Anything with ‘itis’ in the name means it is an inflammation. Bursitis is an inflammation of the fluid-filled sac that cushions and reduces friction in joints. Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons that attaches the muscle to the bone. In both cases it feels like the joint is hurting, when it moves and sometimes even when it doesn’t. By either name it just plain hurts.
The common treatment for this inflammation is NSAIDS, but they come with a catch. Aspirin is one of the best known NSAID. It can cause stomach irritation ranging from indigestion to bleeding of the stomach. Of all the NSAIDS it is the least toxic to our systems. Other NSAIDS include all the brand names they have for acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Both of these may cause stomach irritation as well as damage the liver or kidneys. With all of these the more often you take it and the higher the dosage the more likely you are to have trouble. As less invasive treatment is rest and ice.
Edmund R. Burke, PhD, is the director of the Exercise Science Program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and author of Optimal Muscle Recovery. He recommends enzyme combinations made from plants. Taken between meals they break down the inflammatory debris and improve circulation. This not only relieves the pain, but promotes healing.
His recommendation is repeated by Dr. Engel of the University Orthopedic Clinic of Vienna, who did research with the athletes of the Summer and Winter Olympic Games for the handicapped. By giving them enzymes during practice and competition they found that there were fewer injuries, and the injuries that did occur were less serious and healed more quickly than they would have otherwise.
In addition to the plant based enzymes we have personally found that aloe taken internally is extremely helpful. Aloe has been known to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Increasing your water intake is also extremely important. Most Americans are either slightly or severely dehydrated. When we are dehydrated our bodies cannot remove the waste products from the cells. These waste products are irritants to the cells. For some reason they tend to accumulate around the joints and cause issues that we label bursitis, tendonitis, and even arthritis. As people age they tend to drink less clear clean water and as people age they tend to get more of these inflammation problems. That doesn’t feel like a coincidence to me.
Nutritionally if you have inflammation there are several things you need to do. First look at your diet and remove any foods from the nightshade family. These include tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, blueberries, huckleberries, and artichokes. There are several products on the market that contain these plants. They include sauces such as Tabasco, Worcestershire, and most steak sauces. In addition to these you will need to learn to read labels and avoid anything that has ingredients listed as spices, flavorings, seasonings and MSG. These foods need to be taken from your diet until all pain is gone, or for 90 days, whichever comes first. When reintroduced you should know very quickly if they were part of the problem.
Acidity in the body can also cause inflammation. Meat products are one of the best known sources for acidity, but sodas can also be a culprit here. Plant based foods typically reduce the acidity of the body. Eating organic fruits and vegetables or drinking juices and smoothies made from them can help lower the acidity of the body.
Supplements that can be helpful are B12, such as those found in a sublingual B12 supplement. As you reduce your meat intake your intake of B12 is lowered. Many older people have trouble digesting proteins because they have reduced levels of stomach acid and are not producing enough enzymes for good digestion. This is probably another reason we have more aches and pains as we age.
Calcium and Magnesium are also good supplements. They help to repair the connective tissues and improve muscle function. Antioxidants can also be extremely helpful. They reduce inflammation and help rebuild connective tissues. Zinc is also useful in these same areas.
For a nice warming rub I use ginger oil. Simply take fresh ginger and squeeze out the juices into some fresh olive oil. It makes a great rub for sore shoulders and knees. You can also take ginger internally to help relieve pain. Ginger lozenges and capsules can be found in most health food stores. I have even taken the ginger out of my spice cabinet and put it into empty capsules. My mother in law swears by it for her aches and pains.
Reducing pain and inflammation anywhere in the body comes from taking good care of your body. Eat right, get enough water, and get some gentle exercise. There are many herbs, spices, minerals and supplements that can help ease the pain during the process of becoming a healthier person.
The Herbal Drugstore by Linda B. White MD and Steven Foster, copyright 2000 by Rodale Press
Enzymes the Fountain of Life by D.A Lopez, M.D., R.M Williams, M.D., Ph.D and K. Miehlke, M.D. copyrighted 1994 by the Neville Press Inc.
Invisible Illnesses by Gloria Gilbere, N.D., D.A. Hom., Ph.D., copyrighted 2nd edition 2005, 2002 by Gloria Gilbere, N.D., D.A. Hom., Ph.D
Prescription for Nutritional Healing fourth edition by Phyllis A. Bach, CNC copyrighted 2006 by Phyllis A. Bach
The Complete Encyclopedia of Nutritional Healing by Gary Null, Ph.D. copyrighted 1998, 2005 by Gary Nul