Last week, I started taking an in-depth look at pain and pain relief. And I told you — in gory detail — about why NSAIDs are probably the WORST way to handle it. Natural pain relievers are certainly safer. But, as I mentioned on Friday, they’re often hit or miss in terms of real relief.
So today, let’s talk about something that does work.
Results of a study published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association showed obese and overweight adults with knee osteoarthritis can significantly reduce knee pain and boost function.
All they have to do is lose weight.
According to this study, the benefits of weight loss are dose-dependent. Which means that the greatest payoff came to people who lost at least 10 percent of their body weight. Compared to those who lost less, these subjects had a significant edge when it came to pain, function, joint loads, and inflammation.
As usual, combining diet and exercise was more effective than using either strategy alone.
All subjects enjoyed pain reductions in the first six months. But in the long run, patients who engaged in both diet and exercise showed less inflammation, less pain, more function and mobility, and better overall quality of life.
By 18 months into the study, the diet-and-exercise group cut their knee pain by 50 percent. That’s right…in half.
It’s an impressive turnaround, to say the least. Especially since, according to one of the study’s authors, “intensive weight loss of at least 10 percent of body weight is possible and safe in this population.”
I had to laugh when I read that. What is this clown talking about? First of all, assuming you’re using reasonable methods to shed those pounds, when is losing excess weight ever not safe?
Secondly, let’s take a closer look at these numbers. Ten percent of a 200-pound person’s body weight is just 20 pounds. For a 300-pound person, it’s just 30 pounds. And we’re talking a mere 15 pounds for a 150-pound person.
From a clinical perspective, this illustrates an important point — which is that even minor changes to your weight can make a major difference to the quality of your life.
But beyond that? I see absolutely no benefit in setting the bar that low.
I don’t want you to settle for a few measly pounds. I want you to pull out all the stops and gift yourself with the healthiest, fittest body you’ve ever had it your life. Because you know what? You deserve to have it.
So when I hear so-called health “experts” recommending the bare minimum, especially in a study that is espousing weight loss, I can only shake my head. Is it any wonder why obesity and metabolic syndrome have reached epidemic proportions in this country?
But I digress.
The important message here is that millions of Americans suffer with arthritis pain. In fact, it’s the No. 1 cause of disability in this country. And most of them take dangerous drugs to deal with it, when the real answer to their problem could be much simpler.
In fact, I just came across some groundbreaking new research that gets directly to the heart of the weight/arthritis issue. These new findings finally connect the dots on 20 years of research on the relationship between fat, inflammation, and arthritis. And the results will turn the way natural medicine approaches pain relief on its ear. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.
“Effects of intensive diet and exercise on knee joint loads, inflammation, and clinical outcomes among overweight and obese adults with knee osteoarthritis: the IDEA randomized clinical trial.” JAMA. 2013 Sep 25;310(12):1263-73.