I'm 26, which in joint terms is not that old. It started when I was 17- I remember this very clearly. I took dance lessons from age 5 to age 15 and then danced on my high school dance team from age 14 to 18. If you do the math, that's 13 years of wear and tear. During my senior year, we were learning this really cool (and somewhat difficult) dance. One move involved going from a standing position to a squatting position, turning in a circle, and then coming back to a standing position. My knees started hurting a bit whenever I had to do this move, but I ignored it.
In college, I had to climb a flight of stairs every day to get to my psychology classes. That made my knees hurt, too. When I stood on my feet for long periods of time while working at a pharmacy, my knees started swelling and burning. By age 19 I was taking a Glucosamine/Chondroitin supplement daily. This helped a lot.
Within the last year, two things have happened. I have had to increase my Glucosamine dosage and my hip joints started hurting. I was not pleased. During a pain management class in grad school, I observed an acupuncturist for a day and thought I might try that in the future.
A couple of months ago, I visited my nurse practitioner. She thought I might have Rheumatoid Arthritis- the crippling, potentially disabling kind. My initial blood test came back clear and I decided to try something different. Now I am going to an acupuncturist.
People, it works!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My knee pain is GREATLY reduced. My hip pain has had less success, but I am thrilled with the results. Definitely not frugal, but 100% worth the cost. Even if I do have to lie there for 20 minutes with a bunch of needles sticking out of me. :P