It’s been 5 months since I was first diagnosed with arthritis in my hip. I’d been suffering from stiffness and some pain for at least a year but hadn’t given it much thought – it was an inconvenience more than anything else. But as I was planning to sign up for another major Nat Geo trip in 2017, I thought I had better get this looked at since these trips entail lots of walking.
- More than 50 million Americans have arthritis – including 300,000 children.
- It is the No. 1 cause of disability in the country.
- Each year, $156 billion are lost in lost wages and medical expenses and 172 million lost work days.
- By the year 2030, an estimated 67 million, or 25% of adults, will have arthritis.
So here are the 5 MOST IMPORTANT things that worked for me:
1. PHYSICAL THERAPIST
Went to a great physical therapist (Wing at Promobility) – about 20 visits – she provided a combination of exercises, massage and sonar treatments. These visits took the edge off the excessive, sharp pain. She also gave me 14 exercises to do (I mix it up, 7 per day). And, she’s a great sport since she let me snapchat her with doggie filter (pic upper right).
2. DAILY EXERCISE ROUTINE
Wing recommended that my daily 1-hour exercise routine focus on, in this order: cardio, strength building, and then the specific exercises for arthritis i.e. lots of stretches and loosening up muscles using the foam roller (I even bought one to have at home). I’ve always gone to the gym daily but now am totally zoned in on these 3 facets of my workout routine. And the improvement has been REMARKABLE!!! I cannot begin to tell you how fabulous it is to be able to once again, easily run up and down stairs. And a big shoutout to my gym, the Chinatown YMCA. LOVE going there, such a welcoming place with great staff and an amazingly diverse array of people.
3. DOCTOR DIAGNOSIS WITH FULL X-RAYS
When my recovery at physical therapy plateaued, Wing suggested I visit a doctor. I ended up at NYU Langone’s Hip Center for full X-Rays and consultation. It was such a relieve to see a hip specialist to get a full diagnosis and to hear that as long as I keep up the exercise routine and maintain a good body weight, I was good to go.
4. LOSE WEIGHT
The doctor’s visit and X-Rays confirmed that the cartilage in my left hip was badly depleted but since I have only minor discomfit from it now, he advised I keep doing the exercises and lose weight (20lbs!!). He made a point of telling me that every pound has 4X the impact on an injured hip or knee. I’ve lost 5 lbs (instead of the 15 I was hoping) but obviously that poundage means that stress on my hip is 20lbs less than before. And I am still intent on losing the balance of the weight.
5. COSAMIN DS FOR JOINT HEALTH
The doctor also recommended that I try Cosamin DS (a very expensive over-the-counter glucosamine). He mentioned that 60% of his patients feel better after taking it daily for a few months. I don’t know how much of my improvement is due to Cosamin vs. exercising and losing weight but I am at least 90% better. For me, this mixture of treatments is working. Also, I am now ordering Cosamin on walmart.com and it is half the price.
Here’s more info on Cosamin’s chief ingredient:
Glucosamine is sugar protein that helps your body build cartilage (the hard connective tissue located mainly on the bones near your joints).