Joint pain can appear out of nowhere or it can build up slowly. As nurses, we know that our hands, elbow, shoulders, hips and knees can take a beating every day. So if you don’t have joint pain, you may want to take measures to prevent it. If you do have pain, you may be looking at supplements to help ease it. Remember though, joint pain should be evaluated by a physician so you can see what is causing it. Don’t self-diagnose!
Glucosamine and chondroitin combination supplements seem to be the most popular choices for joint pain. There are ongoing studies to validate the effectiveness of the supplements, but anecdotal evidence is showing they do help many people. The evidence also shows that it is more effective to use the two together, rather than glucosamine or chondroitin alone.
Glucosamine is extracted from crab, lobster or shrimp shells. This extract is then mixed with chondroitin sulfate, which comes from animal cartilage. The glucosamine seems to do the main work, but the chondroitin helps boost glucosamine’s effectiveness.
Because the supplement is not medication-based, you can probably take it along with prescribed medications, so it’s not an either-or proposition. Just be sure to speak to your doctor about it. In fact, you could also ask your doctor what brand she recommends.