Did you know that I began blogging because I had “retired” from my job and was bored? Of course, there’s always a STORY behind what I do, and THIS story doesn’t have a fairy tale ending.
I started my career as a dancer and an actress (my degree is in dance therapy), I danced both for work in dance companies in my early years, danced as an actress in musicals, taught and worked with people who had difficulties as a movement therapist, and when I tired of it all…I just danced to enjoy myself. Add to that going CLUBBING every night after I married (my husband & I owned a restaurant and club and I worked the night shift) and I did a LOT of damage to my body.
It all came to a head as I was walking down a flight of metal stairs at a T-Station heading to Boston one day. ALL of the the ligaments in my right knee gave…ALL OF THEM…and…they got caught in the knee joint.
I was left with a 90 degree angle. Seven surgeries and ten years of physical therapy later I could walk again.
Now, fifteen years after my initial accident, I can still walk – but…I will always live with a flexion contracture, arthrofibrosis and missing ligaments. In essence my entire knee is being held together by scar tissue. Yes, I’m still in constant pain (I rarely tell people, as I hate complaining). Not only does the knee hurt, but because I have had to make adjustments, I live with back pain and hip pain…oh, and the chance that ONE WRONG MOVE could put me into a wheel chair, even now. I have limits to how long I can stand, walk and even sit in one position. Still, I consider myself very lucky that I fought against the leg braces and my forearm crutches that I hated for all of that time (I walked with them for over 10 years – some of you have seen me with them when I have bad days even now).
My joints are just NOT healthy. I hate taking pain killers, because they only mask the problem and make me feel icky.
Is there a solution to some of this pain and inflammation?
Orthopedic surgeon Richard Diana, M.D. to the rescue.
Straight from the Yale School of Medicine this former football player for the Miami Dolphins turned surgeon and clinical instructor at Yale has the answer and he’s written a book about just HOW to do it.
I’m JUST beginning his 8-week program. No it probably won’t help my damaged knee, but that hip (which has the MOST pain) is gonna love me.
Here’s a TASTE of what his Healthy Joints for Life program looks like:
Dr. Diana’s Eleven Nutritional Commandments for Joint Health
1. Thou shall respect insulin as the body’s primary inflammatory hormone and recognize that it is secreted in direct response to eating carbohydrates.
2. Thou shall control blood sugar levels by understanding the glycemic index and load of specific carbohydrates and by eating slower-digesting complex carbohydrates.
3. Thou shall help control blood sugar levels with fiber.
4. Thou shall avoid high fructose corn syrup.
5. Thou shall avoid trans fats.
6. Thou shall eat “smart” saturated fats, minimize processed polyunsaturated fats, and beware of fried foods, especially those fried in polyunsaturated fats.
7. Thou shall maximize omega-3 fatty acids.
8. Thou shall remember that omega-6 fatty acids are unsaturated and essential but still need to be minimized, because they are so easily oxidized and are the basis for inflammatory pathway building block, arachidonic acid.
9. Thou shall eat as much fish as possible, keeping in mind that salmon is preferable to all others.
10. Thou shall choose healthier animal proteins, like buffalo, chicken, and turkey, and leaner cuts of those proteins, like the strip and breast.
The Bonus Commandment:
11. Thou shall combine healthy fats and proteins with healthy carbohydrates in order to effectively reduce the glycemic index (GI) of the carbohydrates.
The types of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins we choose to eat can have a dramatic effect on how our joints feel. You can control inflammation and joint pain by eating joint-healthy foods. Sorting out which foods are beneficial to joint health is fairly easy as we eat only three categories of foods, namely, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. That’s basically it.
You can get picky and debate where to put alcohol or sugar alcohols, but for our purposes it’s worth reemphasizing that if you eat it, then it’s a carbohydrate, fat, or protein. I often refer to those food groups as The Big Three. If you learn to balance The Big Three you will be one step closer to controlling joint pain.
Excerpted with permission from the publisher, Harlequin Nonfiction from Healthy Joints for Life by Richard Diana M.D. Copyright © 2013 by Richard Diana
Healthy Joints for Life: An Orthopedic Surgeon’s Proven Plan to Reduce Pain and Inflammation, Avoid Surgery and Get Moving Again is in bookstores and available on Kindle now. I’m a believer that after seven surgeries, that avoiding another one is important. If like me, you have joint pain, pick up a copy.
Richard Diana, M.D., author of Healthy Joints for Life: An Orthopedic Surgeon’s Proven Plan to Reduce Pain and Inflammation, Avoid Surgery and Get Moving Again, retired from the Miami Dolphins after Super Bowl XVII to attend Yale School of Medicine. He has been an orthopedic consultant to several collegiate athletic programs as well as to the Boston Red Sox. Dr. Diana is a board-certified surgeon and has been named a Top 100 Doctor in America. He is a clinical instructor at Yale School of Medicine and attending surgeon at Yale-New Haven Hospital. For more information please visit http://www.