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Joint stuff - Input Junkie
May 12th, 2009
07:21 am


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Joint stuff
First off, it turns out that I'd been misinforming people about nightshades. There's some evidence (less than I'd thought) that not eating nightshades can help a lot with arthritis. However, potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants are nightshades. Contrary to what I'd been saying peppers (hot and sweet) are not nightshades. They do (unless I'm wrong again) have the alkaloids which might make arthritis worse, but less of them.

Tomorrow night (May 14), Global Teleclasses is offering a free class about Secret of Injury & Pain-Free Intelligent Performance: Joint Mobility from Scott Sonnen. I'd done some stuff from his books and liked it enough to consider the class worth trying.

I have some personal experience with joint issues, but not much as such things go. I get some flack from my knees, probably as a result of medium-sized injuries. Glucosamine has helped (I couldn't tell a difference between chondroitin and sulfate). The Five Tibetan Rites, a sort of cross between yoga and calesthenics, have done them a lot of good. I needed <a href="http://www.amazon.com/10-Minute-Rejuvenation-Plan-Revolutionary-Exercise/dp/0307347176>The 10-Minute Rejuvenation Plan: T5T: The Revolutionary Exercise Program That Restores Your Body and Mind</a> to learn them properly. After I'd been doing them a while, I noticed that the muscles around my knees felt stronger, and going down stairs became generally not a problem. Recently, I'd been getting pain from a joint in my left index finger. I've never injured it and I don't overuse it. I've found that moderate amounts of gentle movement (using my right hand to move the joint a bunch of times) has cleared up the problem. I'm not saying that all arthritis can be cured with alternative methods, but there's a lot of cheap safe stuff that can be worth a try.

(5 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:May 12th, 2009 04:10 pm (UTC)
Once you have osteoarthritis (or RA, or any of the other 10 jillion inflammatory joint disorders) you aren't going to make it vanish; but some treatments will help arrest the progress or limit loss of function. My orthopod, a sports medicine guy, is a fanatic about PT and exercise. We were talking knees, and he explained that (especially among women) loose ligaments were a leading cause of wear and tear (resulting eventually in OA, more often than not) so that exercises that strengthened to leg muscles and kept the knees in place better, did far more to make things batter than anything else, and that this applied to a lot of other joints as well. In other cases, exercise might not stop progrssion, but it was essential to maintain mobility, which was often limited by muscle tightening and so forth long before the joint damage reached the point of limiting movement, and that a lot of the pain people complained of was tight and shortened muscles. He preferred anti-inflammatories, since they did in fact help limit the process, as well as helping soft tissue heal, over mere painkillers--he also noted that painkillers alone often caused more problems, as pain helped keep you from overdoing, and also was an encouragement to work on the exercises "If it feels better when you do the exercises than it does when you let them slide, you'll stick with the exercises," was his take. Based on that expert opinion, I'd say your instincts and thoughts here are totally on target. Of course, RA and the inflammatories (gouty arthritis, lupus-related arthritis, and so on) are a weird bunch of diseases, and need special treatment, but he felt that exercise/PT was at least as important there.
[User Picture]
Date:May 12th, 2009 08:29 pm (UTC)
Contrary to what I'd been saying peppers (hot and sweet) are not nightshades.

Say what? Peppers are genus Capsicum, which is in the family Solanaceae. Tomatoes, eggplant/aubergines, potatoes, and tobacco are all other genera within this family. The UK Matural History Museum has a website about this family of plants.
[User Picture]
Date:May 13th, 2009 04:08 am (UTC)
I've found that minor joint and tendon problems can be cleared up by exercising the body part involved to strengthen the muscles surrounding/supporting the affected area. The only problem with this is remembering to do it systematically enough to get results. :-)
[User Picture]
Date:May 13th, 2009 03:09 pm (UTC)
dr z is correct; peppers -are- nightshades.


Hmm. The confusion may be that eggplant, tomato, and potato are all Solanum of the Solanacae family, whereas belladona is Atropa of the Solanacae family, and peppers are, of course, capsicum of the Solanacae family.
Date:May 31st, 2009 03:12 pm (UTC)
I'd suggest that there's a Basic Problem with using the word "nightshades". I think it's a common name, without precise scientific standing, usually used to cover all (or maybe just most) of the family _Solanaceae_. I confess to having forgotten the details of the botanical taxonomy key, but seem to remember that it's based on certain physical details of the plant structure -- mostly the (down to a microscopic level) construction of the flowers. This (arbitrary) classification system doesn't take into account the plant's production of specific chemicals, and though members of this family do tend to produce somewhat-related alkaloids, not all of them do, or present detectable amounts of them in all parts of the plant, and I don't think there have been any broad studies on what effect most of these chemicals have on inflammatory joint disorders (which seem to be "imperfectly understood" [to use the Technical Term for "I haven't the foggiest idea"] by most M.D.s).

So there doesn't seem to be any good/scientific reason for eliminating a broad swath of foodstuffs from the diet in order to try to control arthritis.

That said (including the "seem"), if you feel better -- or even think you do -- when you don't eat either a specific plant or some category of plants, there's probably no reason why you shouldn't avoid eating them.

Note: My osteoarthritis seems to have gone into remission and remained there for more than a decade, since I was about 70. If I had even the faintest suspicion of what cased this or could be associated with it, I'd share the details with you (and everyone). As far as I can ascertain, however, my dietary patterns hadn't changed significantly, so _for me_ that doesn't seem to have been a factor. For whatever it might be worth: Last year I grew, and ate, a plethora of tomatoes (generally considered one of the "nightshades"), and the only effect that had was to (briefly) cause me to not want to eat any more of them.

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