Joint Supplements Kick Start Joint Health and Repair

Nutritional health is an important part of joint health just as it is paramount to the health and wellness of all body systems in general. We can’t expect any part of the body to function properly if we don’t feed it what it needs. One in three American adults struggle with chronic joint pain. More than 450,000 knee and hip replacements are performed each year and that number will continue to increase as the baby boomers age. Joint dysfunction can be due to injury, wear and tear and genetic predisposition. Repair and healing processes are highly dependent on adequate protein in the daily diet. Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet (SAD), has become poor in quality protein and high in carbohydrates. Proper intake of dietary protein is necessary for proper wound healing and joint repair. It should be a source for the amino acids necessary for fibroblast activity and the production of collagen, elastin and glycosaminoglycans at the site of injury or needed repair.

There are ways that you can support your joints so that they will stay healthy and give them an extra advantage if they are in need of repair. Joint supplements can help provide additional nutrients that are targeted for improving joint repair. Recent studies have investigated the use of specific nutrients to help in the repair, support and structural integrity of joints. Some of the most powerful ingredients shown to support cartilage and connective tissue health, joint mobility and address the discomfort associated with a lifetime of activity are Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM.

  • Glucosamine is an important building block needed by the body to manufacture specialized components of cartilage called glycosaminoglycans. These amino sugars are found in a variety of connective tissues all over the body like ligaments, tendons, cartilage, joint capsules, blood vessels and the skin. Supplements containing glucosamine have been clinically shown to promote the structural repair and improve the comfort of affected joints. Wrinkles are due to the breakdown of the supportive connective tissue in the skin.
  • Chondroitin is a major constituent of cartilage, providing structure, holding water and nutrients and allowing other nutrients to move through cartilage. It promotes joint comfort by maintaining hydration of the cartilage matrix. Chondroitin has a protective role in maintaining the integrity of cartilage from enzyme activity that would otherwise destroy it.
  • MSM ( methylsulfonylmethane) contributes sulfur for protein synthesis and enzyme function to support tendons and cartilage. Di-sulfide bonds are needed to create and hold the three dimensional shape of proteins in the body. MSM acts as a universal sulfur donor contributing to the repair and regeneration of all connective tissue and especially that of ligaments, tendons and joint capsules.
  • Vitamin C is essential in converting procollagen to collagen. Vitamin C is required for the cross linking of collagen fibers in the rebuilding and maintenance of all connective tissue. The well known breakdown of connective tissue due to deficiency of Vitamin C is the disease Scurvy that afflicted the sailors in days of old. Joint supplements containing Vit.C are often seen as minerals that are complexes of ascorbate.
  • Minerals are also an integral part of building body tissues. Connective tissue repair is enhanced by having adequate amounts of such minerals as Magnesium, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.
  • Botanicals can have the unique effect of stimulating the regeneration of connective tissue. Repair of ligaments, tendons and joints is stimulated by herbs such as Devils Claw (Harpagophytum) and Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica).

Protecting your joints from further natural degeneration or taking a proactive stance in supporting the repair and regeneration of your joints can be enhanced by the use of the proper nutritional supplements. Everyone has a choice on what role they want to play in their personal wellness. Restricting or limiting your physical activity does not have to be a fore gone conclusion. Walking down the road of life should not be a painful experience!

Good Health,
Robert Ellsworth, NMD

Cold Laser Therapy

Unlike high-power medical lasers, which are widely used to safely cut and remove tissue, the Low Level Laser (LLL) penetrates the surface of the skin with no heating effect or damage. The energy is directed deep into the affected area stimulating the body’s cells which convert the energy into chemical energy to promote natural healing.

Cold lasers are often compared to acupuncture with “laser beams”. In most LLL treatments the laser beam is used to stimulate the body’s acupoints or damaged areas in an attempt to increase the blood supply to parts of the body. I often use Lasers in conjunction with acupuncture treatments in my office. Light or photon energy has the unique property of being able to penetrate up to two inches below the skin surface, based on the power of the laser, causing an increase in cellular metabolism with no tissue damage whatsoever.Cold Laser Therapy is considered an alternative therapy like acupuncture. Currently there are over 25 different cold lasers that have been cleared by the FDA for various types of treatments. Cold laser has been in use around the world for over 30 years and has been in use in the US for over 10 years, mostly in the veterinary field. Low Level Laser therapy has been proven completely safe in over 3000 worldwide studies. The low level laser light used in cold laser therapy is actually the compressed light of a wavelength from the red part of the light spectrum, or the cold part.

The wavelength of the laser light ranges from 635 to 970 nanometers. The power level of medical grade cold lasers ranges from 10 milliwatts to 7500 milliwatts. This energy can be created using one or an array of laser diodes. An array of lasers allows a wider treatment area. Since finding the troubled spot deep inside the tissue may be difficult to pinpoint, it can be very useful to cover a larger area with an array of diodes. This increases the probability of energizing the problem area and also helps increase the energy in the area surrounding the problem area. The therapy is noninvasive and non-thermal. The cold laser was derived from phototherapy, a light healing method developed more than 30 years ago. Light penetrates the surface of the skin as well as underlying tissues to stimulate natural healing in the body. During the cold laser process, the body’s cells are exposed to photon energy, which in turn increases the cells’ metabolism, helps to develop muscle tissue and collagen, improves blood circulation, stimulates tissue repair and the healing of wounds, and stimulates the nervous and immune systems.

The average cold laser therapy session cost from $30 to $60 dollars. The average medical grade laser costs about $4000 – $15000. I think this is why LLL isn’t used more, even though it is an excellent therapy.

In my office, I use cold laser therapy, or low level laser therapy, to treat acute and chronic pain. If you suffer from back pain, joint pain, tendonitis, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, neuropathy, neck pain, or other related health conditions, cold laser therapy might be a viable solution for you. We use the Erchonia laser for a wide variety of applications like those just mentioned as well as many others supporting lymph and regulatory systems. Laser treatments speed up your body’s healing processes and can be an important part of many other therapies.


Robert Ellsworth, NMD


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TMJ Dysfunction

Most of us enjoy life without enduring constant or recurring pain. For others, being pain free is an infrequent luxury. The most popular players getting the attention in the “pain game” are usually the larger joints and spine. Back pain, hip, knee and shoulder pain steal the headlines but those folks suffering from TMJ find it every bit as painful, debilitating and frustrating. Basicly the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your lower jaw to the upper jaw at the side of your head. When this joint moves, it enables you to talk, chew and yawn. TMJ dysfunction problems with the joint, ligaments and muscles around it may cause:

  • Pain that radiates through the face, jaw, neck or head
  • Headache
  • Limited movement or locking of the jaw
  • Painful clicking or popping in the jaw
  • A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together

Jaw pain may go away with little or no treatment if it was induced by only mild trauma or irritation. Treatment may include simple things you can do yourself, such as eating soft foods while avoiding hard or sticky foods. Try not to aggravate the situation by opening your mouth to wide or chewing gum. Apply ice packs to limit further irritation and reduce inflamation while the healing process takes place.Treatment for more severe cases may include TMJ manipulation, devices to insert in your mouth such as night guards to keep you from grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw at night. Occassionaly it may be suggested that the bite needs to be altered by grinding the teeth to change the way they contact each other. Surgery is sometimes indicated but rarely so. In 1937 Dr. Louis Schultz, both a dentist and medical doctor, published a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association on the treatment of the subluxation of the TMJ. In this paper he described how common TMJ syndrome was, and that the traditional treatments of rest, appliances in the mouth, physical therapy and surgery were only partialy successful. He described a simple method of tightening and strenghtening the TMJ capsule by injection, which would later be known as Prolotherapy. In my practice, I find that stabilizing the joint using Prolotherapy techniques is a very successful way to treat the problems of TMJ and is often the missing link in achieving desired outcomes.

Many times the underlying cause of TMJ symptoms of pain, muscle spasm and clicking and popping of the jaw are do to weakness and instability of the joint itself. The temporomandibular is a very complex joint. It not only acts as a hinge joint for opening and closing the mouth but allows for the sideways movement of the lower jaw at the same time. This is accomplished by an intricate system of ligaments that hold the bones of the joint together, the tendons that attach jaw muscles to the bone and finaly by the fiberous capsule that surrounds the joint itself. Smooth and painless movement of the jaw depends on the ability of these components to seemlessly work in sync with each other. It’s easy to see that changing the structure of one or more of the component parts can greatly unbalance the interworkings of the joint, causing pain. Irritation in the joint capsule often causes muscle spasms which is one of the most common complaints. Along with the injury comes joint laxity, inflamation and swelling that contribute to more irritation and so on it goes. Breaking this cycle of irritation is dependent on strengthening and tightening the structure of the TMJ, in order to restore proper movement and allignment.

Prolotherapy is a highly effective method of treating chronic pain do to ligament laxity and weakened joints in all parts of the body. Injured ligaments, tendons and joint capsules are injected with a nutritive solution that directly stimulates the healing response to repair and strenghten them. Stabilization of weakened joints will remove the source of pain for many people. So wheather your dealing with pain from large joint dysfunction or the equally important TMJ, Prolotherapy may be the answer for you.

Robert Ellsworth, N.M.D.
Dr. Ellsworth has a practice in Scottsdale, Arizona.