Aging, Arthritis, and Joint Pain


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Stewart Johnson

lake forest
Jan 22, 2013 - 08:56pm PT
ive got pretty bad arthritis(left leg< walk with a limp) im 53, it hurts unless i take Tumeric.or Vicoden.
i just climbed the Widows Tears last week and didnt feel too bad the next day.
its Tumeric for me.

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
Jan 22, 2013 - 09:00pm PT
I'm still on 1/3 dose of turmeric. . . IT WORKS!

Been on it for years and years.


(I used to be Blinny)
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Jan 23, 2013 - 02:22am PT
A couple of notes on things the bedevil many of us, from my 30+ years of practice:

There are different types of arthritis. Responses to treatments and outcomes will vary dramatically as to the cause. Last time I looked there were 45 different types.

Setting aside the more esoteric types, there are generally two issues to consider: structural deformities, and inflammation.

My observation is that structural deformities (a bone broke, cartilege was torn, a tendon ripped) is somewhat like a flat doesn't matter what kind of air you put in, whether it has Turmeric or doesn't change the abnormality. The main treatment (short of repair) is pain control.

Inflammation is very different. There also may be considerable inflammation associated with a deformity. Generally, you want to attack the inflammation, although you may ALSO attack the pain.

In western medicine, the big deal is treating with NSAIDS...such as advil.

One thing that is poorly understood is that for many of these 40-odd drugs, they treat BOTH pain and inflammation. However, the dosage may be different! For the example of Advil, the pain dosage is the OTC dose, two tabs twice a day. Pushing the dose does not really increase the pain effect, much. HOWEVER, the anti-inflammatory dose does not really kick in until you get to the prescription dosage, which would be 16 tablets a day.

There is also considerable differences in potency of these drugs. Diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam) is generally considered about the strongest, and the top dose is 75mg twice daily. It is generic, and cheap(3 months/$10)

I don't have a problem with the herbal remedies, but a word of caution: Many have not been vetted for safety, particularly over a long time. I think they are generally safe, but Caveat Emptor.

For those who have arthritis in their hands, and some other joints, an old fashioned remedy that works well for some, is a Paraffin Bath. I use one daily, and it really helps. It also treates dry skin!
You can pick them up for about $25, and no adverse reactions.

A long way from where I started
Jan 23, 2013 - 03:13am PT
A regular regimen of bicycling and beer seems to have kept my joints in good working order for 65 years.

I did my best to detach my left leg twelve years ago, and when they bolted it back on they told me I'd soon have arthritis in my hip, but so far that hasn't happened.

Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Jan 23, 2013 - 03:47am PT
The primary solution the medical establishment has for the commonplace ills of mankind are prescription and OTC drugs. Period.

Donald, while I understand why you say that, and don't totally disagree, you should have some perspective, that perhaps you don't:

Virtually all physicians spend a significant amount of time imparting information on lifestyle modification. Diabetes is a perfect example of a disease process that is prone to such modification. You can imagine the frustration of imparting such advice, and seeing it ignored. After you see 10 in a row.....100 in a row....1000 in a row. At a certain point in time, I think many physicians just give up, and move onto the things that they know will actually produce a superior outcome.

It's easy to give advice, when there is no consequence of being wrong. The example of Jim Fixx comes to mind. Could not have led a healthier lifestyle. And yet, there is virtually no doubt that medications could have saved his life.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 23, 2013 - 04:39am PT
jogill: I have taken glucosamine (2000 units/day) for about eight years, and so far my legs and other joints are fine - the shoulders flamed out some time ago. I take 600 mg of ibuprofen in the morning and one or two tablets (200mg) more during a 24 hour period. Without the "vitamin I" I would be in some pain whenever I used my shoulders. I admire those who disdain this NSAID and are able to function well without it, but for me it is wonderful. I have had no side-effects so far, and I have been taking it for almost a decade.

This is precisely what I did for years and years for my bad shoulder - 800mg of 'I' daily - until I started taking the Turmeric. But after three months with the turmeric I have less pain than I ever with the advil.

P.S. KenM, yes, I realize Turmeric does nothing for the condition of my shoulder, but rather just manages the pain and inflammation.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 23, 2013 - 04:54am PT
DT: ...the medical establishment

Ken, it's not you, Donald just has a problem with 'establishments' not on the Rovian-approved list of high lobby dollar institutions.

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Jan 23, 2013 - 09:11am PT
Aside from the side effect of causing you to change your name frequently, turmeric is good. Follow e..'s suggestion and google it.

Resveratrol is good.

Vitamin D is good.

Gluc/Chond worked well on my sore shoulder once. Doesn't seem to be nearly as effective these days. No studies of consequences of long-term use.

BTW - I have no arthritis, knee pain is due to torn meniscus.

Oh yeah, NAC (n-acetyl cysteine, precursor to glutathione) is good.

Capsaicin for immediate relief.

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
Jan 23, 2013 - 09:14am PT

photo not found
Missing photo ID#285890

Trad climber
Where the Hoback and the mighty Snake River meet
Jan 23, 2013 - 09:18am PT
Donald Thompson is on track here.
After experimenting with the popular supplements for about 12 years, I came across something I rarely see in relation to arthritis type joint pain. Ph balance. Most Americans have an extremely acidic diet, coffee and alcohol are the #1 culprits, but our standard diet contributes.
I started brewing my own Kombucha a few years ago. While it is an acidic substance, it helps alkalize our system. This constant Ph toward the acidic is damaging to joints, and possibly muscle tissue, connections in the brain, etc. It seems that if you can get your Ph balance more in balance, toward the alkaline, it is soothing and healing to these stressed tissues.

Last summer my knees were absolutely killing me. I finally went in to see an ortho when the pain was making me nauseous. About that time I lost my job. I got 3 injections of hyralonic acid in my left knee over 2 weeks, the right one just needed a little rest.

1 week after the final injection, I left on the JMT. No, or little coffee, just green tea, and a fairly Ph balanced diet for 30 days.

My knees were pain free, and other than aches and soreness related to the pack, no muscle pain that lasted for days, no "fuzzy brain", in short, I felt 10 years younger.

More to this story;
When I went in to see the Dr., I got some blood work done and came back as Hypothryoid. They put me on Synthroyd, which helped pull me out of it, but was hell to take. I did not take any on the JMT trip, it messed with my heart rate at altitude too much and left me weak.
Anywho, after doing MORE research, I came across that Hypothyroidism is linked to acidic Ph. AND, that raw cruciform vegetables, chlorine and fluoride block thyroid hormone up take. As well as being acidic substances. Cook those veggies al dente and they transform.
I had been heavy on raw veggies, especially broccoli and cauliflower, drinking whatever water and using toothpaste with fluoride. You get the picture.
198 miles in 30 days cleared me out. The thyroid issue has resolved.

It's the Ph man, check it out.

(I use a ton of turmeric in my cooking, seems to help.)

Jan 23, 2013 - 10:16am PT
Jim Fixx was a heavy smoker and had an extremely poor diet and lifestyle up till age 35. That's why his story was so compelling. Even after he started running, he felt diet was not that important. Drugs may or may not have helped, but educating people earlier in life about far better solutions will have the most impact. MD's just don't have the time for this. and look to other solutions.

Trad climber
fort garland, colo
Jan 23, 2013 - 10:21am PT
I tried Glucosemine until I discovered I had a shellfish reaction- not good. Ginger seems to help though.
I just had hip #2 replaced and not being able to take Vitamin I is a pain ... no nsaid's on blood thinners.. only for one more week though.

I think it interesting the link between stress and arthritis flares.. this certainly exists for me....

Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Jan 23, 2013 - 10:27am PT
It is often a revelation to most docs that high glycemic carbs , when consumed without restraint , often leads to epidemic levels of Diabetes 2.

All I can say is that you have talked to a very small number of doctors, to make a statement about "most docs".

In reality, what most docs say when asked about giving such advice: a waste of time, because they'll follow it for a week, then stop. All objective measures worsen with time. That's experience from people who are actually responsible for what happens.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Jan 23, 2013 - 10:29am PT
P.S. KenM, yes, I realize Turmeric does nothing for the condition of my shoulder, but rather just manages the pain and inflammation.

There is nothing wrong with that in my book!

I'd take Turmeric in a second, if I didn't have repetitive kidney stones (one of which I'm dealing with at the moment)
steve shea

Jan 23, 2013 - 10:52am PT
For me with blown achilles, 1 ACL, 2MCLs, several tib/fib breaks, one severe I have an IM rod multiple plates and screws, and a neck fusion, I am in surprisingly good shape pain wise. I have been injured off and on since 1980 and am used to pain and rehab and all attendant problems. I think Steve A. is correct, use it or lose it. I think I have had some pain so long I've raised my pain threshold without thinking about it. I wanted to do mountain sports and figured out a way to cope. I'm lucky and still have good knee cartilage, genetics? The one residual effect from prior activity, I used to run a lot, is a bad case of IT band inflamation which will not go away. What to do? I work out 3 times week with a Mt. Athlete type program. Lots of core and movement. Drink lots of water and stretch. The workouts make me sleep like a baby.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 23, 2013 - 11:00am PT
Ken, I have the same recurring kidney stones issue, but take Curicumin C3 Complex from Sabinsa corp.

Here's their paper on the oxalate content of their product:

beyond the sun
Jan 23, 2013 - 12:32pm PT
I had arthritis of the hip strike me at a relatively young age (42) about a year and a half ago. It happened during a summer where I was spending a lot of time in the gym, lifting very heavy and doing a lot of cycling. Just came out of nowhere and got pretty bad, pretty quick. It runs in my family, I have come to find out.

Within a few months it was so bad I had stopped all physical activity and was walking with a noticeable limp on numerous days of the week.

7 months ago, after ending up sedentary for half a year+ because of it, I started investigating options. Doctors told me surgery / replacement should be a last resort, especially because of my young age.

To make a long story short, what ended up helping the most was going to a Pilates studio and doing special strengthening exercises several days a week - along with general conditioning. I first hobbled in there 8 months ago almost 20 pounds heavier (including useless muscle bulk) with a massive imbalance of weakness across my whole lower left side. It was causing the additional problem of a knee pulled out of alignment and now starting to also hurt.

I won't claim I am 100% better, but it is now very manageable and for the most part no longer holds me back from any sports. Lack of range of motion means big left foot high steps and wide stems are pretty iffy, but besides that, I am good to go. I just have to come up with different solutions to certain moves.

I just started climbing again 3 months ago after being inactive (for other reasons) for 10 years, and the arthritis is still not yet a limiting factor. I am on-sighting hard 5.10 again. I'm also ok again on the bicycle, though I can't pedal in a full tuck. The thing that gives me the most scares, is walking DOWN steep hills, especially when I am tired. My left side becomes lazy when fatigued and I am prone to falling down on walk offs.

The only "supplements" I have used for it has been ibuprofen. I am going to start looking in to turmeic (sp?) and some of the other things listed.

So far, staying more active than ever, getting down to the lowest weight possible and keeping all the muscles of the area very strong have been the keys to slowing this down.

Good luck to all the cartilage deficient!
wayne w

Trad climber
the nw
Jan 23, 2013 - 12:38pm PT
Bjj, you may benefit from using a pair of hiking poles, especially when walking downhill. Place the poles out in front of you to lean on when taking a step with your left leg. By using your upper body strength you can help to compensate for whatever weakness there is on your left side. Falling over is no fun.

beyond the sun
Jan 23, 2013 - 12:45pm PT
That would probably help, but means I'd have to bring them along on long routes for the walk offs. That's pretty much the only time I put myself in a position of doing long downhill hiking.

Trad climber
New Durham, NH
Jan 23, 2013 - 01:06pm PT
Three years ago the main joint on my left big toe was basically frozen with limited range of motion, pain during walking, and excruciating pain with direct contact, so I couldn't even put on climbing shoes and foot jams were out of the question. The podiatrist I saw took x-rays and a few other tests and told me it was osteoarthritis and there was nothing I could do about it. He said it would only get worse over time, and I would eventually require a titanium joint replacement.

That was, of course, unacceptable. I went to see an accupuncturist who agreed that there is never "nothing you can do about it," and after three treatments of about 40 minutes, spread over two weeks, I had nearly full mobility and the pain was largely gone. I started taking glucosamine and fish oil supplements, and was able to lace on climbing shoes and return to the rock 2-4 times a week. I also massage in Iron Hand liniment or Arnica gel 1-2 times a day.

Today the toe is only slightly swollen looking, and is not a factor whatsoever as to what I can do. I just started taking daily turmeric about 2 weeks ago, so we'll see how that goes.
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