In this post we will look at what cartilage means to us and how we can take care of it and bring comfort to our joints through simple everyday gestures. We will also see what solutions exist when pain is already present and if phytotherapy can be part of our arsenal.
What is cartilage?
First of all, we need to talk about cartilage because in our body there are several types: fibrous, elastic and hyaline (translucent). It is the latter that will interest us in this case.
Hyaline articular cartilage is a material made up of glucosamine and chondroitin. It is found at the junction of the joints and provides them with the material and lubrication necessary for smooth and trouble-free functioning.
It is an organic material which has no circulation and no nervous system. It is its impregnation by the bone that provides the elements necessary for its expansion and vitalization.
And it is the surrounding tissues which, in the event of malfunctioning, will be able to provide the painful signals which will alert you to its deterioration.
The joint is also made up of: bones as we have just seen, tendons, ligaments, a capsule and a synovial fluid, and muscles to operate the whole. It is this ensemble that allows us to move freely.
By knowing the composition of our joints and especially of our cartilage, we can better understand how to take care of them. Several avenues are open to us.
What degrades my cartilage?
The factors that aggravate and or trigger joint pain are overweight and a sedentary lifestyle. They are the cause of the degeneration of cartilage and its fragility.
Poor eating and postural habits complete the picture.
And here comes a natural but deleterious phenomenon: the more we hurt, the less we move. The exact opposite of what we should do. In fact, as we shall see, movement is an essential way of limiting pain
Let's see how to relieve your joints !
The right gestures at any age!
Joints, and especially cartilage, do not have a nervous system that warns of its progressive degradation and it is only when it is too late that pain will appear.
It is therefore important to take care of this essential mechanism early in life.
Simply getting older is enough to create a breeding ground for joint pain. Intense professional or sporting activity also leads to significant wear and tear on the cartilage. Even if sport has a favourable benefit/risk balance.
And it is from the age of 35 onwards that it starts to deteriorate more strongly. It is therefore early that the cartilage capital must be preserved. A proverb is particularly well suited to cartilage care: "He who wishes to travel far, spares his mount".
In order to maintain your body, you must start by toning up your muscles, because it is the muscles that are the first line of defence against joint degeneration. Sheathing exercises are particularly effective and protective. In this context, a gentle and regular physical activity will be your best ally. Choose one of the following: walking, Pilates, yoga, tai chi, swimming or aquagym. It's up to you and your abilities.
You should warm up well and mobilise your joints before starting your favourite sport. Sport also helps to eliminate toxins that may tend to accumulate. By activating the blood circulation.
They help to relax and activate the circulation around your joints. In addition to being a moment of well-being, they promote the supply of nutrients to the cartilage. The Indian massage "abhyanga" is particularly appreciated.
A healthy and varied diet
As we know, food plays a vital role in our health and our joints are no exception to this rule.
Eating too much fat or too much sugar leads to overweight, which is an enemy of the joints, which will suffer more impact, particularly when walking. It has been shown that excess weight aggravates osteoarthritis when it is present. But it also favours inflammations that cause joint discomfort. Drinking can also have an impact on the quality of the joints, which is why water hydration must be sufficient. Alcohol has a deleterious effect and also promotes inflammation.
What foods should I eat to protect myself?
Eating raw vegetables that contain undenatured vitamins and plenty of water is a first step. More broadly, a diet consisting of vegetables, vegetable oil and anti-inflammatory food is recommended.
Fruits with a lot of vitamin C are to be favoured as this vitamin improves the body's response to inflammation while promoting the production of collagen which forms part of your joints. It's a powerful antioxidant like the polyphenols you'll find in apples, berries and citrus fruits.
Fatty fish will provide you with the vitamin D necessary for the proper assimilation of calcium in the bones surrounding your cartilage. So get your salmon, herring, sardines, etc.
Finally, turmeric is mentioned for good health in general, as it is believed to have many virtues that make it a miraculous spice. Its anti-inflammatory action is well documented and gives it a soothing effect on symptoms.
On the other hand, foods should be avoided:
- processed, with saturated fats
- refined, made of white flour
- rich in quick sugar
- wine and alcohol as a whole which promotes tissue irritation
Fasting for joint pain is not recommended. It can stress the body and create a fertile ground for even more rapid degradation.
When you can't or don't have the time to prepare vegetables there are nutritional supplements that will provide you with benefits against joint pain and osteoarthritis. Meadowsweet, white willow, turmeric or Harpagophytum, the latter if combined with glucosamine and chondroitin like in our Cartilage senseThe latter, if combined with glucosamine and chondroitin as in our product, regenerates the cartilage. At least, Dr. WITTRANT, a researcher at INRAE, attributes to them the limitation of the degradation of the materials constituting the cartilage and the fluidification of the synovial liquid.
One habit that may seem unrelated to food is the attention you pay to your oral hygiene. American studies show the ability of bacteria in the mouth to migrate into the synovial fluid and create foci that attack the joint and its various components.
Good postural habits are essential to avoid damage and to protect the joints.
Do not overload and distribute the loads well. Adopt postures that do not place excessive demands on them. Stand or sit up straight. Do not cross your legs either.
Don't forget to warm up and stretch before and after physical activity.
We suggest exercises to relax the joints:
Let's start with the lower body and end with the upper body:
- Ankles: sit on a chair, support your back on the backrest and raise your left leg. Without moving, make 10 circles with your foot. Repeat with the opposite leg.
- Knees: On a staircase, tip your feet on a step (the heel should not rest on the step). Grip the railing and lower your heels into the void, keeping your back straight. Repeat 20 times.
- Hips: Lie on your back, bend your knees and feet on the floor, bring one knee towards your torso by pushing it back with your hand on the same side. Hold for 5 seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat the exercise 10 times on each side.
- Shoulders: Raise your arms above your head with your hands crossed palms up. Stretch upwards and relax. Then with your fingers interlaced behind your head, bring your shoulder blades together, taking your elbows backwards. Then reverse the movement to bring your elbows together in front of your face.
- The neck: Do a series of yes-no's with your head, slowly working your way to the end .
Medical solutions at your disposal
Paracetamol and anti-inflammatory drugs can be used to relieve pain. However, they provide relief but do not solve the underlying problem. In case of more intense pain, mild opiates may also be prescribed.
These are intra-articular injections, where an anti-pain agent (corticoid or strong anti-inflammatory) or a fluid that replaces the synovial fluid is injected directly.
As a last resort, there are repair or replacement surgeries with a titanium prosthesis. These can only be considered if you are of advanced age as they cannot be repeated.
For S'sense vegetal we position ourselves before these medical solutions of last resort. Before the pain and damage are too advanced. And in this case we advocate
We offer a gentle solution based on phytotherapy with Harpagophytum and fruit for vitamin C. This food supplement is completed by chodontoin and glucosamine. To enable you to regain mobility with Sense of cartilage.