Everyday Practices for Healthy Joints

Ice 250If you’ve ever injured a joint, you never realized how much you use that connection point until using it started causing pain. Agony could mark your every move until it’s healed.

As people age, joint health becomes even more important regardless of past injuries. From declining joint cartilage to arthritis, ailments plague the joints with chronic pain.

There are a few simple strategies to employ on a daily basis to keep your knees, elbows and other joints working smoothly. [1]

Strengthen your Muscles

Your joints are bone connection points surrounded by cartilage and muscle. As you bend and move, all these components work in harmony to support your everyday motion. Strengthening your muscles is a simple plan to support those joints.

The largest joints at the knee and elbow benefit greatly from weight training. For example, bicep front raises build the muscles around the elbow. With this extra strength, the elbow has less pressure on it. Impacts are stifled, giving the entire joint a safe haven among the muscles. [4]

Lose Weight

A healthy body weight contributes more to your overall well-being than any other factor. Ask your doctor about preferable weight ranges for your personal shape. When you lose weight, that extra fat isn’t putting pressure on the joints.

For supportive joints, including the knees, excessive weight only makes joint pain more chronic. You’ll notice the joints have more freedom of movement and reduced aches with less weight. Combining lean foods with exercise only improves the joints, coupling reduced weight with increasing muscle mass to support the entire skeletal structure.

It’s possible for chronic ailments to subside slightly with successful weight loss. [2]

Keep Moving

Today’s technology-based world offers global connectivity but at a price of your joint health. If you have an office position, make it a point to walk around at least once an hour. Even stand up if you can’t take a break at the moment.

As your knees and elbows remain in a fixed, 90-degree position, the joints slowly stiffen up. You’ll notice marked effort to stand up with pain accompanying the movement when you remain sitting for many hours. The movement also provides mild exercise to lose weight and gain muscle. [4]

Use a Topical Pain Reliever

If you have particularly bothersome joint issues, some pain relief may be necessary at times. Consider using a topical agent complete with menthol and camphor.

These soothing elements don’t cure or fix joint pain, but they offer a distraction from the stiffness. Topicals are meant to be used infrequently for joint pain, not as a cure-all. The nerves are stimulated at the application site, taking your mind away from joint pain.

Control inflammation with a corticosteroid cream prescribed by your doctor as well. Reduced inflammation keeps the joint in better health temporarily. [3]

Choose Food Carefully

The food you eat directly affects the joints and surrounding bone. Take a look at your daily diet to determine if it offers ample vitamin D and calcium.

Both of these nutrients feed the bones, maintaining a strong skeleton and joint structure. Many foods such as milk are fortified with vitamin D and calcium.

If you’re unsure about your nutrient intake, talk to your doctor. They may suggest a supplement if the diet isn’t rich enough. Naturally building the bones and joints with strong support keeps pain at bay while freeing up movement. [5]

Wear a Brace

Whether your doctor prescribes one or you purchase an over-the-counter product, a joint brace is a helpful device for everyday support. Used mainly on the knees, elbows, ankles and wrists, these supports keep the joints aligned through everyday movements.

Because they help with positioning, you supposedly won’t feel excessive joint pain. However, this subjective claim depends on the user and their overall joint health. Braces often hinder falls or tripping because the joint has added support.

It’s also a good idea to incorporate exercise with the brace to create an even stronger joint connection. [6]

Daily Supplements

There are a lot of supplements available to the public that promise joint pain relief. Particularly promising supplements combine chondroitin and glucosamine into one capsule. These molecules are actually found naturally in cartilage, providing you with a strong building block for joint pain reduction.

There is no evidence suggesting that supplements rebuild joints, however. Most added nutrients either slow joint decline or simply alleviate pain. Talking to your doctor about daily supplement use is preferable to discover the right nutrient combination for your joint health. [5]

Sit up Straight

Posture 260

Proper posture is critical to everyday joint health. As you stand up, the spine aligns itself into its natural, slightly curved shape. Poor posture forces the back and other joints into unnatural positions.

With added pressure at unusual angles, joint health declines as pain increases. Stand up tall and sit up straight. Avoid sitting for long periods of time. If you work in an office setting, pay attention to slouching and leg positions.

All the joints need to be aligned naturally for better health. Consistent poor posture may lead to chronic joint ailments. [1]

The Verdict

From supplements to healthy living, joint health is a combination of different lifestyle changes.

Although joint decline may be inevitable because of age or genetic vulnerabilities, trying one or more of these practices gives you a better chance at a pain-free and flexible life. Take control of your joints to walk that mile or simply cook dinner with ease. [1]

References

[1] http://www.bestjointsupplements.net/taking-care-of-your-joints/

[2]http://www.everydayhealth.com/arthritis-pictures/daily-habits-for-arthritis-pain-relief-0216.aspx#/slide-2

[3] http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/spring09/articles/spring09pg14.html

[4] http://www.webmd.com/arthritis/caring-your-joints

[5] http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02862/supplements-for-bone-and-joint-health.html

[6] http://www.arthritistoday.org/what-you-can-do/protecting-joints/joint-support/knee-brace.php

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