By Karin Krisher
“To me, if life boils down to one thing, it's movement. To live is to keep moving.”
You’ve talked to your patients about joint health before. But how many of them have brought the issue to you?
Addressing it out of the blue can catch some patients, specifically younger patients, off guard—especially because when joints aren't in pain, they can fly very much under the radar.
We move constantly. From a small finger twitch to the knees’ bends as we climb out of bed, joints are involved. That’s why they’re so easy to forget. Like all biological processes—blinking, muscle metabolism, immune system function—the movement of the joint doesn’t generally demand our brain’s full attention.
And so we forget that it needs nourishment and attention, often until it is too late.
According to Dr. Greg Fors, author of “Why We Hurt” and clinical director of the Minnesota-based Pain and Brain Healing Center, “Even in today's ‘modern medicine,’ early diagnosis of degenerative joint disease” (one of the top ten most common diseases in the world) “is still based on keen clinical observation and radiographic changes. However, when you make the diagnosis at this point, your patient has already fully developed the disease.”
Bring up joint health with your patients long before they expect it: it will be better for them to experience a surprise today than to continue down a path that can lead to a bigger (and much more disappointing) surprise later.
The Truth About Joint Health
Inflammation and break down of joint cartilage is caused by various factors, especially genetics and nutrition. Right now, we can’t do much in the way of the genetic factors (aside from monitor those patients closely), but we do have an option to make a difference in patients’ dietary and supplementation choices.
First, ask the patient if s/he has ever spoken with anyone about joint health and function. Often, patients aren’t aware of the factors that influence joint health—many are even unaware of the definition of synovial fluid and its place in and impact on the body. If your patient is unfamiliar with the lingo, a slow introduction will be appropriate.
List the factors that can contribute to joint health, so he or she can tell you if any of these factors might be cropping up in his/her lifestyle.
Over-acidification of tissue and blood is one major underlying cause of degenerative joint disease. Here, your patient may not know much about the alkaline nature of his or her food. Inform them that paying attention to acidity is important—including foods that are more alkaline in nature should be emphasized. Similarly, avoiding foods like white potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and other deadly nightshades comes highly recommended for those that are susceptible to joint degeneration, as arthritis sufferers often share an allergy to these types of foods.
Candidiasis has also been linked to joint issues. Too much sugar (intake of which most patients are unaware) can cause this infection that can proliferate degenerative joint disease through producing fungal poisons. Similarly, patients concerned about potential gluten intolerance issues deserve a joint discussion.
Finally, address heavy metal toxicity. If your patient has never attempted detoxification processes, ask them about their diet to find out if they are eating plenty of foods that contribute to liver health and detoxification processes. If not, find out why-- perhaps they need a more convenient source of nutrients to support detoxification processes, like Spectra Greens.*
Other important factors for joint health do exist outside of the diet. Of course, exercise should be mentioned. (See our post on this conversation.) Over exertion or minimal activity can contribute directly to joint issues.
For example, as we age, we lose muscle mass, which can lead to the joint taking the impact of activities that otherwise impact muscle. Maintaining muscle mass as we age is important to maintaining joint health. Excess weight can cause joints to do the same—take unnecessary impact and degrade over time. A moderate, healthy amount of varied exercise should be emphasized.
When it’s time for your patient to make figurative and literal moves, guide them with further discussions similar to the one highlighted above. Compliance is nine tenths of the law in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and as time goes by, your patients might fall off their own joint health bandwagon. Keep them on it by asking periodic questions about their diet or joint health regimen, and by suggesting comprehensive literature on the subject.
What may surprise your patients today could have them thanking you tomorrow for your clear understanding of the importance of early action and prevention and your commitment to overall health.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.