For those who suffer from it, joint pain can be incredibly difficult to deal with, as it often lingers long after the day’s work has been done. Unfortunately, everyone experiences some degradation of joint tissues as they age, eventually leading to ailments like osteoarthritis and other painful joint issues.
Osteoarthritis (OA), a type of arthritis that occurs when flexible tissue at the ends of bone wears down, is the most common chronic condition affecting the joints. Essentially, when the cartilage or cushion between the joints breaks down and leads to stiffness, swelling, and often intense pain.
When we’re young, our joints contain a firm, rubbery material called cartilage that covers the ends of our bones. This provides a cushion between bones and a smooth surface that allows them to slide easily. But as the body ages, lifestyle and simply age catch up to the joints and the cartilage breaks down. This deterioration of cartilage causes the joint to swell and stiffens the joint.
As osteoarthritis continues to develop throughout a lifetime, the bones can also break down, sometimes developing growths called bone spurs, causing bits of bone and cartilage to float around in the joint freely. This elicits the body’s release of cytokines and enzymes to the area, which eventually break the cartilage down further. Eventually, osteoarthritis leads to bone on bone contact in the joint, which creates more pain, more stiffness, and makes the joint practically unusable.
Statistics show that half of all people will eventually develop symptoms of knee osteoarthritis during their lifetime, and 25 percent will develop symptoms of hip osteoarthritis by the age of 85.
With it affecting nearly everyone at some point in life, there are a lot of treatments available for osteoarthritis, some require a prescription and others do not. For mild OA, the usual treatment is nonprescription pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen, and topical creams. Topical pain relievers are great for isolated pain management when just a few joints are involved.
Prescription medication most often prescribed are called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). These can be a little dangerous, as they are particularly bad for the stomach. The FDA warns of cardiovascular side effects and gastrointestinal bleeding as two possible risks, and some also include risks of stroke, heart attack, and life threatening skin reactions.
There are natural remedies for OS that, so far, have been found to have little to no risk of dangerous side effects.
One such treatment option is glucosamine-chondroitin supplements. Glucosamine and chondroitin are naturally found in the joint fluid and thought to trigger cartilage production and reduce inflammation, with some studies showing its ability to relieve moderate to severe pain and slow the progression of OS.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are quite popular supplements that can be found at nearly any drug or grocery store. There is another supplement that is often recommended to be taken alongside Glucosamine and chondroitin that can help boost the effects.
MSM or methylsulfonylmethane is a chemical found in many places like green plants, animals, and humans, and can also be created in the laboratory. While it is also a popular supplement for joint pain, there is only a small amount of research to verify its claims. What little research is available, however, speaks favorably of MSM as a possible treatment for OS.
While MSM is normally taken for joint pain, people take it for a whole range of ailments like People also take MSM by mouth for relief of allergies, chronic constipation, “sour stomach”, ulcers, a bowel disease called diverticulosis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), mood elevation, obesity, poor circulation, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. MSM is believed to supply sulfur to the body, helping it make other important chemicals.
MSM works by supplementing the body with extra sulfur for creating methionine, which helps in important bodily processes like making other chemicals, forming connective tissue, synthesizing/metabolizing foods and absorbing nutrients to be used for energy. Biologically active sulfur is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is necessary in many bodily functions. MSM is thought to help form connective tissue and repair joints, tendons and ligaments.
One study published in the International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology researched the efficacy of Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and boswellic acids (BA) versus glucosamine sulfate (GS) in the treatment of knee arthritis.
Researchers conducted the study on 120 participants with arthritis of the knee for a 60 day period. Each participant was treated daily with either 5mg of MSM and 7.2mg of boswellic acids, or 1500mg GS. At the conclusion of the study, as well as 6 months later, each group was tested for pain using a pain scale, and joint function using the Lequesne Index (LI). Results showed that the group being treated with MSM and BA showed improvements in pain and flexibility at the 6 month mark. Researchers concluded from his study that MSM presents another possible treatment option for arthritis, which until this study was basically being treated with glucosamine supplements.
Another form of MSM being tested is Mega MSM. Researchers studies the effects of Mega MSM on participants for 12 weeks on a group of Chinese participants. 100 males and 50 females were given a dose of Mega MSM, and the study concluded that positive effects were observed, including improved joint function, relief of symptoms of joint degradation, and a general positive improvement in quality of life.
Not only has MSM been found to help with joint pain, but it is also being looked at as a possible treatment for many other ailments throughout the body, making it one of those rare substances that is almost a must have for everyone, providing a lot of great benefits in the body with little to no detrimental effects.
MSM can help rebuild the lining of the digestive tract, reduce inflammation, and is also useful in treating leaky gut syndrome, helping to ebb the flow of harmful particles from a leaky gut which cause inflammation.
We’re all going to get older, and with age comes age related illness and a general degradation of the body, but with proper research and an ever-expanding scientific knowledge of wonderful alternative treatments like MSM, joint pain and arthritis doesn’t have to be debilitating.