4 Tips For Better Joint Health

Improve joint pain and learn healthy age-management

A joint is the connection between two bones. Joints and their surrounding structures allow you to bend your elbows and knees, wiggle your hips and your back and turn your head. Smooth tissue called cartilage and synovial fluid cushion the joints so bones do not rub together. However, there are a few factors that can cause wear and tear to your cartilage and the constant rubbing can cause damage to your joints and  lead to arthritis.

Many conditions can lead to painful joints including strains, sprains, and other injuries. In a national survey, about one-third of adults reported having joint pain. Knee pain was the most common complaint followed by shoulder and hip pain, but joint pain can affect any part of your body, from your ankles to your shoulders. As we get older, painful joints become more common.

Joint pain can range from mildly irritating to debilitating pain, and it may go away after a few weeks or months. Regardless of how long the pain lasts, it can seriously affect your quality of life. Whatever the cause of the joint pain, you can usually manage it with physical therapies and alternative treatments.

When trying to treat joint pain the goal is always to:

  • Reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Preserve joint function.

The key to caring for your joints is to keep them and your muscles, ligaments and bones strong and stable.

Here are a few tips for good joint health:

  1. Watch your weight.

Keeping your weight within a healthy range is the best thing you can do to keep joints healthy. The weight-bearing joints such as hips, knees and back support all of the weight of your body so most of the wear and tear on joints happens to those areas. Research shows that with every pound gained, a person puts four times more stress on knees. Losing weight reduces pressure on joints and thereby reduces the risk of joint injury.

  1. Build muscle to support your joints.

Strong muscles act as support for your joints. If you don’t have enough muscle, your joints take on a lot of pressure, increasing the risk of wearing down the cartilage and synovial fluid that is there to act as a cushion for joints. A proper weight training program helps to build muscle and keep surrounding ligaments strong. This way your joints don’t have to do all the work.

  1. Move your joints.

Working out pumps more lubrication into your joints and releases more water into your lubricating fluid so it spreads over the cartilage surfaces more easily. Regularly moving your joints through their full range of motion is the goal.

  1. Eat to nourish your joints.

Eating a diet that will support and maintain healthy joints is key.

  • For bone health, be sure to get enough calcium-rich food.
  • To maintain muscle mass, getting enough protein is important, however, the amount you will need is dependant upon your age, gender and how active you are.
  • Adding vitamin D to your diet is an excellent way to keep joints healthy because vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium from the foods you eat. Add some vitamin C since some studies suggest that the antioxidant properties of vitamin C can help keeps joints healthy.
  • Healthy fats can reduce inflammation in blood vessels and can calm it down in your joints as well. So, if you are at the beginning stages of joint pain and inflammation or having an acute attack due to injury or arthritis, adding some Omega 3s to your diet will help.

New Research and Treatments

Lately, there has been a lot of research suggesting that collagen is extremely helpful in maintaining joint health and reducing joint pain. Collagen is the building block of the body and is the most abundant protein found in the body. It plays a vital role in providing support and elasticity to connective tissues such as cartilage, bones, tendons and ligaments. (An added bonus is that collagen also provides structural support to your skin, so your skin looks young and supple.) Cartilage is a firm and rubbery material that covers the end of bones in joints and can wear down due to aging or injury. As a result, tendons and ligaments stretch and bones rub together causing pain. Collagen provides support for the growth and repair of cartilage and can reduce inflammation in a joint that causes pain.

Another treatment that will help to establish good joint heath is a procedure called ‘Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy’.  It is a safe, effective and innovative treatment option for joint pain, tendon injuries and back problems. PRP uses the patient’s own blood platelets to jumpstart the body’s natural healing process while delivering optimal pain relief. The effects of Platelet-Rich Plasma show that it rebuilds soft tissue and cartilage and reduces inflammation.

Whatever your goals may be, this information can improve joint health and also help you with healthy age management, where your body mind and spirit work together, as they must, to achieve optimal health.

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About the Author

Dr. Claudia Machiella

Dr. Claudia Machiella

Dr. Claudia Machiella owns and operates one of the GTA’s leading chiropractic clinics.  Since 2001 Dr. Claudia Machiella has grown and built her practice and has been a Chiropractic advocate in her community.  Most recently she has opened a second location in Vaughan in order to provide increased accessibility to chiropractic so that more people […]

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