Joint pain can significantly limit person’s mobility and impair quality of life. Unfortunately, arthritis is very common and millions of people suffer from it. There are many factors that contribute to joint pain and triggers that aggravate it. It is widely assumed that dairy products also belong to the group of triggers that are a nightmare for your joints. How can milk affect your joints and aggravate the pain you feel? Keep reading the article to find out.
Milk and joint pain – what’s the problem?
According to the study conducted by Karl Michaelsson and team of scientists from Department of Surgical Sciences, Uppsala University from Uppsala, Sweden taking three glass of milk a day can increase risk of osteoporosis, bone fractures and it is associated with increased mortality rate.
The study included 61,433 women and 45,339 men. Participants were given questionnaires about frequency of intake of some particular foods. Results of the study, published in the British Medical Journal, showed that:
- During a mean follow-up of 20.1 years, 15,541 women died and 17,252 had a fracture
- Of 17,252 women with a fracture, 4259 had a hip fracture
- During a mean follow-up of 11.2 years, 10,112 men died and 5066 had a fracture
- Of 5066 men with fractures, 1166 were hip fracture cases
- For every glass of milk, the adjusted hazard ratio of mortality cause was 1.15 in women and 1.03 in men.
Scientists concluded the study explaining that excessive consumption of milk is associated with increased mortality and higher fracture incidence.
So, why does milk aggravate arthritis joint pain? The answer might surprise you; although it is widely believed that milk strengthens bones due to high levels of calcium, but it is important to bear in mind that milk also causes calcium and mineral loss in muscle cells and the bones. In turn, the affected person can experience poor overall health, arthritis and joint pain, as well as fatigue. Furthermore, it can also causes nutrient deficiency which isn’t that easy to spot.
Furthermore, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, while calcium is important for bone health and overall health and wellbeing of each individual, it is still not enough to protect person’s bones and joints. In fact, large Harvard studies which included male and female health professionals who had to drink milk on daily basis, proved that the risk of breaking bones did not differ from people who didn’t drink milk regularly.
Another theory which supports the claim that calcium isn’t essential for bone health as it was claimed to reveal that bone fractures incidence in countries like India is extremely low even though they do not consume as much dairy or calcium like people in the United States for example.
Additionally, dairy products have the potential to contribute to arthritis pain due to the type of protein they contain. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine explains that protein found in dairy products can irritate tissues around the joints thus increasing pain. Furthermore, some arthritis patients report pain relief after switching to vegan diet which doesn’t contain animal products.
What causes arthritis?
Arthritis is a very common form on joint disorder. There are more than 100 different types of this condition which mean that causes depend on what type of arthritis you have. For example, osteoarthritis which is one of the most common types of arthritis is caused by normal wear and tear of cartilage (firm, but flexible connective tissue in your joints).
Breakdown of cartilage tissue can be accelerated by injuries and infections of the joints. On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis which is alongside OA one of the most common forms of arthritis is an autoimmune disease which occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body.
Arthritis cannot be cured, but there are various ways joint disorder can be relieved to improve flexibility and quality of life. Some of the most common joint pain treatments include:
- Weight loss – Being overweight or obese forms a greater pressure on your joints thus aggravating pain and limiting mobility.
- Surgery – This is, in fact, the last “resort” or solution that your doctor suggests in case other treatments don’t work.
- Physical therapy – Is an essential part of arthritis treatment. It is focused on helping affected joints recuperate.
- Exercises – While most people believe that exercise can aggravate joint pain, it’s not correct. Low-impact and stretching exercises can improve flexibility of the joints.
- Corticosteroid injections – Are recommended in cases when patients experience unbearable pain.
- Medications – Your doctor will most likely suggest over-the-counter pain relievers to tackle pain.
- Ice packs and hot compresses – Hot and cold therapies can be quite helpful for people who suffer from joint pain. Hot compresses are used to relieve stiffness of joints, while ice packs are applied to affected areas to decrease pain.
- Other treatments include yoga, meditation, massage, etc.
Although it is widely believed that milk and dairy products can strengthen your bones, they can do more harm than good. Dairy products can irritate tissues around your joints and lead to higher risk of fractures. Healthy eating habits paired with physical therapy and healthy lifestyle are recommended for alleviating joint pain.