Cartilage is a connective tissue. Yes, it connects parts of you together, particularly your joints. Cartilage can be compared to a squash-able sweet. Whereas a boiled lolly cracks under pressure, a jelly baby bounces back.
There are three types of cartilage: elastic, fibrous, and hyaline. Elastic cartilage provides strength and stretch. Like the cartilage in your nose and ear. Fibrous cartilage is strong; its toughness providing protection against friction. It’s the type that forms the menisci within your knee and the discs between your vertebrae. Hyaline cartilage is thin, yet provides some strength and cushioning. This type of cartilage extends over bony surfaces, like those inside your joints.
But, cartilage can become damaged by injury, disease, or wear and tear. Tissues heal best when they have ample blood supply to deliver healing nutrients, but cartilage lacks blood vessels. This makes recovery slow and potentially incomplete.
The human body is an incredible healer, however when it comes to cartilage a little extra help can deliver good results... Or safeguard against damage in the first place.
A nutritious diet can support joint health. Eat generous amounts of oily fish, such as sardines and salmon, a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, walnuts and Brazil nuts, avocados and olive oil. Limit your consumption of poultry, red meat and full-fat dairy products.
If you can’t get enough from your diet, supplements may help. Fish oil, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, curcumin, devil’s claw, and ginger may decrease cartilage destruction or provide relief from cartilage-related ails. While they may not offer cartilage repair, some have been shown to protect chondrocytes — the cells that make cartilage — and reduce joint soreness.
Exercise can also help; it encourages your joints to “turn on” the genes linked to cartilage and bone cell production. What type of exercise should you do? Try any low impact activity that uses your limbs and maintains or improves fitness, like walking, swimming, cycling, or using an elliptical trainer. Speak to us first if you have any concerns.
It’s also wise to maintain optimal joint function. A healthy joint is less likely to become damaged and will heal more easily. From a chiropractic perspective, regular care may prevent damage. Many of our patients also report relief from cartilage- related conditions following adjustments.
Adam's Back is a team of dedicated complimentary health professionals. Our aim is to support you in finding drug-free solutions for better health.