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The Nil Pill

Well, Heck

There goes my placebo effect--a bitter pill to swallow. This large and apparently well-executed study tells me I might as well save my money, and reduce to only two the regular daily pill regimen: one baby aspirin, one multi-vitamin and NO more glucosamine.

Subjects in the study who took Celebrex, one of the cox-2 inhibitors, did get relief from arthritic pain. But then, there's been some bad news about some members of this group lately, and unless you have a tendency for gastric bleeding, there is no reason to take them vs regular Ibuprofen. On a really bad day, I take 600 mg of Motrin and it works. But I try to limit use to a day or two a month.

I had thought perhaps my joints were getting better with the glucosamine. I know there was a good study years ago that showed, yes, oral glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate resulted in a thickening of the joint cartilage. But I guess that was in the good old days. Well heck. And also OUCH.

Hmm. Ever use a common word and suddenly it sounds just really weird? Why do we say OUCH when something hurts? In yet another inelegant segue, let's go word sleuthing! Here's the poop, as it were:

Ouch: First recorded usage in 1837, from Pennsylvania German outch, cry of pain, from Ger. autsch.


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These studies are like buses...wait ten minutes an another study will produce a differering set of results that contradict the last study.

Know and listen to your body.

I take Glucosamine and my knees don't ache. I don't take it and I have limited rotation, stiffness and low-level pain.

Screw the data, I don't know from data; my knees I know. ;^)

There are a lot of studies out there and if you look hard enough you will find a “well done” study that justifies anything you want it to justify. I know many people who take glucosamine. One person I know gives it to her horse they say it seems to make a difference for them. If something seems to be working for you and it causes no harm keep taking it. Wait long enough and there will be a study that will say its good for you. According to a new study now its ok to drink soda and coffee and count it toward your daily fluid intake. Go figure. ;-)

Some years ago I took a particular pill daily for arthritis. A change of doctor saw a change of script. He woould prescribe only celebrex which was new then, because of the risk of stomach problems. Have now forgotten the original pill, but not voltaren or indocid. Frankly, I found celebrex almost useless. It worked, but only just, and I took it only as a last resort after trying it at stronger dosages. Doctor suggested twice the usual dose and I still found little relief. In light of further revelations about it, I'm glad I didn't go down that track.

In the end I just tried living with immobile, misshapen shoulders, bad hips and knees, wonky feet and useless hands and fingers. The creams do help a bit.

Then I started on the glucosamine. It took about 6 weeks to show anything, but now I wouldn't be without it. Arthritis is not perfect, but I can function, play with the grandchidren, push them on a swing etc. Best of all is that I can knit again. Therapy for the fingers, meditation for the mind and beautiful work which I mostly give away in large quantities, some to charities. 2x500mg tablets glucosamine daily.

Just before he left the practice, doctor gave me another celebrex script (with 5 repeats, to have in case I needed it. This was before the glucosamine regimen started. I ended up destroying it. I had doubts about the drug even before the current concerns were raised. It not only was practically useless for the arthritis, but it really didn't agree with me at all.

So there are studies and studies and then there is life. I think different things will work for different people and we need to experiment to find what works for each of us individually.

My interpretation of the study's results was that people who had MODERATE pain experienced no benefit over those who took the placebo, which implied that people with TREMENDOUS pain would still benefit from glucosimine. The short blip I heard on NPR also didn't say that the people who took the placebo DIDN'T report a benefit.

for what it's worth...keep doing what works for you.


Another vote for Glucosamine with Chondroitin - I have taken it for several years for arthritis of my SI joints, which was found on an MRI several years ago.........I have known several people who were advised to have total knee joint replacement & who were able to put the surgery off for several years after taking Glucosamine...........It has helped me tremendously!!!!!!

Maybe also try Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, 2 tablespoons everyday in a small glass of water, apple cider or V8 juice. It is a family tradition that has worked for three generations of aching fingers and knees. And it has no side effects.

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