Psst! Do you want a tip on how to make millions of dollars? Buy a company that sells painkillers.
Why? Because the boomer generation is starting to hurt more with each passing year. And they expect effective relief from the agony of arthritis. What boomers want, they expect to get.
But how successful will they be?
Several years ago, Dr. Nicholas Di Nubile, a Philadelphia orthopedic surgeon, added a new word to the English language, “Boomeritis.” He said boomers were the first generation to become obsessed by exercise, and they are paying the price by becoming banged-up boomers.
Today, there are 76 million boomers in the U.S and six million in Canada. By pushing their bodies too hard, they’ve developed bursitis, tendinitis, arthritic hips and knees, and a host of other traumatic problems.
The generation following the boomers could benefit from a lesson from them, and from Aristotle, who, centuries ago, preached the value of moderation.
But by keeping a stiff upper lip when intense exercise starts to hurt, today’s determined health fanatics are on the road to eventual pain. I’ve yet to see a happy-looking jogger. And the bandaged knee, elbow or wrist has become, for the boomer, a badge of honour.
So where will joggers and other banged-up baby boomers find relief? For some of their degenerative joints, deterioration has progressed so far that the only hope is a joint replacement. Other boomers may, with luck, ease the pain and reverse joint damage by lesser measures and more modest activity.
During an interview with Dr. Julian Whitaker, a California expert on natural remedies, he stressed the aim is to restore damaged cartilage. He says that boomers should take 2,500 milligrams of vitamin C daily, which slows the development of osteoarthritis and eases pain.
Vitamin C is needed to produce collagen, the major component of cartilage. Vitamin D3 400 international units (IU), beta-carotene 15,000 IU and natural vitamin E 800 IU are also helpful.
Whitaker adds that 1,500 mg of glucosamine daily in divided doses, along with chondroitin sulfate, helps to build new cartilage. Chondroitin sulfate, like glucosamine, is abundant in cartilage. It works by holding onto water, which gives cartilage its cushioning effect and also inhibits enzymes that break down cartilage.
The Whitaker Wellness Centre also uses a combination of acupuncture, chiropractic procedures and magnets to ease the pain of arthritis. In addition, a number of herbs are used such as tumeric, which promotes strong anti-inflammatory activity, along with ginger, the common cooking spice, and several other herbs.
A procedure called viscosupplementation is useful for some patients. Our joints contain synovial fluid to cushion the impact between bones. As we age, this fluid is weakened but an injection of synovial-like fluid can ease pain for up to six months.
What about rub-on ointments to ease pain? One cream with a mile-long name — “Preferred Nutrition Celadrin Joint Care Relief Cream” — is an effective, natural anti-inflammatory compound, a mix of esterified cetylated fatty acids, derived from bovine tallow oil. It works by adding oil to the cell membranes, restoring fluids and improving joint flexibility. In addition, fatty acid esters are combined with natural menthol to provide relief of pain in the joints and surrounding muscles.
What about the science behind Celadrin? A double blind study at the University of Connecticut evaluated the effect of Celadrin cream 30 minutes after it was applied. This revealed decreased pain within 10 minutes. Additional studies were done 30 days later after the cream had been used twice a day. This showed decreased pain and stiffness, better mobility, strength and balance.
Studies also show that Celadrin works similar to, but much more dramatically than, the essential fatty acids EPA and HDA derived from fish oils.
The suggested dosage is applied to the affected area three to four times a day. But the cream should not be applied to wounds or damaged skin.
Lastly, don’t neglect to fight obesity. If you weigh 150 pounds, the pressure on the joints increases to 450 pounds on movement. When going down stairs, it reaches 900 pounds.
Weight loss can also help to preserve the joint function of banged-up baby boomers.
» Dr. Gifford-Jones is a graduate of The University of Toronto and The Harvard Medical School. He took post-graduate training in surgery at the Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, McGill University in Montreal and Harvard. During his medical training he has been a family doctor, hotel doctor and ship’s surgeon. His medical column is published by 70 Canadian newspapers, several in the U.S. and the Epoch Times which has editions in a number of European countries.