What Is Osteoarthritis, and How Is It Cured?
Osteoarthritis – the disease so awesome that 22% of American adults have been diagnosed with it, says the CDC.
Well, what the hell is osteoarthritis anyway? It’s simply the degradation of the cartilage in your joints. The “padding” between your bones become worn out and painful. Sounds fun, right? No, it actually doesn’t.
Doctors typically attribute osteoarthritis to “aging” or “having too much wear-and-tear”, as if we were born with a per-determined amount of cartilage in our joints that will eventually run out (like a woman and her eggs).
You know what I say? I say this is BS. Why would humans be programmed in their DNA to never be able to regenerate a portion of their bodies that bears load, and thus is broken down, every single day? Are we truly destined to be weak and useless at some point in our lives? Unless that’s when we’re on our deathbeds, I think not.
If You Don’t Use It, You Lose It – So Keep Moving Your Joints
I’ve said it time and time again in multiple blog posts – our muscles and tendons will degrade if we stop exercising, so why wouldn’t our cartilage degrade too?
Just like muscles and tendons, cartilage is living tissue that responds to stress. Give it the right amount of stress, and it will adapt and grow stronger. However, there is another benefit for cartilage that movement provides, which we will get to in a second.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you should know that cartilage does not have its own blood supply, just like tendons don’t. But unlike tendons, which receive nutrition from its neighboring muscle’s blood supply, cartilage has no “attached muscle” to give it a free ride with blood supply. Neither does it receive some nutrition from the surrounding bone that it is actually attached to. This is one of the reasons why doctors believe osteoarthritis is a death-sentence.
However, what our cartilage does get nutrition from is the surrounding synovial fluid, which is encapsulated by the cartilage and synovial membrane, forming a “water balloon” that further cushions the joints.
Well, when the joints under compression and increased pressure, it has been seen in one study that the permeability of the cartilage increases. “The present work extends this model to include the condition that the permeability of cartilage is dependent on the extent to which it is deformed.”
It is through imbibition, as stated by the researchers, that synovial fluid enters the cartilage during compression and increased pressure, and is then expelled back into the synovial cavity during “relaxation”. Imbibition is described as “the displacement of one fluid by another immiscible fluid” by Wikipedia.
So, by putting pressure and compressive stress on your joints, you allow synovial fluid to donate nutrients to and transport waste out of the surrounding cartilage. And how do we put pressure and compression on our joints, you ask? Through movement.
How do we provide both the adaptive-stress and the nourishing anabolic compounds to our cartilage simultaneously? Through movement.
Theoretically, yet logically, how do we reverse and cure osteoarthritis? Through movement.
You’ve got to keep moving. Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was it destroyed overnight.