What causes joint discomfort, pain, stiffness, loss of mobility and flexibility?
Overuse, damage, disease. Some of the issues are chronic (persistent); some are acute (one-off occurrences).
If you experience an acute joint issue (excess exercise or an accident), or have a chronic joint issue (arthritis or other disorder), you worry less about what caused the problem, and want to focus on returning your body to its best self.
If you have joint issues, your doctor/trainer/coach may have shared the concept of RICE with you. If you experience stiffness, loss of joint mobility/flexibility and/or experience joint pain/discomfort:
- Rest: Try to avoid using the joint – you need to remove the stress – eg, putting weight on the joint, moving the joint, etc; otherwise, you may cause additional damage and inflammation… which will limit your body’s ability to repair the joint.
- Ice: Apply ice packs or cold compresses – ice/cold on the area will reduce inflammation, alleviating pain and helping the body move repair elements to the area.
- Compress: Apply an ace-bandage or tightly wrap the joint area – this also helps to limit the level of inflammation in the area, helping the body move repair elements to the joint.
- Elevate: Raise the painful and inflamed joint above the heart line to ensure blood and fluids have a better chance of draining from the area, limiting inflammation, thereby helping the body move repair elements to the afflicted area.
Inflammation management is an important part of ensuring your joint can repair itself and regain normal function. However, as effective as RICE can be, it is neither perfectly effective, nor a great deal of fun.
Consider the benefits of RICES: Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate and SheaFlex70™ (FlexNow® with 100% SheaFlex70™). Adding FlexNow® with 100% SheaFlex70™ may mean the difference between sitting on the sidelines, or living your best, active life.
Over 30 clinical trials and studies prove that FlexNow® with 100% SheaFlex70™:
- Reduces Inflammation: Reduces inflammation by 9X
- Retains Cartilage: Improves cartilage retention by 44%
- Regulates Bone tissue development: Reduces bone destruction by 10%
- Manages Pain: Alleviates pain by 45%
The destructive inflammatory cascade – Inflammatory response and cytokines:
When the body is injured, diseased or infected with a pathogen, the cells of the body release cytokines.
Cytokines are protein, hormone-like messenger molecules that allow cells to communicate, altering one another’s function and regulating cell proliferation. In particular, cytokines dictate the strength and targets of inflammatory and immune response.
Cytokines target the area of concern and increase vascularity (pathways for the blood system — allowing the body access to fight and repair), resulting in inflammation.
When we experience joint discomfort, pain, stiffness, loss of mobility or flexibility, one or all of the following are root causes:
- Micro cartilage tears – breaks in the cartilage matrix result in the bones of the joint to be closer than they should be (it hurts and often limits flexibility)
- Micro bone fissures – during repair by the body, irregular bone structures (often called bone spurs) may result. These irregular bone structures may tear cartilage, and often result in joints ‘grinding’ or ‘catching’
- Inflammation — driven by cytokine function, inflammation alone decreases flexibility and mobility of the joint, and causes both tenderness and pain
Disease, repeated joint stress or repeated joint issues often result in a destructive inflammation cascade:
- Cytokines are released; vascularity in the affected area increases
- Inflammation builds in the affected area; pain, tenderness and discomfort are evident
- The body sends bone tissue and cartilage repair elements to the affected joint. The inflammation impedes proper repair:
- bone spurs and/or hard/dense bone build up, further
- damaging already weakened and inflamed cartilageInflamed cartilage is challenging for the body to repair properly. As well, repair elements may be challenging to deliver to the inflamed areas, increasing likelihood of additional bone damage
- Additional damage (to the bone and cartilage) occurs through continued use (movement) of the poorly repaired site
- More cytokines are released: cytokine production can multiply 1000 fold when activated
- Inflammation builds further, and the destructive inflammation cascade continues: cytokine release, inflammation, poor repair, movement, additional damage, cytokine release, inflammation, etc
Managing the inflammation cascade is paramount to reducing pain and effectively repairing the affected joint area. In over 30 clinical trials and studies, FlexNow® with 100% SheaFlex70™ has been proven to modulate the production of cytokines and control the destructive inflammation cascade:
- Cytokine management: Reduces cytokine production: IL-6 by 31% and TNF-a by 24%
- Inflammation reduction: Reduces inflammation by 9X
- Bone regulation: Reduces bone destruction (and repair requirement) by almost 10%
- Cartilage retention: Reduces breakdown in cartilage by 44%
- Pain management: Reduces pain by 45%