Letter from The Publisher
Healthy, flexible, pain-free knees, hips and backs are all part of what keeps us active, moving and functional every day. But weekend sports, a desk job, sedentary lifestyles, injury, the aging process, chronic conditions and even an accidental misstep can bring on pain and cause us to lose flexibility and mobility.
This month, we focus on keeping our joints healthy throughout life with exercise, diet, preventive care and a variety of modalities and methods. Suzzanne—our graphic designer—and I were discussing her efforts to improve her knee health, and she generously offered to share her story with us.
Hi! I’m Suzzanne—I battle two big joint problems: my right knee and my left knee. The right knee was injured during my senior year of high school during a volleyball tournament (there went that scholarship), tearing tendons and my meniscus. The story of my left knee is much less epic: I hyperextended it and tore both my ACL and the meniscus while standing on a ladder doing hurricane prep to my Florida home. Both knees have had arthroscopic surgery, but needless to say, I live with a great deal of pain and inflammation. Two different surgeons have recommended knee replacements, but I am determined not to do it.
So, to avoid surgery, I’ve decided the best route for me is a holistic approach to control the inflammation and arthritis that’s developed. Inflammation is the real problem, but luckily, can be controlled through a better diet and daily supplements of omega-3’s and glucosamine-chondroiton. I’m also trying golden milk, which contains turmeric, another natural means of reducing inflammation. I try to avoid foods that cause swelling such as processed meats, vegetable oil (I only use olive oil) and anything with food additives. Dairy and red meat are also big culprits, but I am hopelessly addicted to half-and-half in my morning coffee and that occasional rib-eye. Hey—I already had to give up a promising volleyball career! My family physician, who takes a holistic approach to her practice, recommended an ayurvedic treatment of rubbing warm sesame oil into both knees, which has really worked for me!
Losing weight also helps tremendously, and since sports and running are totally out of the question for me, I’ve had to find other forms of exercise. Swimming, yoga and bicycling are terrific, and my knees don’t rebel against them. Yoga is the easiest for me since I can do it in the living room. This at least keeps my knees flexible and my two German Shepherds have come to appreciate the fine art of “doga”.
I’m sure that anyone who’s dealt with any kind of major joint injury/problem can relate to my story. It’s often quite difficult to join in the fun when your friends invite you to go skiing or to a charity fun run, but there are still many fun, physical things you can do, as long as you do them within your personal limits and maintain the fight against inflammation.
I can’t close this letter without mentioning that it’s still late summer, and I’m looking
forward to a few more weeks of warmer weather. As we transition from summer to fall, try to take some time each day to observe the subtle changes. Take a simple breath to rebalance and notice the colors, the sounds, the birds and animals, and the plants around you, no matter whether you live in the heart of the city, in the suburbs or in a rural area. It’s these moments of awareness and attention that lead to bigger shifts in our lives.
Savor summer’s lingering moments, because it’s still gorgeous here in Chicago. Get out there and enjoy!