Your joints are subjected to constant use throughout
your life. They are the connectors of the bones in the body and enable all the
bending and twisting motions you perform, usually without even thinking about
it. Because of the constant use,joints become worn as you age which can result
in mobility problems and chronic pain conditions like arthritis.Age related
loss of tissue and cartilage density and the reduction in muscle mass all place
additional stress on the joints. The effects of wear on the joints are often
seen when a person crosses the age of 50.Repairing joint damage is a complex
process and complete success is never certain. It is far better to take care and protect the joints to minimize the
wear and associated medical conditions.
A specialist in orthopaedic medicine will be able
to give you detailed advice on what you need to do to protect your joints,
including specific actions pertaining to
your individual physical condition. That being said, there are a few general
steps you can take to safeguard your joints.
Inactivity can cause your joints to become
stiff. But the wrong type of physical activity will place unwanted stress on
your joints. On the other hand, the right type of exercise can strengthen your
joints and improve agility. Low impact exercises like cycling, walking,
swimming etc. will strengthen and
lubricate the joints. Weight training will build up muscles and so increase
support for the joints.
Bad posture like
slouching while sitting or walking with hunched shoulders places excessive
stress on the joints as the pressure on them is uneven.Spending long hours in
front of the computer or TVare among the
most common causes of bad posture. Correcting the way you sit, stand and walk
will help to protect your joints.
The greater your weight, the greater the
load on your joints, especially the ankles, knees, hips and lower back. This places
needless pressure on the joints, increasing the wear and tear. Controlling your
weight will reduce the stress and protect
Eating right is an integral part of weight
control.Avoiding junk foods and not snacking between meals will help to control
weight. Eating the right foods will give you more energy while also
strengthening your joints so they can
cope with the increased amount of physical activity. There are also some foods
like leafy green vegetables and some types of berries that have anti-inflammatory
properties and so help to reduce any existing joint pain.
Water is the lubricant of the joints. Ensuring
that you are always well hydrated will keep the joints lubricated and reduce
the wear and friction they are subjected to. Try to keep a water bottle with
you at all time and keep sipping from it. Keep in mind that alcohol and soft drinks
do not hydrate the body, instead they work to cause more dehydration. Avoid them
as much as possible.
Smoking tobacco increases the risk of
osteoporosis and joint pain. Because smoking can affect the way the brain
processes pain signal, the early signs of joint problems may be supressed and
emerge only whenthe condition is serious. To protect not just your joints but
your health in general, do not smoke.
No matter how young and active you are,
the earlier you start caring for your joints, the fewer problems they will
cause you as you grow older. A hospital with a dedicated
orthopaedic department will be able to examine you, find any
incipient joint problems and provide a course
of treatment which involves joint protection to keep you active and mobile.