Well a while back i posted on arthritis and my experience in trying to get to see a specialist with regards to a knee injury i have. Saw the doc the other day and was rather shocked but also disappointed.
Shocked in that i came away with a feeling of despair at the realization that how we might think in our heads and feel with regards to age is not necessary what is going on with the body.
Disappointed with the modern doctor and medicine. Its back to the old adage in my opinion, "follow the money" and "cover my ass" .
I am not looking for miracles or quick fix cures but I do expect to get more than 5 minutes of input from a person who is most definitely a specialist in the field.
The options offered to deal with my knee were surgery in the form of another scoping and removal of any debris, but with clear understanding not to expect any major improvement and then the fact that my knee wont be more than 5 years to a knee replacement operation.
Well fortunately for good or bad when i was a youngster i had a motorcycle accident and consequential time in hospital that got me past the stage of "doctors are gods to be believed at all costs" as used to be the case in the days of old. I learnt then that like car mechanics there are good ones and not so good ones. Like mechanics there are those that can keep an old car going with prudent work in key areas and others that well you know swop out parts to find the problem. My "top" specialist back then was only interested in his 85 ton fishing boat waiting for him 600Km away in the harbor and his different color mercedes that he rode to work each day of the week.
So after sucking it up and getting over the body ageing thing i resorted to the only way i know. Read and do your own research and homework.
What i found startling is the difference in the approach of a Dr. whose book i posted about a few weeks ago.
and the guy i saw this past week working within our health care system.
One would have thought a more excercise, weight loss, diet and supplement approach would have been a primary approach in a public funded health care system due to cost savings. But that is not the case. Anyhow i dont want to go there.
This is all background to my heading. Being able to enjoy woodworking as you age.
So i got further into the book this Dr Vad has published and forgive my sounding ignorant in the highest order, but it had never occurred to me to research just how bad weight affects joints. Yeah yeah yeah we all know that. Its logical common sense right. But the issue is just how badly does it affect things.
So it was not until he talks about the pressures of force exerted on the joint and put numbers to it that something triggered and went off in my brain.
An example quoting from his book sites a hip joint force. Say you 30 pounds overweight, (I am more than that on the BMI basis way more) then the hip joint is experiencing 120 pounds per square inch of extra force. So if one were to loose only 10 pounds of this 30 pounds the change in force is 40 pounds per square inch. Thats a 400% return on effort.
The thing is one has a choice. Woodworking in most of its forms involves mechanical movement. Its no fun trying to concentrate on what you doing (and lets face it concentration is a key element of woodworking), (given we have tools in our hands 90% of which are dangerous) if you are having a nagging pain originate from your knees or any other part of your body for that matter while trying to work.
Sure we can take the OTC's that relieve this pain, but as the doc i saw this past week said that will affect the kidneys in the long run and then you have other issues maybe even more serious.
So if ever there was an incentive to loose weight and get a better understanding of nutrition as it affects arthritis its considering how you going to go forward with woodworking as you get way older.
My Dad (recently passed at 96) only had a knee replacement op at 70 and that would have been 26 years ago and the technology has come a long way since then. But now it seems the docs who get paid more for a knee op than a few instructional words have the inclination to want to swop out parts sooner than have you consider changing other aspects which would do more to improve overall health which would have even a far greater spin off.
The other shocker that this book had for me, and i am still working my way through it. (its easy reading, but one wants to absorb and think about the passages) is the information he provides in nutrition section about food servings, specific vegetables and their ingredients and effects and then supplements.
I never really gave consideration to portions. By that i mean i grew up with being taught to finish my plate because you never know when you going to eat again. That was family logic handed down from Grandpa to Father to son.
Second we got a "plate of food" at dinner time. Portions were and have always been such that the plate is full. A standardized dinner plate being standard portion.
But as life has changed never mind age, simply the work i did when i started working up to today when work involves more sitting the portions have remained the same. Perhaps even increased.
Always been a meat and taties guy adapted over ages to more veg (fresh veg) and always ate fruit, loved fish but now when one scrapes a further few layers off the subject one finds that never mind how lean your red meat is, the red meat and arthritis do not work together. And i have actually experienced this with the consequence that I have found a natural avoidance occurring to red meat. Never ever thought i would not look forward to a steak.
The book goes on to cover the pros and cons of all sorts of veg which i actually like, and their individual pro an con.
A interesting fact that about fish as well is that its not just any fish which is the recommended fish type, preferably fatty cold water fish like Salmon, Herring, tuna, anchovies, bluefish, sardines.
I also got a shock to find just how "overweight" I am according to a BMI index. Even if there is a 20 or more percent error in the table I am obese period. I see this in similar vein to being an alcoholic. If you unwilling to acknowledge it, you never going to do anything about it.
But the area that has me most concerned is the supplement aspect. Simple reason for me once again is "follow the money trail" and where money is involved well who knows.
The other aspect is I gained insight into the whole pharmaceutical and nutraceutical manufacturing world during work for a past client. Insight i wish i had never come across but now cannot ignore and that is that nutraceuticals are not FDA regulated. So what goes into the supplement in terms of ingredients and how its manufactured etc is a mystery. Where in the pharma industry the best practices involve standards like GMP its not applied to the nutraceutical industry.
So does anyone have advice/ information/ research whatever to offer with regards to how to make a good choice on supplements. I am always weary of a industry that watches over itself.
So my battle plan is to take on the approach of this book, taking to heart each of the multi pronged strategies to tackle relieving the knee pain and tough it out rather than any more digging around inside. One things for certain if i dont the consequence is going to be way less activities of any kind as i get older.
Amazing how humans have come up with all sorts of inventions but we have yet to cure the common cold or prevent arthritis or many other "money making" ailments other than provide "relief" often at a cost in terms other than money.
I hope this provides some food for thought for those of you battling with arthritis. I dont even have it as bad as i have seen others have it so consider myself lucky. But i dont wish to give up my tools at this young age. Heck i only just getting started.