Maintaining joint health is crucial for living a healthy and active life. As we age, our joints become stiff and rigid. The synovial fluid in the joints that lubricates them will start decreasing. The joint supporting the cartilage will also begin to degenerate. Additionally, genetics and injury can cause severe joint pain that makes simple movements in daily life painful.
What Are the Causes of Stiff Joints?
Various factors may contribute to joint stiffness. Aging may be one of the reasons, and then there’s arthritis and injuries. Arthritis or joint inflammation can affect anyone.
Inflammation from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can cause joint stiffness in the morning. Several forms of arthritis may cause moderate to severe stiffness, swelling, immobility, joint pain, etc.
Rheumatoid arthritis, the chronic inflammatory disorder, affects more than 1.5 million Americans. RA starts with joint stiffness, inflammation and can cause joint deformity in the long run. Osteoarthritis, another common form of arthritis, may cause immobility. OA affects over 27 million Americans. Lupus and bursitis may also cause joint stiffness.
Is it possible to prevent joint stiffness? What are the ways to keep joints healthy as we age? Here, we discuss 10 simple ways to improve joint health.
1. Proper Weight Management Is Necessary for Joint Health
Our body weight is linked to our joint health. Excess weight creates additional stress on our weight-bearing joints. Every extra pound you gain creates 4x pressure on your knees. Also, obesity may aggravate inflammation in the body that may cause joint pain. The solution? Lose pounds to take the stress off from the joints.
2. Regular Exercise Can Improve Joint Health
Is it possible to exercise if you have joint pain? Experts suggest regular movement keeps joints flexible and healthy even if you have joint pain. Swimming is a good option for exercise as moving in the water is less stressful for the body. Low impact activities such as a 15-minute walk, biking, and simple exercises can subdue joint pain and increase joint mobility. Practicing yoga and tai-chi can keep joints in good shape.
Severe joint pain can make you feel depressed. Exercise boosts endorphin production in the body, so you feel positive and focused after a session.
3. Joint Health Supplements May Alleviate Joint Pain and Restore Joint Health
Joint health supplements come in handy for improving joint health and reducing joint pain. Top joint pain supplements come with science-backed formulas and usually contain glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, resveratrol, turmeric, and omega 3 that may support joint health.
However, a wide range of joint health supplements is available over the counter. It is recommended to buy products from a reputable brand and read through the labels for ingredient information.
Drug-free, organic products are considered safe. Relief Factor, a drug-free joint health supplement, claims to alleviate joint pains and improve the immune system. The product contains Icariin and resveratrol that may increase blood flow, improve tissue health, and create joint protection from daily wear and tear. The supplement also contains turmeric and omega-3 fatty acids that may support joint health and reduce joint pain. Turmeric is rich in curcumin that could reduce arthritis pain.
Relief Factor claims to boost the body’s natural healing abilities. However, the efficacy of some joint pain supplements is questionable and what works for one may not work for another. To know what works for you, consult a physician.
4. Embrace A Joint-Healthy Diet
A balanced diet is one of the ways to keep joints healthy. Consider including antioxidant-rich foods and anti-inflammatory foods in your diet. Here are a few you can consider:
Apples are full of antioxidants that fight inflammation. Apple peels contain a high amount of quercetin, a flavonoid that exhibits anti-inflammatory properties and may boost immunity. One study examined quercetin’s effect on inflammation and immunity.
Turmeric is rich in curcumin – a bioactive with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric has been used in many joint health supplements for its multiple benefits. One clinical study reviewed how curcumin is beneficial for supporting osteoarthritis-induced pain.
The Mediterranean diet encourages you to eat fresh, seasonal plant foods. The diet allows fruits, leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, eggs, and legumes with which tasty recipes can be created and enjoyed. With the Mediterranean diet, you can receive the required amount of nutrients beneficial for joint health. A study indicates that the polyphenol-rich Mediterranean diet may inhibit inflammation and cartilage destruction, offering prevention of osteoarthritis-related musculoskeletal inflammation. The diet has also been effective in aiding weight loss, which is an added advantage.
5. Good Posture Can Improve Your Joint Health
Incorrect posture creates stress on muscles and joints. Repetitive movements can make your joints suffer. If your profession demands long hours of sitting, lifting heavy objects, or standing / sitting in the same position for a long time, practice appropriate postures. Whether you sit, stand, walk, or run, practice proper body mechanics. Learn to align your body parts correctly. Be conscious about your postures throughout the day. Stretch and move around frequently by taking mini-breaks.
6. Immobility May Trigger Joint Stiffness
Motion is one of the best ways to keep joints healthy. Though body movement is a concern for most arthritis patients, moving constantly is what the experts suggest. Range of motion exercises may help you tackle stiff joints in the morning. Enrol in a strength-training program for building and strengthening joint protecting muscles. However, before starting an exercise, talk to your doctor and train under an expert.
7. Wearing the Right Shoes May Prevent Joint Discomfort
Wearing the right shoes is essential for taking care of your weight-bearing joints. Poor footwear can cause stress on your knees, ankles, and lower legs. Women who wear high heels may experience joint problems as high heels cause additional stress on the knees. A pair of comfortable shoes can do the following:
- Offer adequate cushioning while you walk
- Offer adequate foot support
- Fit snugly
- Offer good grip and balance
Also, a podiatrist can help you select the ideal shoes.
8. De-stress for Better Joints: Healthy Mind, Healthy Joints
Stress damages both the mind and body. Chronic stress aggravates autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. One study examined the effects of anxiety and depression in patients with osteoarthritis. Stress triggers the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol, affecting collagen production, a necessary compound for healthy joints. Chronic stress also boosts inflammation.
9. Take Care of Your Seasonal Allergies for Better Joint Health
Seasonal allergies could be bad news for your joints. Allergens may increase inflammation in the body that aggravates joint pain.
10. Can Vitamin D Save Your Joints?
Vitamin D is one of the vital nutrients for bone health. It helps in calcium absorption. The deficiency of this essential nutrient may lead to different forms of arthritis. Lack of vitamin D can make the bones brittle. Boosting the intake of vitamin D in the body may help control inflammation.
A diet of tuna and salmon, milk with added vitamin D, and cod liver oil can serve you the required amount of vitamin D in the body. Additionally, top joint pain supplements with vitamin D are a good option.
It is not uncommon to feel anxious and depressed if joint pain limits your life’s pleasures and activities. But if you stay positive and focused, stay active as much as possible, eat a balanced diet, and follow the ways to keep joints healthy, you will do better. You will overcome the pain and limitations.
Image Credits: janeb13