Medical herbalist Nicola Parker details how to look after your joints

Using supplements for joint care can help improve blood flow, repair and reduce stiffness and inflammation in the joints, leading to improved mobility and greater levels of comfort.
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In the recent sunshine we’ve been blessed with, I’ve found a new sense of motivation to get outside and start exercising again. The winter has dragged on and without my usual sports classes, it’s easy to look out of the window on a rainy evening after work and decide that the sofa is much more appealing than an outdoor run. Without the sunshine on my skin, I had forgotten how much I enjoy exercising outdoors.

What I had also forgotten, is the recovery process that follows. Oh boy. The morning after my first workout, my tender muscles reprimanded me strongly for doing too much too soon after a lazy winter. I don’t mind this too much as muscle pain eases, as with repair, and I know in the long run, I will be stronger for it. My joints on the other hand, are a different story.

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Joint pain has been a lifelong problem for me. Due to an injury in my teens, I developed arthritis in my 20s and many years later, my knees and hips both have something to say about any new exercise regime.

joint carejoint care
joint care

Unlike my muscles, my joints don’t repair quickly and get stronger. In fact, our joints wear down over time and damage done to the joints is hard to recover from, so prevention is better than cure in joint care.

If you’re concerned about the health of your joints, visiting a physiotherapist can provide you with the knowledge of how to strengthen the supporting structures around the joint, to ease the strain. If I had kept up to date with my physio exercises, I probably wouldn’t have had such stiff and grumpy knees the day after my run.

The other thing I have neglected, since being less active has lured me into a false sense of security, is my supplement regime.

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Using supplements for joint care can help improve blood flow, repair and reduce stiffness and inflammation in the joints, leading to improved mobility and greater levels of comfort.

Many painkillers available at the pharmacy or on prescription have a number of unpleasant side effects, including digestive upsets like constipation and inflammation of the stomach lining. For this reason, many people, including myself, choose to turn instead towards herbal alternatives for pain relief. With a long history of arthritis, I’ve tried my fair share of remedies and I feel like I have invested a good deal of time sorting the good from the bad.

At the moment, I’ll be using collagen as part of a strategy to strengthen my weakened knees and give them some support in repairing whatever damage I did while over doing it.

Collagen is found in the cartilage, tendons and ligaments of the joint. Luckily, collagen is also helps keep our skin elastic and youthful looking, so here’s hoping that I can slow down the deepening of my fine lines and crows feet too!

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For this reason, you can find many over-priced collagen products on the market, targeting people who want to take it as a beauty supplement. While these products can be great, anything marketed for the beauty industry often carries a hefty price tag, so be careful that you are not overpaying.

Since I think I’ve done some damage, I’ll be taking a high dose for a few weeks until my knees start to feel more comfortable. If your collagen supplement suggests taking huge amounts, that is usually only suggested as a temporary loading dose.

My own collagen suggests up to ten tablets a day, which can seem very off putting. I wont be taking this many, but I’ll certainly take four per day for a few weeks before dropping down to a lower maintenance dose of one or two.

If you’re interest in joint care or using herbs for pain relief, there are a wealth of options out there to choose from, so talk to an expert to find out which one is right for you. Currently, my priority is repair, so I’ve selected collagen for the moment, but depending on the type of arthritis you have and the amount of pain you are in, something more focused on pain may be of more help to you.

For more information or to book an appointment with Nicola, contact her clinic on 01524 413733.

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