This Common Belief Prevents Joint Pain Relief
Back in my high school days, mainstream medicine promoted a lot of myths. If you’re a Baby Boomer, chances are you remember a few of the same myths I grew up with. Myths I’ve spent much of my medical career trying to dispel.
Here are just a few of the myths I’ve exploded in the Journal over the last few years…
- Cholesterol is the best gauge of your risk of a sudden heart event. I told you about a large study where half the victims had ideal cholesterol.
- Low fat diets are the best way to lose weight. I showed you evidence that a low-glycemic lifestyle cuts weight just as fast… but helps you hold on to more lean muscle.
- Tropical oils are bad for your heart, because they’re saturated fats. It turns out these oils – especially coconut oil – are actually healthy.
You get the idea. Now another myth is being shot down. One that may have led millions to suffer unnecessary joint pain. Which brings us back to high school.
Cross country wasn’t exactly a major sport before the running boom hit. I can remember plenty of adults – and other kids – warning runners they’d pound their joints to dust if they kept it up. And plenty of doctors advised their patients to avoid running, too.
This seems to makes sense. Pretty much everything we make wears out with use. And back then, many people believed wear and tear was a major cause of aging, too. So, if you want your joints to last, take it easy on them, right?
But we hadn’t looked at all the evidence.
Southern Africa’s San people – also known as “Bushmen” – traditionally hunted by running their prey to exhaustion.
Generations of San hunters have trotted after prey for miles and miles, barefoot. Hunts could last two days or more, the men jogging along almost without a break. Also without pounding their joints to dust.
Mexico’s Tarahumara people were known for running as far as 200 miles at a time. Before the Spanish introduced horses to the new world, communication between villages was by foot. These hardy people were also known for running down prey to the point of exhaustion. But not for joint pain.
Researchers recently presented a study to the American College of Rheumatology that suggests the San and Tarahumara were right all along. Running won’t pound your joints to dust.
In fact, running may help you avoid joint pain.
Most earlier studies focused on elite male runners. So we couldn’t say the results applied to the average Joe (or Jane). But this new study looked at people who ran regularly for at least some period of their lives.
The result? Participants who’d run regularly for at least part of their lives were less likely to suffer lower-body joint damage or pain.
We already knew staying active helps lower levels of knee and hip pain. Now we have strong evidence the old advice of not running is off by 180 degrees.
Add in nutritional supplements containing the raw materials your body uses to keep joints healthy – such as type II collagen, Alpha-lipoic acid, and glucosamine – and you have a recipe for less pain and greater freedom.
Yours in continued good health,
Dr Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
1 “Running Does Not Lead to Knee Osteoarthritis and May Protect People From Developing the Disease,” American College of Rheumatology. Nov 11, 2014.