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why is my body fighting me?

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Old 06-19-2012, 07:35 AM   #1
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Question why is my body fighting me?

OK winge-fest coming up!!!
I have a few medical problems, some related to my weight, some not. I have arthritis in my knees and asthma (there are some other ones but I won't bore you all here!)
As you can see from my tracker I have lost 2.5 stone and am exercising and eating really well. Here's the thing. If I exercise my knee hurts ( except for swimming which I do once a week but won't help me get back up the mountains and strips all the red dye out of my hair!). If I take anti-inflammatories my asthma gets worse and I am on a pretty high does of meds anyway. If I take too many pain killers my pooh turns to concrete!
I am trying my best to change my body but is seems to be resisting the changes. Does this sound bonkers?????????
I know I have a long way to go and that's OK but will I always be fighting myself???
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:46 AM   #2
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Oh, that's harsh - arthritis without anti-inflammatories? I don't envy you that.

I've a sneaking suspicion that unfortunately, yes, you will always be fighting yourself on the exercise front. I can't speak for the asthma, but on the arthritis front, keeping active is probably doing you more good than staying still would. It's a use it or lose it kind of thing - if you don't keep pushing your legs they'll get worse. Equally you need to not push them too far and end up crippling yourself.

I know you like walking for your exercise, so I'd definitely say stick with it, but maybe try keeping track of how much pain you get compared to how far and fast you've walked. Some pain in your knees is inevitable, so it's a case of how much you can bear. If a two mile walk gives bearable pain but a three mile walk leads to agony, then stick with two mile walks.

One last thing that you could check with your doctor is steroid injections in your knees. Of all the things my dad's tried to alleviate his arthritis, that's the only thing that really worked. Unfortunately it's a temporary reprieve, and the NHS insist on quite a while between injections, and he found the benefits wore off long before the next injection. But a break for a little while is better than nothing.
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:26 AM   #3
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Thanks Brid.
I have just had a look on line at the medical evidence for chondroitin and glucosamine, a supplement I have seen work miracles in my last dog!
The jury is still out but there seems to be some efficacy.
I was a Physio before I had to give up work ( long long LONG story) last year and am a trained acupuncturist. I have to get over my reluctance to stick needles in myself as there is some evidence it works and I had some success with some of my elderly patients for whom surgery wasn't an option.
I know some people swear by joint injections but as you say the effect is short lived and at my age I would rather leave those til further down the line.
I know some people who have tried anti-inflammatory diets cutting out certain foods but I really can't be bothered with all that! Tomatoes have a bad press apparently!
I think what it all boils down to is to pace myself......never been very good at that!
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Old 07-03-2012, 11:14 PM   #4
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Hi mountain walker,

I can sympathize - I have knee issues too - ACL repair in 1, chondromalacia in the other. Have you tried a topical antiinflammatory? I have to get a compounded prescription product, but I've bought Feldene gel and Voltaren gel over the counter in Ireland - is it available there?

Have you tried yoga? It makes my joints feel better. I would absolutely try some acupuncture, too.

There are also cushioning gel injections for the knees available here - Synvisc and Supartz are the brand names, they're variations of hyaluronic acid. I looked in to them before I started losing; my knee surgeon said if I wanted them, he'd do the paperwork to get my insurance to pay for it. Fortunately my knees are feeling better, so I'm putting it off for now.

As far as the anti inflammatory diet - how about ADDING ginger and turmeric to your diet? I love the taste of ginger, so I drink a lot of strong ginger herb tea, and I eat some crystallized ginger when I'm hurting.

Good luck, and keep up the good work!
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:24 AM   #5
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Thank you so much Riddy. I must confess that I was a Physiotherapist for 25 year before I had to give up work and am trained in acupuncture....I just have to get over my squeamishness about sticking needles in myself!
I am not sure what it is like in the US but if I went anywhere near an Orthopaedic surgeon in this country he would just tell me to lose weight! The ginger and turmeric thing I will definately try!
I have walked 2.5 miles today at a brisk pace and my knees are great just a bit stiff. I am hoping that the more weight I lose the happier they will become but thast hasn't fully worked yet.....long way to go!
Have a good day!
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:11 AM   #6
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I just thought of something else. You probably know this, but are you icing your knees after exercise? After my surgery, the physical therapist told me to ice my knees after PT, even if they felt fine.

If you're squeamish about acupunturing yourself, do you have ancupunturist friend you can trade with?
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Old 07-04-2012, 07:34 PM   #7
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I've got arthritis in my knees and recently started taking a supplement called "Curamin" which is made of curcumin, from the spice Turmeric. It helps a LOT. Perhaps you could try that? It's not an NSAID and so far as I know it doesn't have side effects. A few months back my arthritis was so bad I could barely walk, now I'm back to hiking in the mountains.
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Old 07-06-2012, 04:38 AM   #8
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I have never heard of that ....it sounds promising, thank you so much!
It is really bad today and I have sciatica as I always do heading for the TOM so all in all I am a bit of a wreck!
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:46 AM   #9
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I also had to give up nsaids because they were contributing (if not causing) my asthma and other respiratory health issues (I was diagnosed with copd, and an autoimmune disease attacking my respiratory tract among other things).

I didn't realize my NSAIDs were to blame until I had go without my prescription NSAIDs for about a week, and didn't even have the money for even otc advil. Literally, overnight I had a dramatic improvement in all of my respiratory issues. It was so dramatic, it almost felt like a cure for the asthma.

When I told my doctor, he said it wasn't uncommon for NSAIDs to cause or worsen asthma (however he didn't explain why doctors over the years, including he had just prescribed higher and higher doses of asthma meds rather than consider suggesting a drug holiday from nsaids).

My asthma virtually disappeared (I'm off all asthma meds except an albuterol inhaler, and I use that on average once a year).

Unfortunately my joint pain was pretty bad. At least I had tramadol and tylenol for my fibromyalgia, but it didn't help the joint pain very much.

Then I read a study that found high doses of fish oil allowing arthritis patients to reduce and/or discontinue their pain meds, so with my doctor's permission I started taking 1000 mg three times daily (now I take 2000 mg in the morning and at bedtime).

I think the fish oil in the long run, has helped the arthritis (along with a moderately low-carb, mostly paleo diet) more than the NSAIDs ever did.

I discovered paleo eating only recently, but I'm impressed with it's results as well. Eating wheat or larger amounts of other grains and/or other high-carb foods (even wholefood good carbs - it just takes a much higher dose), triggers symptom flares (not just of the asthma, but of my multiple health issues).

If for some reason you don't want to try fish oil, there are other Omega 3 supplements that might work (including one from flaxseed, so there's a veg*n option).


Before changeing your diet or adding any kind of supplement, talk to your doctor, of course - but I was amazed at the difference the difference in both pain, stiffness, and respiratory issues.
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:59 AM   #10
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I have some pretty bad knee issues but for exercise my doctor recommended I hit the exercise bicycle. He said even if my knee hurt it wouldn't be doing any damage. I know everyone is different and that your issue is arthritis vs. mine which is an injured/torn meniscus. However because of the low impact, an exercise bike might be what you need. Btw mine is a recumbent bike so it doesn't affect my back (I have some back issues as well).
Good luck and keep fighting back.
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Old 07-07-2012, 06:04 AM   #11
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Thankyou so much for all your info guys. I have googled curamin and it is available at Holland and Barrett at a very competitive price!
I currently have a nasty allergic reaction to the HUGE does of flucloxacillin I was taking for the awful horsefly bite so I am going to wait until that subsides before adding in something else.
Kaplods I really think I need to stop the NSAIDS you are right when I didn't take them for a few days my asthma was so much better. What is a paleo diet?
Had a couple of rubbish days been feeling down and lonely...typical TOM stuff but perked up today. It doesn't help that my face is swollen and itchy from the allergic reaction!
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Old 07-07-2012, 07:24 AM   #12
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Paleo's the caveman diet, basically. No grains, nothing processed. Lots of big lumps of meat.

I recall reading something about curamin, I think in my Bad Science book. I'll have a flick through it later and try to find it, because I can't remember whether the verdict was good or bad.
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:51 AM   #13
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cheers brid.....so what's the verdict?
I am taking glucosamine and chondroitin which is supposed to help but it takes 3 months or so.
Hang Loose
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Old 07-09-2012, 06:09 AM   #14
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Got distracted by Wimbledon and forgot to look. Just a sec...

Ah, here we are. Turns out it was talking about the stuff in relation to cancer, in the chapter about the media reporting things in totally stupid and misleading ways. '"Recent research" has shown that turmeric is "highly protective against many forms of cancer, especially of the prostate"', it says, then goes on to discuss why that claim is totally unproven, and mentions you'd need to eat 100g of turmeric to get a significant detectable level of curcumin in you.

So, no mention of whether it's good for arthritis or not. No idea whether trials have been conducted on humans or just on animals or petri dishes either. But there's a **** of a lot to be said for the placebo effect even if the stuff itself isn't having an effect, so it's worth giving it a try. The book also notes that curcumin is "highly biologically active, in all kinds of different ways, on all kinds of different systems (there are also theoretical grounds for believing that it may be carcinogenic, mind you). It's certainly a valid target for research."

I can do some poking around online and see what I can find about it in relation to arthritis, if you like.

EDIT: from wikipedia, I'll chase up the references later.

"Although many preclinical studies suggest curcumin may be useful for the prevention and treatment of several diseases, the effectiveness of curcumin has not yet been demonstrated in randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials.[8]
A daily dose of 2 grams of Curcuma domestica extract was found to provide pain relief that was equivalent to ibuprofen for the relief of pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.[9] An extensive survey of the literature shows a number of other potential uses and that daily doses over a 3 month period of up to 12 grams proved safe.[10] Commercial capsules of curcumin contain piperine, a compound found in pepper which aids absorption of curcumin into the blood stream. However, as curcuma is known to inhibit blood clotting, it should be avoided for a two week period prior to major surgery and not used in conjunction with blood thinners such as warfarin and Plavix. It is also known to aggravate gallstone problems."
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Old 07-09-2012, 06:52 AM   #15
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Think I will give the paleo diet a miss.....it sounds a bit like atkins!
Thanks for the info Brid.
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