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Are Aching Joints Treatable?

Glucosamine and Chondroitin, alone or together, may offer some relief, but your mileage may vary.


Do Your Baby Boomer Joints Ache When You Get Up in the Morning?

By P Mullaly

Every baby boomer I know has aches and pains. Lots of them.

It's as if a magical switch clicks on when you hit midlife and your body suddenly decides to rebel. Things you did without any pain at all suddenly leave your joints crying for help. Five years ago you could be on your knees in the garden for hours without any problem. Now, try that, and the next day your joints ache all over. That bike ride or run in the morning used to leave you feeling refreshed. Now when you get back after a workout, you just collapse in a heap and reach for the aspirin. What is happening to your body?

As we age, our bodies change. The joints and muscles have been working for you for years. Fifty years, sixty years - a very long time. Think of your body in terms of a machine. It works efficiently for years, but it needs to be well maintained. A car without an oil change or lube job becomes a squeaky old clunker that barely gets you down the road. In the same way, our joints need lubrication. As we age the cartilage, the cushion between our bones begins to thin and dry out. It can get so thin that eventually there is nothing at all between the bones. - You don't want to know how painful that can be.

How do you prevent this "drying out" of the cartilage and maintain a healthy moist cushion between your bones?

A dietary supplement that is getting a lot of attention is Glucosamine/Chondroitin. These two substances are a natural part of the cartilage in your body and help it stay soft and flexible. As we age, the amount of Glucosamine and Chondroitin in our bodies changes. By taking them separately or together as a daily part of your diet. you take a big step in replacing whatever is lacking and in maintaining healthy joints. There are few, if any side effects.

When I first began to experience serious joint pain I went to my doctor for advice. It was he who suggested Glucosamine/Chondroitin (G/C) as a dietary supplement. But he advised me that it doesn't work miracles or kick in right away. For years my body was slowly losing its supply of this natural substance. I would have to take a daily dose of the supplement over a period of about six weeks to build up enough G/C in my body to begin to be noticed. So I began. Just about six weeks later, I found that my joint pain was noticeably reduced. Of course, thinking I was "cured," I stopped taking it for a while and sure enough the pain returned. Now I take it most days and find myself able to do just about anything pain free.

It's important to remember that everyone is not the same. Joint pain and loss of healthy cartilage is not the reality for a lot of people. But if you are one of those people who reach a "certain age" and those joints begin to cry out for attention, you might find that Glucosamine/Chondroitin is a good choice to consider as a supplement to your diet.

Of course you should consult your doctor and do your own research before taking any supplement. There are many articles on the internet that deal with the issue. You might find one of these helpful:

http://arthritis.webmd.com/tc/glucosamine-and-chondroitin-topic-overview

http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/supplements/a/glucosamine.htm

I invite you to explore more midlife issues, from fitness and exercise, to romance and spirituality at MidLifeJourney.com (http://www.midlifejourney.com) a web blog dedicated to the exchange of ideas, opinions and resources for the boomer generation - Pat Mullaly, editor. You can reach her via email at editor@midlifejourney.com (mailto:editor@midlifejourney.com)

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