Exercise and Healing Osteoarthritis

The Exercise Component of Healing Osteoarthritis

Table of Contents:

1. The Exercise Component of Healing Osteoarthritis
2. Hip Dysplasia: Is Your Pet Suffering?
3. A Guide to Glucosamine Products


The Exercise Component of Healing Osteoarthritis

When we experience pain, it is nature’s way of telling us that something is wrong with our bodies. Pain comes in two different forms: Acute pain is that which generally lasts less than 5-6 weeks. Chronic pain is the kind that seems to go on forever and is the most typical for those suffering from osteoarthritis.

Every mammal on this earth has pain receptors in their body. Our bodies respond to pain by releasing natural painkillers called endorphins. The release of these ‘endorphins’ is what allows us to continue with our daily lives even when we are living in pain.

For arthritis sufferers, there is an unfortunate cycle of inactivity that begins. Once you begin to experience pain, you tend to limit your activity. Probably, most of us are conditioned to feel that rest is important in overcoming pain. As well, (and let’s face facts) when you don’t feel well as a result of being in pain, you don’t really feel like doing much of anything. Let me tell you, it is absolutely the wrong approach to handling your arthritis pain as doing nothing will not help with healing osteoarthritis.

When the body is active, it produces endorphins. These natural opiates not only assist in the pain-healing process, but the exercise also serves to strengthen the muscles around injured joints. In addition, exercise usually means weight loss that also assists in healing osteoarthritis.

Let’s talk about strengthening the muscles around damaged joints. What happens with exercise is that the muscles that surround an injured joint become stronger. In turn, this stabilizes and supports the affected area. It also serves to continue the strengthening of bones, increase circulation, build synovial fluid in your cartilage, and help deliver nutrients to that damaged cartilage. Of course, exercise leads to weight loss, and where load-bearing joints are concerned, this is extremely important in reducing pain and preventing additional damage.

In summary, taking the initiative to exercise is going to go a long way towards accelerating the process of healing osteoarthritis.

Hip Dysplasia: Is Your Pet Suffering?

What is hip dysplasia?

Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is a genetic, painful, crippling disease that causes a dog’s hip to weaken, deteriorate, and become arthritic. It is a congenital condition and is the leading cause of lameness occurring in the rear legs of dogs. CHD is common in dogs, particularly in certain large and giant breeds, although smaller dogs and cats can suffer from the condition as well. Hip dysplasia is usually a genetically transferred or inherited trait. However, it can occur in dogs whose parents do not have Canine hip dysplasia.

The signs of Canine Hip Dysplasia:

  • Difficulty getting up from a lying or sitting position or in climbing stairs
  • Moving both rear legs together while walking
  • A painful reaction to extension of the rear legs
  • Dropping of pelvis after pushing on rump
  • A stilted gait or pelvic swing while walking
  • An aversion to touch
  • A change in behavior
  • Whining
  • Reluctance to walk, climb stairs, jump, or play
  • Lameness after strenuous exercise
  • Hunching of back to avoid extending the hips when standing

It is very important to understand that the only way to accurately diagnose CHD is through x-rays. The above symptoms may also be seen in dogs with normal hips and affected dogs may display none of these symptoms at all.

Literally, hip dysplasia means “badly formed hip”. In order to understand this complex problem, it is first necessary to understand the anatomy of the canine hip. This ball and socket joint consists of two basic parts – the acetabulum and the femur. The femur, or thigh bone, consists of the head (the ball) and the neck (the part of the femur that joins the long shaft of the bone to the head). The acetabulum forms the socket part of the joint and it is into this socket that the head of the femur rests.

In unaffected dogs, there is a good fit between ball and socket. However, if ligaments fail to hold the round knob at the head of the thighbone in place in the hip socket the result is a loose, unstable joint, in which the ball of the femur slides free of the hip socket. Swelling, fraying, and rupture of the round ligament will follow. This laxity causes excessive wear on the cartilage in the hip joint, eventually resulting in arthritis.

The Treatments for Hip Dysplasia

If you have a pet with hip dysplasia, there is hope. There are many treatments. However, you must be careful which treatments you use. Many treatments can actually do more harm than good for your pet.

Upon a visit to a veterinarian and a diagnosis of hip dysplasia, the first thing recommended is often painkillers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. While these do reduce pain, they do nothing to assist with the underlying disease. Furthermore, they have very severe side effects ranging from liver and kidney failure to gastrointestinal bleeding. In addition, new research done on NSAIDs has shown that they can actually slow cartilage repair and accelerate cartilage destruction.

In severe cases, a vet may recommend surgery for your pet. However, surgery is a very expensive and dramatic procedure, and your pet, while his or her pain may be reduced, will never be able to play and jump like they used to.

There is an alternative to these dangerous painkillers and surgery, however.

Recommended Treatments

More progressive veterinarians who are knowledgeable about recent studies, clinical trials, and overwhelmingly positive patient responses will know that glucosamine is very beneficial in the treatment of hip dysplasia.

Glucosamine is an over-the-counter dietary supplement that has been shown to be effective in dealing with hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, and joint pain in both pets and humans. Glucosamine stimulates the production of glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s), important proteins found in cartilage, and proteoglycans, the water-holding molecules that make up the cartilage.

Used in the correct form and quality, glucosamine has been shown to not only ease pain but also assist in rehabilitating damaged cartilage. Furthermore, glucosamine is safe to use and does not have the side effects associated with NSAIDs.

A Guide to Glucosamine Products

Glucosamine is very effective in the treatment of arthritis and is backed by numerous double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. In these studies, glucosamine has been shown to rehabilitate cartilage, reduce the progression of osteoarthritis, and significantly lessen pain from arthritis. However, one glucosamine product can be very different from another. When your pain relief and health is at stake, you need to know how to choose between competing products and see through the marketing hype. There are six factors that you need to take into your decision before purchasing any glucosamine product. These are:

  • Amount of glucosamine per daily dose
  • Type of Glucosamine
  • Quality of Ingredients
  • Delivery System
  • Synergistic Ingredients
  • Price Per Day

Quick tip: It is very important to compare price per day and not price per product, as many companies try to fool you by providing 60 capsules or 32 oz. and not telling you until after you purchased that you must use 6 capsules or 2 oz. per day. Be careful to always compare the price per day.

Capsules or Liquid?

Did you know that the absorption rate and bio-availability of the glucosamine in pills are significantly less than that when glucosamine is delivered in liquid form? The “claimed fact” that pills are the only and best way to obtain glucosamine is simply not true.

Glucosamine provided in liquid form is absorbed more quickly, much more fully, and provides greater and longer-lasting relief.

See You Next Volume

This concludes Volume 5 of The Arthritis Ninja. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram to be notified as soon as the next issue of The Arthritis Ninja is live! Please share with any friends you know who have arthritis and would be interested.

Yours in Joint Health,

The Arthritis Ninja