The 7 Keystones to Healthy Joints
In this blog series I want to share with you my thoughts on how to address joint pain effectively based on my 20 years of clinical experience helping folks move better, reduce their pain, and live an active and healthy lifestyle.
I acknowledge I have a bit of a diverse background. Being an Exercise physiologist and Acupuncturist, so the filters i use combine both eastern and western health sciences and practices.
Having experienced some pretty horrible joint pain myself, a chronic lower back problem sustained after a fall, and a Grade 3 medial Collateral Ligament tear and a meniscus “bucket” tear from a workout that went pair shaped I have fist hand experience in both acute and chronic joint pain
They both are not much fun
Last year my mum had a Total Hip replacement, a bone on bone hip that needed a new joint. We spent 12 months doing pre hab, and since he has bounced back after surgery, back in the garden doing what she loves.
Weekly in my studio I see mostly musculoskeletal pain clients, folks with arthritis, sports injuries, and back pain. I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I’m still studying and learning about the body so I cna help folks get out of pain.
Lets be honest, being in pain sucks, but the pain is there for a reason, its telling us there’s something not quite right, its the bodies intelligent way of protecting us.
The problem is often that we fail to cover all the bases on how to help the body heal. And this is what this blog series is really about. The 7 keystones of healthy joints is what i’ve observed really help folks get out of pain, move better, and get back into their life
What ive noticed is the reductionist model of Western medicine we tend to look at one aspect of a problem, however my Chinese medicine training has taught me that we need to look at the system as a whole, human biology is pretty darm complex, so we need to weave all the elements together to help the body heal.
Move away from symptom based treatment, to looking at addressing the fundamental cause of joint pain. I call this playing the long game, and outside of trauma “oh shit” injuries that cant be helped (falling out of a tree) the majority of chronic joint issues are closely linked to a person’s lifestyle, how the exercise, eat, sleep, think, and work.
To really get of pain we need to look at the whole picture
But before I dive down that rabbit hole, let’s get a little bit of context of just how big a problem joint pain is.
Below is some sobering statistics from Austalian Government reports
Here is my four point summary
- Joint problems are the 4th biggest health issue in australia
- As you get older they tend to get worse
- Exercise and Nutrition are really important to deal with joint problems
- It’s way cheaper to prevent them, than trying to fix them
Take a minute to read over some of the key elements from the Australain Govournment reports
- Musculoskeletal conditions are defined as conditions of the bones, muscles and their attachments, and include joint problems such as arthritis. Although there are more than 100 musculoskeletal conditions the most common are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and back pain
- Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition affecting the weight-bearing joints such as the hips, knees and ankles as well as the hands and spine. In the initial stages pain occurs in the joints during and after activity but as the condition progresses pain may be experienced from minimal movement or during rest
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease causing chronic inflammation of the joints. It most commonly affects the hand joints and can lead to deformities of the hands
- Osteoporosis is a condition whereby there is a progressive loss of bone density and decrease in the strength of the skeleton with a resultant risk of fracture
- Chronic back pain can be attributed to numerous causes including muscle strain or the displacement of an intervertebral disc
- In 2001, 32% (6 million) of the population reported having a disease of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue as a long-term condition, where the condition lasted, or was expected to last, six months or more.
- Musculoskeletal conditions were the fourth leading contributor to total burden of disease in Australia, with back pain and problems, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis being the greatest contributors to the musculoskeletal burden.
- Musculoskeletal conditions are highly prevalent, affecting 30% (6.9 million) of all Australians in 2014–15, based on self-reported data. This includes 3.7 million people with back problems, 2.1 million people with osteoarthritis, 0.8 million people with osteoporosis and 0.4 million people with rheumatoid arthritis
- In general, these conditions are more common in women than men, and more than half of those Australians with musculoskeletal conditions (61%) are of working age (25–64).
- Musculoskeletal conditions are a significant cause of disability and have a strong negative effect on a person’s quality of life, affecting the ability to participate in self-care, work, family and social activities. In 2015, 31% of people with disability reported having musculoskeletal conditions
- Data from the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) survey of general practitioners suggest that, in 2015–16, musculoskeletal conditions were managed at a rate of 18 per 100 encounters (Britt et al. 2016). Hypertension is the most frequently managed problem, managed at 75 in 1,000 general practice encounters in 2015–16 (Britt et al. 2016). In the same period, back complaints were managed at 31 in 1,000 general practice encounters and osteoarthritis was managed at 26 in 1,000 general practice encounters (Britt et al. 2016).
- With almost 7 million Australians having musculoskeletal conditions, resulting expenditure on health services is substantial. For example, in 2008–09, musculoskeletal conditions were the fourth largest overall contributor to direct health expenditure in Australia, accounting for 8.7% ($5,690 million) of total health-care expenditure after cardiovascular disease, oral health and mental disorders
- In 2011, the leading causes of burden due to musculoskeletal conditions were ‘other musculoskeletal conditions’ (35%) and back pain and problems (31%). The remaining burden was distributed across osteoarthritis (17%), rheumatoid arthritis (16%)
- Females experienced a higher proportion compared with males for osteoarthritis (66% females; 34% males), rheumatoid arthritis (64% females; 36% males) and ‘other musculoskeletal conditions’ (52% females; 48% males).
- There was no difference by sex for back pain and problems (50% males; 50% females).
- People aged 45 and over experienced the majority of the non-fatal burden for ‘other musculoskeletal conditions’—72% for those aged 45 and over compared with 28% for those aged 44 and under.
- People aged 64 and under experienced the majority of the non-fatal burden for osteoarthritis (52%), rheumatoid arthritis (63%) and gout (58%) compared with people aged 65 and over (48%, 37%, and 42%, respectively).
- People aged 54 and under experienced the majority of the non-fatal burden for back pain and problems (60%) compared with those aged 55 and over (40%).
- overweight and obesity contributed to 10% of the total burden due to all musculoskeletal conditions, 45% of the burden of osteoarthritis, 39% for gout and 7.5% for back pain and problems
- occupational exposures and hazards contributed to 5.4% of the total burden due to all musculoskeletal conditions, and 17% of the burden due to back pain and problems
- A large proportion of the burden of osteoarthritis and gout was attributed to overweight and obesity, suggesting that a reduction in the prevalence of this risk factor may also reduce the level of burden associated with specific musculoskeletal conditions.
SOURCE: The burden of musculoskeletal conditions in Australia: a detailed analysis of the Australian Burden of Disease Study 2011 we can see that joint problems are a big deal
Ok, so now we know the problem is legit, joint health effects a lot of people, and that means there’s a lot of folks suffering with pain.
Its my mission to help folks get out of pain, move well, and enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle. To do that actually requires a huge amount of skills, habits and actions, that need to be practiced, over a long period of time.
Simply taking pain medication of anti inflams won’t do it
Simply exercising more won’t do it
Simply taking the latest fad supplement won’t cut it
Where i see people going wrong is that they are trying to fix their joint problem with only 1 tool, when they really need a who tool kit
So I want to share with you my method of helping folks get out of joint pain using the 7 keystones of healthy joints
Its an integrated approach combining exercise science, nutrition, change psychology, controlling your environment, learning how to manage pain and inflammation, and restoring your digestive system health
Of course if you want to work with me to get out of pain you are welcome to reach out and inquire about how I can help you in person. It is also my hope that this blog series will give you some insight on how to help yourself, there may be just one or two pieces of your joint pain puzzle that you’ve been missing.
Take a few minutes to watch my first VLOG that outline the 7 keystones to joint health.
Either way, I’m here to help