Chronically weak joints - what can help?
Hello fellow Grokkers and Grokkettes. THIS IS A LOOOOONG READ. Please read though if you are interested in giving me advice.
My name's Mark and I've been following MDA and the Primal Blueprint for about two years now. I've been on/off paleo for a year and a half, and decided to go all out paleo a few months (I'm about 90 or 95% due to cheating ). However, I started as a result of weight gain and joint injuries. My weight's stabilized, however my joints are still crap. I have loose ligaments in my wrists and shoulders, and very slightly arthritic finger joints, all due to overuse and/or poor technique while exercising. Let me give you a little run-down of my years.. I'm only 19, going to be 20 in November..
From early childhood until age 13, I was overweight, even near-obese.
I was completely inactive during my growth-spurt, so I was 200+ lbs and 5'7" at age 13.
I lost 40lbs with the help of youthful hormones, CW, and hard-work. I biked 6 hours or more per week and reduced portion sizes.
Age 14 to 16, I remained moderately active and ate whatever I wanted to.
Age 16, I started to lift weights and eat like hell to gain weight. Gained muscle, hurt one of my RC/shoulders due to crappy bench technique.
Post weight-lifting, I threw javelin for school, leaned out, and wore out my other RC/shoulder's ligaments due to crappy throwing technique.
Months leading to age 17. Sprained my one wrist due to crappy lifting technique. "Worked through the pain" as I was told to do by my peers. Eventually stopped and took lots of Ibuprofen and stretched my wrists out like hell, as told I was told to do by my doctors. Took mountains of glucosamine, chondroiton, and MSM, which didn't help.
Ages 17-18. Both wrists loosened, painful, and weak. Ankles and plantar fascia strained (now healed). Gained a little weight. Cannot even perform knee-pushups. Was told by an orthopedic doc that I might have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a genetic disease that screws up your bodies ability to produce strong collagen. I call bullshit as I've never been naturally flexible, and never had joint injuries before high school, even though I was very active as a heavy kid, pre-growth spurt.
Age 18 plus a few months. Knee joints less stable due to quadriceps weakness/imbalance (now 90% better). Tried out prolotherapy for one wrist, and months later it improves by 50-60%. Thumb joints start to go wayside due to all the down-time being spent on Xbox (button-mashing anyone?). Got my first pair of Vibrams. Gained more weight.
Age 19 'til now. College starts, absolutely hate it, stressed/depressed, paleo goes wayside, re-injured my knees/ankles from running and walking (now better, 90%). Other finger joints start to hurt from texting/writing/computer use/Xbox. Received more prolotherapy, on other wrist and thumb joints, helps wrist by 50%, thumbs aren't helped. Thumbs confirmed slightly arthritic. Confirmed to not have rheumatoid, lupus, gout, or lyme disease, and apparently my thyroid should be fine.
Today, I am paleo/primal with a few cheats, I do some HIIT twice a week (sprints and elliptical), practice squats, work on mobility with the help of MWod, and sleep 7-8 hours a day. I am much less depressed, although I still have some stress. I try to get some sun exposure, and take a few supplements. I quit Xbox.
I'm trying to set up a plan to help increase my body's ability to create collagen and/or heal. I soak in Epsom salts and take a low-dose multi, vit. D, and fish oil.. I also consume Camu Camu berry powder (for vit. C) and gelatin, in addition to the leafy greans, other veggies, meats, fish, eggs, nuts, and fruits. I take Camu and gelatin together because of the importance of vit. C, proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline in collagen production (à la Weston A. Price and Ray Peat). I also do a minor IF regimen, using a 8-9 hour window for feeding. I researched IF's effects on hGH levels, and can see how it might help in healing. Now, I'm considering doing one or two 24-hour fasts a week for the massive hGH burst, while making up most of the calories while breaking fast.
Does anyone have any comments or advice? Is IF worth trying? I've been told that I worry too much and look too deeply into this, but no doctor is willing to help, aside for my prolotherapy doc, who is mighty mighty costly. I'm a damn child who has some joints that are equivalent of a 90 year old's joints. Something isn't right. This is the first time reaching to an online community for help, and I'm hoping for something useful.
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