15 Ways to Keep Healthy Joints

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body1Your joints endure an incredible amount of stress. They connect your bones, support your weight and above all, allow you to move. Although they’re designed to deal with this stress, sometimes they suffer from wear or tear which leads to joint pain.  Arthritis can also cause joint pain, but it is important to remember that joint pain often differs from person to person. There are two main kinds, osteo and rheumatoid, both of which affect the joint in different ways. Osteo arthritis is when the cartilage between bones wears down, until bone grates on bone. Rheumatoid is little less straightforward, being caused by an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of the synovial membrane (a soft tissue that protects joints in the body) and that can lead to bone loss. However, there are ways to help prevent joint pain!

  1. Ice Therapy

When arthritis pain causes a sensation of burning, cool it off with cold — applying an ice pack or even a bag of frozen vegetables (easier to wrap around an area like a knee) can help to numb areas affected by joint pain. Cold temperatures reduce blood flow, and therefore reduce tissue swelling.

  1. Move!

Moving your body also increases blood flow and lubricates joints, ultimately easing pain. Think of how stiff you feel in the morning, compared with once you’re up and about!  The more you move, the less stiffness you’ll have.  Even if you’re working an office job, make sure to get up and move every hour!

  1. Workout

Exercise is extremely important, however, some find it increases their joint pain. Choose low impact cardio, like walking, swimming, or water aerobics to eliminate the impact and help sooth joints. In winter, try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing to burn as many calories as jogging—without stress. Indoors, the elliptical machine moves your body through a safe range of motion with minimal impact.

  1. Use Protection

It is important to protect your body and joints, especially when working out or doing high level activity.  Use proper workout gear and always make sure to wear your helmet and knee pads.  If your joints are already aching, consider wearing braces when playing tennis or golf.

  1. Watch Your Weight

As we mentioned before, there is a lot of stress on your joints from your body.  Not only are they constantly moving, but they are supporting the weight of your body at the same time.  People who are overweight, tend to suffer from more serious joint pains or injuries-especially in their later years. Lose just a few pounds and you’ll take some strain off your hips, knees, and back. 

  1. Stretch Daily

It is very important to stretch your muscles atleast 3 times a week- however it is harmful to stretch before working out.   It is important to do a light warm up before stretching to loosen up the joints, ligaments, and tendons around them.

  1. Strengthen Your Muscles

To prevent your joint from supporting your whole body and causing an impact of stress- it helps to build the muscle around your joints.  Research shows that having weak thigh muscles increases the risk of knee osteoarthritis.  Try to use weights at least three times a week to improve muscle mass.

  1. Sit up Straight

Posture, believe it or not, has a huge impact on your joints and bones. When you sit, raise your chair until you’re at a comfortable distance from your desk without having to reach or slouch. Holding your spine in an unnatural position or bending the wrong way can strain the muscles and ligaments that support it, leading to back pain. 

  1. Strengthen Your Core

What does your abs have to do with joint pain? Simple- stronger abs and back muscles help with balance. The more balanced you are, the less likely you are to damage your joints with falls or other injuries.

  1. Eat Fish

The kinds of fish loaded with omega-3 fatty acids are good for everything, especially joint pain. Adding about two 3-ounce servings of seafood to your menu each week is a good way to increase your levels of omega-3s. Omega-3s may help keep joints healthy, as well as reduce inflammation, a cause of joint pain and tenderness in people with RA. 

  1. Drink Milk

You probably remember your mom or doctor constantly tell you to drink more milk. Well its true- it really does help build stronger muscles! Calcium and vitamin D help keep bones strong. Strong bones can keep you on your feet, and prevent falls that can damage joints.

  1. Be Careful Lifting and Carry Heavy Items

Most people tend to throw out their back or cause damage to their bones when they push their bodies to the limit.  Carrying items in general could cause tension to your bones- and even more so when the weight is increased.  Make sure you consider your bones and muscles when you do steady lifting.

  1. Use Glucosamine for Knee Arthritis

Glucosamine is a natural chemical compound found in healthy joint cartilage.  Glucosamine helps keep the cartilage in joints healthy. But natural glucosamine levels drop as people age. This can lead to gradual deterioration of the joint. For osteoarthritis, the typical dose of glucosamine used in most studies was 500 milligrams of glucosamine sulfate taken three times a day.

  1. Get Plenty of Rest

One of the best ways of alleviating joint pain is to get plenty of rest and relaxation. This will restore energy, as well as allow the body to repair itself naturally.

  1. Take Supplements

While there are several drugs that reduce pain, these are not advisable to be taken over a long period of time. Supplements in this case can fill in for drugs and help relieve joint pain and prevent it from reoccurring.

If you are suffering from joint pain, it is absolutely vital that you schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible in order to properly assess and alleviate your joint pain.