Joint Pain and Stiffness

Like almost everything else, there is a good side and a bad side to exercising. The good side is you look and feel better, the bad side is you may be wearing away the cartilage between your joints. The wear and tear of your joints may lead to something known as osteoarthritis, not to be confused with rheumatoid arthritis which is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to “attack” its own joints, tissue and even organs. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disorder that arises from repetitive motion and/or use of  the joints. However, there are remedies for this disorder that can slow down and even reverse the damage that may have occurred over time.

Low impact exercises such as yoga and swimming are less likely to wear away your cartilage, but what if you’re not a yoga or swimming kind of person? Running, walking, cycling and even weight lifting can all negatively affect your joints. Even your job can worsen your condition, such as in my case. I am a pharmacist, so opening and closing bottles all day, typing on the computer, and even writing  have all contributed to the pain I started feeling in my wrists. Many people like to turn to pain killers such as Aleve and Advil, but these pills can ruin the mucosal lining of your stomach. They can cause ulcers if you take them for long periods of time, which doesn’t really sound like a good trade for wrist pain.

Instead of just numbing the pain, why not try to rebuild the cartilage between your joints? There are supplements and topical gels that can help do exactly that, as well as reduce the inflammation around your joints to decrease the pain. MSM, glucosamine, and chondroitin are all oral supplements that help rebuild cartilage. Orthogel is topical gel that contains glucosamine and MSM, but also contains aloe vera to soothe inflammation as well. Arnica gel is another great topical treatment that helps alleviate pain and inflammation quickly, and as an added benefit, it also helps reduce the appearance of bruises. Biosil is an oral solution that contains choline and silica, which are collagen producing factors that help regenerate cartilage quickly and effectively.

Even if you do not feel any pain, but are very active and love to exercise, taking the above mentioned supplements can help prevent any problems in the future. Your cartilage is very important! It is the cushion between your bones, and without that cushion your bones can rub together. Try to imagine how painful that feels. Prevention is key because many elderly people suffer from arthritis, but by that age it is much harder to rebuild your joints than if you were to take action now. Thanks for reading, this has been your daily dose of Vitamin Jas.


The Difference Between Over the Counter Pain Killers

Many people ask me on a daily basis what the difference is between Tylenol, Motrin, Aleve, and Advil. They ask if one is stronger than the other and which one is safer to take. These products have all been readily available for many years however, people are still uncertain about which one best suits their situation. Hopefully, this post will help clear the confusion and lead to a safer, more effective regimen for your pain quelling needs.

Motrin and Advil are both the same as Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is the generic name, and Motrin and Advil are the brand names. The only difference between the two is the manufacturer. Aleve is made up of a similar chemical compound called Naproxen Sodium. Naproxen Sodium and Ibuprofen are in the same class of medicine known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Naproxen Sodium is thought to be a bit stronger than Ibuprofen because it lasts longer in the body (about 8-12 hours instead of 4-8). NSAIDs not only help alleviate pain, but they also help bring down swelling and inflammation that may occur with such problems as a sprain, arthritis and most types of headaches. NSAIDs have also been shown to be most effective for women suffering from dysmenorrhea since they block prostoglandins, which cause painful muscle cramps. NSAIDs should not be taken by people with high blood pressure since it may exacerbate their condition. NSAIDs can also wear away the lining of the esophagus and stomach if taken for a long period of time, which is why people with ulcers or acid reflux disease should avoid taking them as well. Pregnant women and kids under the age of 2 should also not use NSAIDs unless directed by a physician.

Tylenol, also known as acetominophen, is also a very effective pain killer, but it doesn’t reduce inflammation as NSAIDs do. The advantage of taking Tylenol is that it doesn’t destroy the mucosal lining of your esophagus and stomach, it doesn’t increase blood pressure, and it is relatively safe for people with kidney problems to use since Tylenol is mainly cleared by the liver. Also, for people with blood clotting disorders, such as hemophiliacs, Tylenol is a better choice since it doesn’t affect the blood’s ability to coagulate. This is why it is the drug of choice for people who may have internal bleeding or a concussion since it doesn’t worsen the condition. However, even though NSAIDs also affect the liver, it is believed that Tylenol can cause more damage to the liver if taken for a long period of time. For people with liver problems, or who drink alcohol excessively, Tylenol may not be best suited for you.

Hopefully, after reading this post, the next time you visit your local pharmacy or drugstore you will be equipped with the knowledge to make the right decision as to which pain medication is best for your needs. Hope these tips help and thanks for reading! This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.