by Dr. Jamie Doughty, Medical Director Summer in the pacific northwest is filled with bountiful opportunities to work and play outside. Our bodies are craving activity this time of year to move blood and lymph, support bone remodeling, exercise our heart muscle cells and expand our lung capacities. Common complaints I hear in clinic are joint pain, stiffness and longer recovery times after physical exertion and activity; especially in the spine and knees. This is due to exercise-induced changes in our organs and tissues that can result in oxidative damage caused by free radicals and inflammatory mediators. Case: Steven and Sandra both presented with middle age knee pain due to osteoarthritis. The pain, stiffness and crackling in the joints was worse after hiking, biking or heavy duty yard work. A long weekend of activities would leave them in pain (6-7/10 severity) with swelling that tapered over 24-48 hrs. The couple enjoyed living an active lifestyle but were no longer getting pain relief from over the counter NSAIDs like Alleve and Advil. Their diets consisted of standard American foods like potato salad, fries, burgers and salads with a nightly routine of cookies or ice cream for dessert. We discussed the mechanism of arthritis pain being aggravated by pro-inflammatory chemicals that can be triggered by certain foods. Our body’s immune system will respond negatively to sugars, white flour, processed carbohydrates, dairy, deep fried food and too many omega 6 fatty acids (think seeds oils like grapeseed, soybean, corn oil etc). The couple’s treatment plan included increasing veggies to include 4 cups of dark greens daily and fresh fruit based treats for dessert. I recommended supplementation with omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil to lubricate the joints and support anti-inflammatory compounds. They also started adding collagen peptides to a morning smoothie which provides repair to joint tissue. Taking collagen in peptide form provides the individual amino acids ready to be absorbed and used by the body to synthesize new collagen. Lastly, I dosed Nutrizyme on an empty stomach after exercise or exertion (a proteolytic enzyme formula) to assist in healing instead of over the counter NSAIDs along with topical CBD cream. CBD is non-pyschoactive hemp plant oil, which is well researched to provide pain relief and reduces swelling and inflammation transdermally. At the couple’s 6 week follow up they were experiencing less frequent aggravations of joint pain, stiffness and swelling. They were able to manage the pain quickly and effectively, so they could get back to everyday living after summer time activities. Is your physical body holding up to your summer time schedule? If not, natural medicine protocols can be simple, easy and highly effective. Our ND team is available to help you keep moving, 6 days a week in person and online at our Virtual Clinic.