Written by Julie Taylor
This article about knees caught my attention becausetwo of my own sons had knee problems when they were just kids – 12 years old. Now in their early 30’s both of them still have problems and ache. One son became a cyclist because his surgeon advised him to build the muscles in his thighs and calves to take the pressure off his knees. This worked for a while – and he became an awesome cyclist. He also had surgery on one knee – which is now worse than the one not operated on. Neither son is heavy but even so, the knees take a beating. And when your knees hurt, you suddenly realize just how vital they are.
A good friend of mine, a woman in her 40’s and a mother, had knee surgery last year. It was very traumatic – the months leading up to it were agony, the surgery itself was hard and the recovery time was long.
Knees bear a lot of weight – and flex back and forth over and over – every single day. As such they are highly susceptible to wear and tear…and pain. A new study shows the heavy toll that knee pain takes on society – particularly in women over the age of 50 – and I was humbled.
This study shows that 63% of these women suffer persistent, incident, or intermittent knee pain over a 12-year period. The biggest contributors to this are bearing excess weight (women have a higher body mass index and experience pregnancy), having suffered a previous knee injury, or experiencing the joint pain caused by osteoarthritis.
More than 27 million Americans over age 25 suffer from osteoarthritis. Pain is the most problematic symptom. And knees are where it strikes most often. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that job-related osteoarthritis costs $3.4 billion to $13.2 billion per year.
Now and again my own knees ache. Generally I subscribe to GNM, which views knee pain through a slightly different lens. However, to relieve the pain I use glucosamine sulphate with MSM and chondroitin. There are many pills and caplets available, some of which seem to cause nasty indigestion. However I discovered sachets of powder called SuperFlex3 which are by far the most effective I have found and are pleasant to take. SuperFlex3 is a nutritional supplement, rather than a painkiller, so not only am I supporting my joints but it doesn’t interfere with the natural healing process described by GNM.
Older studies have found that knee osteoarthritis is linked with impaired physical function and exerts a substantial toll on society. The CDC reported that close to 500,000 total knee replacements were performed in the U.S. in 2004, with more than $14.0 billion spent on hospital costs related to the procedure.
The new study is the first community-based investigation of knee pain patterns taking multiple measures over 12 years. Understanding how common knee pain is, and what may cause it, is important in understanding prevention and treatment options for those who suffer the pain or are at risk.
I seem to be able to control my own knee pain most of the time according to GNM… Although this involves a lot of learning and it’s often not easy to see your own psychological issues. After several years I have completely gotten rid of my own pain – despite doctors calling it ‘irreversible’ and oseoarthritis – with GNM. On the odd occasion when pain flares up then SuperFlex3 can deal with it to such a complete extent that I can often go dancing the same day (if not by the next).
For osteoarthritis, the world’s most common cause of joint pain, people are increasingly turning to alternative medicine. Many herbal remedies have the ability to relieve pain and build cartilage in joints. One supplement in particular is extremely promising, as several studies have indicated. Its name is “methylsulfonylmethane” — or MSM for short.
Perhaps it will be a health secret no more. MSM has been found to reduce pain significantly and improve joint function in people who have osteoarthritis of the knee. They have found that about six grams of MSM for three months could lead to reduced pain and improved physical function. I’ve tried pill and caplets and found these sachets of powder to be the absolute best: SuperFlex3.
When we speak of improved pain and better function, we speak in percentages. Patients taking MSM have in the neighboorhood of 12% less pain and 14% more knee function than those taking placebo. They also experienced less stiffness in their knees. Based on several reports — all pointing to about three months of use to reduce symptoms — MSM may be considered useful for short-term relief in osteoarthritis.
MSM is a natural substance that contains sulfur. It’s found in some vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and meat. It is also found in small amounts within our blood. When people have low levels of MSM, they might experience joint and muscle pain. And that’s because of what it does in the body: it’s a natural pain-reliever. MSM stops the transmission of pain impulses that flow along your nerves. When you combine this with its anti-inflammatory abilities, it’s easy to see why MSM could battle conditions such as osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
MSM may also ease muscle spasms, increase blood flow, and strengthen cartilage. Cartilage is the substance within joints that cushions everything, preventing injury. A final link between MSM and our joints is that the level of sulfur is lower in arthritic areas than in healthy joints. Since MSM is a sulfur compound, it could be delivering much-needed sulfur to the joints.
You can find MSM easily now in the form of a tablet, cream or gel. Oral doses start at about one gram per day – although I’ve yet to find a tablet that doesn’t cause indigestion? SuperFlex3 is powder in individual dose sized sachets and it is the most effective form I’ve found. On the shelves of most pharmacies these days, MSM promises to help relieve pain, swelling, and the burning sensation that comes with arthritic points. The best evidence so far exists for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. In fact, since the early 1990s, MSM has been available for this treatment. If pain is afflicting your knee, or other joints, and you are still looking for relief, SuperFlex3 seems worth a shot.