The ability to move freely greatly affects our enjoyment of life, from taking an evening walk to playing cards to interacting with grandchildren. Although statistics may show our odds of experiencing joint pain and stiffness increase with age, they also provide a sense of hope. Joint pain is not inevitable. In fact, 30% of adults aged 50 to 80 reported no incidence of joint pain or arthritis. Among those reporting joint pain, 80% manage symptoms independently.
Whether you’re fortunate enough to be in the percentage that’s symptom-free or just starting to feel a twinge now and then, you should learn habits that protect your joints. Consider adopting these lifestyle strategies for good joint health.
Did you know that losing one pound of body weight removes 4 pounds of pressure from your knees? Keeping your weight within healthy limits protects your knees and other joints from excessive force. In addition, fat tissue is a storehouse for inflammatory toxins. Less fat equals less inflammation and, in turn, healthier joint tissue.
Your joints need lubrication to work properly, and lubrication happens during movement. As you bend or twist a joint, synovial fluid acts like the oil in your car engine, ensuring smooth operation and preventing friction. But you have to move the joint to circulate the fluid. Sitting for long periods can leave you with stiff knees and hips.
Stand up every 20 minutes or so, walk around your apartment at Broadmoor Court, stretch your arms, take deep breaths and bathe your joints in lubricating fluid. Or simply spend a day exploring Colorado Springs, CO, trying out new activities or rediscovering old ones. New pursuits and experiences are good for joints and minds.
While movement provides the oil to help lubricate your joints, strong muscles support your joints and help them flex correctly. Exercises that boost muscle mass, like working with resistance bands, fitness classes and weight programs, can also improve joint strength. In addition, you’ll gain better balance and stronger bones.
If you want to enjoy your senior years, it’s time to consider what you put into your body. Healthy fruits, vegetables, grains and protein give you energy and help your body function properly, from digestion to joint health. A diet high in sugar, fat and additives can increase your risk of joint inflammation.
Regardless of all you may do to prevent joint problems, damage occasionally occurs. You may have experienced an injury at one time in your life, or perhaps you were an overachiever on the football field. Fortunately, you can experiment with supplemental aids to help with the symptoms of joint inflammation, like pain or stiffness.
Applying heat or cold packs to your joints can help with some of the pain associated with arthritis or other joint pain. The key is knowing which treatment works best for your situation. Ask your doctor or nurse for their recommendations regarding the type of heat (moist or dry) and whether you should alternate therapies.
Professional therapists can teach you how to stretch and move your joints. They can also assist with exercises if you’re in too much discomfort to perform them yourself. If you’re concerned about joint mobility, a session or two with a Colorado Springs, CO, therapist can help get you started with proper joint care. Once you’ve mastered the techniques, you can continue with maintenance exercises on your own.
There are a variety of braces designed to help support joints. Start by seeking the advice of a doctor or therapist to help determine the right solution and fit. Then, you can use the brace whenever you feel your joints need a little extra help. Finally, don’t forget to invest in a good pair of supportive walking shoes if you have any issues with knees, hips or ankle joints.
Meditation, massage and acupuncture have all been used successfully for joint pain symptoms. Specific types of beneficial massage include trigger point massage, myofascial release and Swedish massage. Meditation and acupuncture have routinely been used to help people deal with chronic pain, including achy joints.
If your joint pain interferes with your quality of life, talk to your doctor about medication options, such as prescription and over-the-counter painkillers, corticosteroid injections and topical ointments. While these traditional pharmacy solutions can help, you should continue with as many lifestyle modifications as possible. The more changes you make to remain mobile and healthy, the less medication you’ll need to take, reducing your chances of side effects.
Broadmoor Court in Colorado Springs, CO, is on your side when it comes to joint health. That’s why our weekly calendar contains a variety of activities designed to keep you moving, from walking club to morning exercises to tai chi. In addition, we have therapy services available, on-site rehabilitation and healthy dining options.