We have both movable and immovable joints each serving a specific function. Like any movable object, a product with moving parts is the hardest to make, to recreate or even replicate. Our joints are very complex moving machinery. To function like a well oiled machine, nature has provided it with its own lubricant. Adequate lubricant is very essential to its proper and precise functioning. Too little or too much is not good. Without joints we might have been born as creatures who lacked mobility. We would have been immobilized at birth, our origin at birth and our end during death would have been at the same exact place on Earth. Unlike that scenario, we have been always on our little tippy toes bouncing all over the place and hopping from one end of the World to the other. No wonder our joints have helped us in achieving that. We are able to run, walk, sit, stand, bend over, hold a tool, etc mainly due to the fact that our bones are broken at different intervals and are connected through joints to facilitate locomotion, movements and even rotation such as the ball and socket joint found in our hips and in our lower jaw.
Joint surgery is the most complex of all surgeries because after a joint surgery, the joint may need to be kept moving to prevent fusion or calcification. But at the same time after surgery the area is highly inflamed. To facilitate healing and to reduce the inflammation, rest is recommended. Which instruction should we heed do? It’s a catch 55. Is that the correct catch number? No surgery is fail safe or guaranteed. This number is way up for joint surgeries due to its complex nature. Post-operatively, the person may do much better than he or she was before surgery or the condition may end up being worse. Titanium is the current material of choice in joint surgeries. This includes plates and screws. But nothing is better than natural and nothing can replace which nature has given us.
Just imagine if we had no joints and all bones. Nature has designed joints for us to help us perform various tasks. These joints are highly innervated, vascular and is well connected with tendons and muscles to support itself and to function under load and deal with the enormous stress. Take our knee joint for example. It is a very complex joint. In addition to different movements, it also has to bear the weight of the entire body, both in motion and at rest.
Now lets compare a joint in our body to any solid product that produces movement, then we compare this to that in which there is no movement. Any product that we use such as a toy is considered complex or otherwise based on the complexity of its moving components or if it has any moving parts. Anytime there are joints involved it is very expensive to make and difficult to manufacture. But nature has given us joints which are both complex, difficult to understand and impossible to replicate. Every day we see millions of joint surgeries being performed all over the World. Most does work and some do fail. We are in fact trying to imitate nature. When we look at it even closer, we are able to see the intricate mechanism by which it is made of. This is impossible to replicate in any size, shape or form, even with our artificial spare parts. Real life joints have capillaries that supply the cells which encompass the joints with blood, have delicate cartilage points, contains synovial fluid which acts as a lubricant, and nerves that attach and help make movement possible in a synchronized fashion using finely tuned nerve impulses conducted to the brain. This pathway is so intricate and precise that the conduction of messages along this neural and motor pathway is well coordinated to elicit an appropriate response and facilitate the action of movement. Our spinal cord is comprised of multiple bones along with their alternating joint spaces
Most animals have bones and joints. They go hand in hand. One cannot work with out the other. Imagine a person is hospitalized for months and another is an astronaut living in space for an extended time. What both of them have in common is that they face disuse atrophy of muscles. Meaning muscles becomes weak due to its non use and ultimately may not be able to support the weight of our own bodies. The respective joints also react accordingly. There are many degenerative diseases which affect our joints including metabolic diseases. To sustain health of our body and our joints, it need to be fed well with a healthy diet, adequate exercise and by preventing their abuse. We see people lifting heavy objects, which puts strain on the joints, tendons, ligaments and the muscles which support them. This may lead to muscle fatigue, tear in the ligaments and ultimately within the joint space disrupting the normal functionality of the entire joint. Our entire body is well synced to function under all circumstances. Once it crossed the threshold of normal function it starts breaking down.
Obesity is an epidemic which we see happening in all countries across the World. Childhood obesity has become commonplace. As we become obese, who do you think is taking all that load and bearing the weight of your body? It’s the joints, mainly the knee and hip joints. As we age, we also see that these are the two most commonly performed joint surgeries in the World.
We also have taken our jaw joint for granted. Most of us do not even know that it exists. Its commonly called as the TMJ. Abuse of any joint leads to its dysfunction along with its associated symptoms. When all is well, life is good. When something starts breaking down, it rapidly moved up the scale from bad to worse. We chew gum, bite on hard candy, open bottles with our teeth, eat coarse food etc etc. All this puts stress on the TMJ. Now when these stresses on the joint are chronic, something has to give. Usually it is the joint, one or both. As there is no one way to treat joint problems, no matter which part of the body they are in. Usually they are treated using surgery, pain management techniques, splints, physical therapy and palliative therapy. Surgery should be the last treatment option when all other options have failed. Remember there are no guarantees in any type of joint surgery due to its complex nature.
So the bottom line: prevention is better than cure. Take care of your joints and it will take care of you.