PASS THE JOINT…HEALTH
I was over at my Mom’s house for dinner on Sunday.
After dinner and dishes were done, we went outside to take her two dachshunds, Paco and Rosa, out for their nightly walk. They do their business, (like they do), and my mom starts talking to the dogs, in that VERY SPECIFIC excited way that adult humans who love their dogs talk to the dogs they love.
You know what I’m talking about right? That voice? It’s hard to capture with the written word, but you must’ve heard it, or perhaps it’s even come out of your own mouth.
Not baby talk– but dog talk.
As a card-carrying member of Dog-lovers United, I too, have a voice. Even though I don’t have a dog of my own…yet. The voice still bubbles out whenever I see a wagging tail. I can’t help it!
I could be talking about something as serious as a heartbreak or a credit score, and if I meet a dog– something inside forces me to stop, give their head a pat and tell them how good they are in a high-pitched, kinda squishy, kinda googly voice that never comes out at any other time.
It’s embarrassing– but again, I CAN’T HELP IT.
Anyways… my mom breaks out her dog voice and she goes:
“Okay guys. Good job! Lets go inside and get our glucosamines! Who wants their glucosamines?!”
The dogs ears perk up. They start jumping around excited. The same way another dog might know the word “treat” or “walk”. These dachshunds know the word “glucosamine”.
I have to laugh. It’s like getting caught inside a private moment that you aren’t really supposed to be in.
Or if you’ve ever been around when a couple start speaking to each other in that shorthand couple-speak? When you know that’s how they talk to each other when no one else is around?
I go to my mom, “That’s hilarious. They know the word glucosamine?”
And she laughs. “Yeah. It’s become their nightly treat. Thanks goodness they love em. I give them pills because dachshunds have such a long back, and short legs. Going up and down stairs and the couch is hard on them. The older they get, the more the joints hurt.”
I nod my head. Seems smart to me. And what a good idea that Mom has made taking that pill seem like treat time for the dogs. But I still had to chuckle. Something that used to be only for elite athletes and the elderly are now as universal and ubiquitous as a dog supplement.
God bless the Internet.
* * *
Working out at Solcana, and being around people that lift weights for fun, I am no stranger to the occasional glucosamine talk. Fish oils, etc. There is always a cloud of supplement talk that I can easily walk into. I don’t mind though. It’s one of the weird side-effects of getting to know my body better.
The more I learn and appreciate how my body works, the more I want to keep it running smoothly, ya know? It’s like, if I’m putting all the work in, I want it to count in the long haul!
In fact, I’ve probably talked about joints and joint health more than I ever thought I would. Because suddenly, that shit’s important to me. And I can’t believe this is my reality… because it’s just so real.
As someone who would rather be waxing philosophic about lofty or whimsical ideas, and has more than once found herself in a discussion about if Time is linear or cyclic, I’m always tickled when I find I care about something as mundane as JOINT HEALTH.
But here we are.
And just like Time, (capital T) I can be many things happening simultaneously. I can be the girl most likely to keep you out past your bedtime, AND the woman that you can talk about glucosamine supplements with. Those two realities can exist in one body. And surprisingly, they now do.
If you’ve been following along with this blog you might recall my dance with wrist tendonitis, or the small amount of back pain that I had to work through a while ago.
Thankfully, my back corrected itself pretty quickly with the help of Coach Hannah’s specialized back-helping workout. (The secret to making your back strong is to make your butt stronger!!!)
But my wrist and I are still working out the conditions of our tedious and tenuous living arrangement. It’s as fickle and hard to predict as the weather. And I hate it. I’ve done Physical Therapy and everything you could think of. This is just where we’re at.
* * *
So, the next day, I go out to brunch with my Dad. We’re catching up and having a good time, and my Dad goes, “After this, I’m going to swing by the health food store and get some CBD oil.”
He pauses and looks at me.
“CBD oil? Is that like marijuana?” I ask.
He says, “Well, it’s made from the hemp plant, but it’s not marijuana. They take all the “getting high” THC parts out of it. It’s supposed to help with pain. And there all these studies that it might be used in place of opioids and whatnot.”
I nod my head. I recall what he’s talking about. I think I was talking about this with a friend. I go, “That’s cool. Let me know how it works. I know lots of people that use it. And a few that swear by it. It’s also been known to help with anxiety, I think.”
He answers, “I read that too!”
I say, “Do you have chronic pain?”
He answers honestly. “My joints sometimes. Somedays are worse than others.”
There’s the joint talk again! Here we are in between bites of egg scramble, talking about music, and the subject of joint health sneaks it’s way in. Two days in a row now.
As an improvisor, I am trained to look for patterns in things. I have become so good at this, that I’m like Liam Neeson, and I count it as one of my “very particular set of skills”.
In improv it’s often referred to as the “game of the scene”. And once you improvise long enough, you can’t help but seek and identify patterns in your “real life” as well.
Now I’m thinking, two discussions about joint health in as many days?
“Am I doing enough to take care of my own joints?”
Should I be taking CBD? Should I treat myself nightly to Glucosamine like my mom’s pampered pooches? I go home straight away after my lunch with Pop, bop on the internet and research joint health.
After about 5 articles from reputable sources, I’m finding a common theme. Nutrition is the first thing. Getting my Omega oils and good fats in foods is key to keeping the joints well-lubricated.
Second is the supplements. Everyone say it with me in their best dog voice: “Who wants their glucosamines?”
And third, and perhaps the most promising, is simple: MUSCLE.
Article after article, and even a few medical journals (you’re welcome research babies) said that the more muscle I have surrounding my joints, the healthier, stronger, and more functional my joints will be.
One article also suggested that muscle surrounding the joint will help you recover quickly and more completely, if and when you happen to injure the joint. And you are less likely to injure the joint at all if you have more muscle.
Some research went on to say, that we should take caution to build the muscle slowly. And focus on proper technique. Because trying to do too much too soon, can cause more harm to the joints than good. But ultimately, the more muscle the better.
I’m making a mental checklist. Check. And check!
And I have to acknowledge that in my own body. Just all around. The more muscle the better. Not just for my joints, but for my self-esteem, feeling of mastery, basic functional fitness. You name it!
MO’ MUSCLE LESS PROBLEMS.
I would be lying if I didn’t slide back in my chair and put my arms behind my head and smile like a CEO in a 80’s movie. I was feeling awfully self-satisfied and smug after reading about this.
BECAUSE IT’S SO SIMPLE THAT IT JUST MIGHT WORK.
Don’t worry, I almost fell out of my chair very soon after this “cool” move, so any smugness has been dashed, and I am back to reality. But hey! It’s still good news!
I am excited that for ONCE, I am standing squarely in a the forefront of a joint health revolution. I’ve never been first with anything having to do with my body! (Except for that Pee Wee Herman dance-off to the song “Tequila” that I won in grade school… but nothing else I swear.)
I think it’s important for me to continue to investigate my nutrition and always start there. And the more I practice, the easier it gets. What can I be doing to get more of those good fats in?
It’s also great to know that wonderful aids like glucosamine and CBD oil are out there to support my joints even more, and help manage any associated pain.
But I find the greatest comfort knowing that if I keep doing what I’m doing, keep lifting weights, I’m already helping my joints and my longevity enormously.
What a coup!
The best part is, lifting weights and building muscle isn’t just for “that type of person” anymore. It’s for everyone. Anyone can do it at ANY age. Any gender. Any skill level.
And now I know, my joints will thank me for it.