Joints are Organs Too
Joints are joints yes, but they are organs too.
A structure in the human or animal body at which two parts of the skeleton are fitted together.
A part of an organism that is typically self-contained and has a specific vital function, such as the heart or liver in humans.
A joint is self-contained systems that serve a specific, vital function … MOVEMENT!
Once we remember that our joints are more than just inanimate, sometimes rusty, hinges – they live, breathe and feed – we can focus on giving them what they need to be health.
What Joints Need Most
To stay healthy, joints need Movement and Compression. They need to do what they were made to do. MOVE.
Just like lungs loose their capacity if you don’t use them, joints loose their ability to move thought a full range or motion or to absorb shock if we don’t challenge them appropriately as we age.
Modern life rarely asks us to squat down deeper than a toilet seat or reach for heavy things above our heads. Many people have begun to lose this ability by 50.
Joint/Organ 2 minute Crash Course.
knowledge is power
Hips, Knees, Ankles, vertebrate, shoulders are Synovial Joints.
Synovial joints contains thick, viscous, synovial fluid (pink in the diagram) in a self-contained sack that surrounds the bones (orange in the diagram).
The synovial fluid in this sack is textured a bit like an egg, it keeps joints healthy by:
- reducing friction
- absorbing shock
Synovial fluid has the rare ability to get thicker and gooey under increased pressure! This odd properly helps protect the joint against the wear and tear of friction (Hlavacek et al 2001).
Pressure (or compression), say from a deep knee bend, drives nutrients into the protective cartilage that sits like a cap on the end of the bone. This Articular Cartilage is what people are referring to when they say they have lost the cartilage in their knees. Articular Cartilage needs movement and compression to be nourished!
Not moving (Immobility) not only starves the Articular Cartilage, it decreases the amount of this slippery synovial fluid surrounding the joint. This causes increased shock and friction alongside the decreased nutrient delivery. This further reduces the health of the smooth cartilage that covers and protects the ends of the bones. (Pitsillides et al 1999, Nguyen et al 2010)
Without this fundamental base of movement you can take all the Glucosamine & Chondroitin you want, but it has no way in. Supplementing inactivity is like pumping an asthma inhaler into your mouth but never breathing it in. Pointless.
Contrary to much medical mythology exercises that put pressure on joints actually increase the health of the joint by increasing the amount of this slippery protective cartilage and gooey cushioning synovial fluid (Urquhart et al 2011)
“ Squatting on a daily basis should not be optional, but should be considered an essential human posture for maintaining lower extremity joint and muscular health.”
With our current lifestyle many of us spend years never taking our knees, hips and ankles into a full range of motion, and slowly we loose that ability.
We may say “my knees hurt when I squat” bu the truth is your knees hurt because you stopped squatting.
It is possible to build back function – with the flip side of use it or loose it – if we challenge our joints responsibly over time we can bring these hearty little organs back to health and return our self to the pain-free, joyful movement our best life requires.
Talk to me about The Happy Body Program if you are interesting in recovering the health of all the major joints in your body with one simple daily routine.