Sunday, July 09, 2006
Of rain and pain and aging knees
What is with this weather? It's more like springtime in the Northeast than July in Denver out there. Whether or not it's appropriate to Colorado, it's cold and damp here, and hell on old joints. I've just checked; researchers have looked for a correlation between osteoarthritis and weather-related pain, and the results are mixed. They did not, however, ask me. I tossed and turned most of the stormy night with knees and back complaining.
I thought about getting up and taking a glucosamine plus chondroitin tablet. I chose to stay in bed instead, and a recent issue of The New England Journal of Medicine suggests I made the right choice.
Investigators in Utah and elsewhere studied a large group of arthritis victims to see if glucosamine hydrochloride (note most supplements are glucosamine sulfate) and/or chondroitin sulfate improved pain compared with Celebrex or nothing at all. The answer was 'no,' the supplements did not decrease pain scores.
Other research suggests, on the other hand, that getting up and taking an Actonel might've been a better choice. Postmenopausal women on this drug or Fosamax for osteoporosis not only had a good response to the medications with respect to less bone breakdown, they also reduced their levels of cartilage breakdown products, suggesting that these agents save cartilage as well as bone.