glucosamine, MSM and chondroitin for the treatment and improvement of OA. In addition to this, attention should be given to the full array of cofactors required to maintain healthy joint function including silica, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and boron.
In this infographic we explore how nutrients contribute to joint nourishment for the improvement of joint structure, pain and function.
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