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Joint Health

How to Relieve Your Joints: The Ultimate Guide You Need Today!

joint pain reliefDo you sometimes feel achy in certain parts of your body for no reason? You aren’t alone! Millions of people around the world (myself included!) suffer from joint pain, and it’s no walk in the park. But that doesn’t mean that you have to continue suffering through it forever! Fortunately, there are many ways you can relieve your joints, without the need to spend hundreds of dollars on treatment or medicine. But how?

No matter where your joint pain is located, I’ll be showing you the various habits you can follow to relieve your joints and give you the pain-free body you deserve!

Types of Joint Pain and Habits to Follow

We have different joints around the body, with some of them hurting while others remain fine. Either way, the pain sucks! So if you have a particular body part that aches a lot, scroll down to see what applies to you and how to relieve your joints through the habits I listed below each section!

Jaw Joint Pain

If you feel a click or pop when moving your jaw, or constant facial pain when chewing or frequent headaches, then you might be suffering from jaw pain.

One of the main reasons why one has jaw pain is because of an injury or abnormality in the jaw.

Other causes include:

  • Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder
  • Cluster headaches
  • Sinus problems
  • Tooth pain
  • Clenching of jaws

To help relieve your jaw pain, I recommend that you try these methods:

Moist Heat Packs
Run warm water over a small towel, then apply it to the area where it hurts around your jaws. The heat will be able to relax your overactive jaw muscles, relieving the pain. You’ll need to apply more warm water to the washcloth to let the heat continue to help relieve the pain.

Ice Packs
Add ice in a plastic bag then wrap it with a small towel. Apply it on the area that hurts, leaving it for about ten minutes before removing it to let your face rest. Place it on the face again. Remember to remove it if it feels too cold or hot!

Massage
Giving it a small and short massage can help relieve the pain and tension. Do this by using your index and middle finger, pressing on the sore areas. Rub it in a circular motion, doing about five to ten rotations. Repeat the exercise with your mouth open.

To help prevent jaw pain from happening again, here are the habits you must follow:

Change Your Diet
Avoid eating tough, crunchy, or chewy foods, which would put too much strain on the jaw joints, which results in pain and discomfort later on. Some foods to avoid are beef jerky, apples, ice, gum, or even apples! Avoid caffeine as well, as this can contribute to muscle tension.

Reduce Stress
Some people experience jaw pain because of clenching it from too much stress. To avoid clenching, you should reduce your triggers and stress, trying out techniques and methods which do so. You can opt to try yoga, meditation, journaling, or other activities that interest you and help in reducing the stressful feeling and the want to clench your jaw.

Neck Joint Pain

neck joint painI’m sure a lot of you have experienced neck pain at some point in your life. I have, and still do at times, especially if I’m not conscious of my posture!

One of the main reasons why people suffer from neck pain is because of the way they position themselves, especially if they are always sitting or slouching. Other times, it can be their sleeping position or lack of movement. And the result would end up being you constantly rubbing your neck or wincing in pain when you accidentally stretch it too much, even waking up in the morning feeling cranky because of it!

So to help you out, here are the following habits and remedies you can try:

Better Diet
Make sure that you have the right diet, increasing your magnesium intake and ensuring that you stay hydrated. Staying hydrated can help with your disc height and spinal alignment, taking pressure away from the spine. It also prevents the degeneration of your cervical discs, which would greatly reduce neck pain. Magnesium is a mineral that helps with contracting and relaxing your muscles, going in fruits and vegetables. Magnesium oil helps a lot, too!

Posture
Never slouch or put your head too forward. WHen sitting, sit up straight, and your lower back must be supported with your shoulders relaxed and the feet flat on the ground. Avoid sitting for too long, shifting positions or getting up when needed. Take stretching breaks! The seat of your car should be in an upright position, supporting both the head and lower back while relaxing your arms.

When working on the computer, the monitor must be at eye level. If you’re on the phone, use a headset or put it on speaker, never cradling your phone on the shoulder.

Move More
Exercise works wonders, but avoid straining yourself. Avoid heavy lifting and opt to do stretching and strengthening exercises, which can help flex your neck and avoid stiffness. Massaging or rubbing the area for a better blood flow will help as well.

Studies have shown that swimming may also help with neck pain, reducing inflammation and easing their stiff neck.

Back Joint Pain

back joint painBack pain is mainly caused by your poor position or lack of exercise. From sleeping wrong down to slouching while you walk, it all boils down to the way you move (or lack of it). Your back needs some love and support, and if you don’t give enough of it to a healthy diet and exercise, it will end up with it in pain, which has you lessen your freedom of movement.

To help you out, here are some remedies and habits to follow for a better back:

Posture
Fix your posture! Like mentioned, slouching is bad for you and will make the pain worse, especially if you are always sitting for a very long time during the day. Avoid slumping over the keyboard or desk, sitting upright and with your shoulders relaxed. Your back should be supported on the chat. You may want to add a pillow between your lower back and seat for better and comfier support.

Stand up and walk with a straight back as well, which also has you look confident! Also, if you have heavy bags, lighten the load and avoid backpacks, opting for messenger bags where you can strap it to your chest.

When sleeping right, opt to have a softer bed and avoid raising your head too high on pillows. Don’t let your back curve up!

Exercise
Exercise is known to help with your back pain. While bed rest may seem like a good solution, moving wisely is better. Start moving more and go for exercises that help most with back pain, such as walking, yoga, or swimming. Remember to focus on better posture here.

Massage
Who would refuse a massage? This is known to help improve your pain and functioning, especially for those who have chronic back pain. At least one massage a week for two to three months can do wonders. You can have someone give a good back massage, or opt to go for a licensed specialist, who knows how to handle your body pain better.

back massageBetter Food
While calcium helps with strong bones, vitamin K from dark leafy greens can help with the calcium deposit, which helps make it denser and your body stronger! So opt to have more broccoli or spinach on your plate, which lessens back injuries.

Shoulder Joint Pain

shoulder joint painIf you suffer from pain on your shoulders, particularly between your shoulder blades, then there’s nothing to worry about, as it is a common condition and many people suffer from it.

But that doesn’t mean it’s something you should bear for the rest of your life!

The dull or shooting pain may be caused by:

  • Heavy lifting
  • Poor posture and sitting for long periods
  • Exercise or other strenuous activities
  • Poor sleeping position
  • Injuries
  • Back problems such as scoliosis
  • Osteoarthritis or other inflammatory diseases

Rarely is it a serious condition, though if you suffer from other symptoms other than shoulder pain, then it’s best to consult a doctor to diagnose the condition properly.

To remedy shoulder pain, you can do the following home remedies and start doing better habits, such as:

Exercise
To help strengthen the shoulder, abdomen, and back muscles, focus on strength exercises such as pull-ups, sit-ups, or pushups, which help with the pain. Stretching can also provide better mobility and relieve the pain. Here’s one shoulder stretch to follow:

1. Cross an arm over the body.

2. Use the other arm and pull the elbow of the outstretched arms towards the chest.

3. Hold the pose for ten seconds and let go, doing the same with the other arm.

Change of Diet
Avoid foods that can trigger inflammation and worsen the pain, such as processed food or sugar. Instead, opt for a lot of fruits and vegetables, as well as those high in omega-3 fatty acids. Taking in turmeric can also help, drinking a liquid mixture of one teaspoon of turmeric powder with a cup of milk mixed with honey.

fruits and vegetablesRest
If you have shoulder pain from an injury, then it’s best to rest it out and avoid any form of lifting or exercise until the pain subsides. You may want to have a gentle massage as well, which helps release the stress and tension.

Ensure that while resting, you keep a good posture, which is a straight body and with relaxed shoulders. Avoid hunching to your computer when sitting, as well as keeping your eyes too close to the computer and slouching. Again, keep a straight back.

Epsom Salt Bath
The magnesium found in Epsom Salt can help reduce your shoulder pain while improving blood circulation and stress. Fill your bathtub with warm water and add two cups of Epsom salt, stirring it well. Soak in the bath for about half an hour, with your shoulders fully submerged. Do this three times a week.

Elbow Joint Pain

elbow joint painA lot of you may not have heard of elbow pain as it is less prone to damage compared to other parts of your body.

It is mainly caused by overuse of it, may it be from too much of strenuous exercises down to arthritis or other inflammatory diseases. It can also be caused by injuries such as a broken arm or dislocated elbow, as well as stress fractures or strains from wrist or arm movements, especially when using a repetitive hand.

So if you happen to suffer from elbow pain, here are the following remedies and habits you can follow to stop and prevent it from happening again:

Stretches
Stretching your elbow can help with mobility and get the blood flowing, which will relieve the pain in the long run. Stretch the elbow and wrist flexors to loosen up those parts of your arm, which lessens the risk of damage to the joints. Extend the elbow and wrist, using your opposite hand to pull it. Do the same with the other hand, keeping the same stretch for a few seconds.

Exercise and General Movement
Avoid lifting objects that are too heavy. Also, do not overuse one arm and do repeated movements, as this injures your tendons. If you are lifting too heavy or overuse only one arm, which causes strain, you may want to ask your employment agency for a different job assignment or to lessen the intensity of it.

When exercising, always stretch before and after, using the correct techniques and focusing on good posture. Also, wear protective gear to avoid any injuries in case of accidents.

Rest
If the reason why you have elbow pain is due to an injury, then it’s best that you rest your elbow, using the other one to do any daily errands. But of course, avoid straining the other arm!

Avoid using unsteady objects and to always wear a seatbelt, taking safety precautions before traveling. Avoid anything that may cause accidents or injuries to your elbow or any part of your body.

Hips Joint Pain

hips joint pain

Hip pain is common for older people, as it is a sign of aging or a symptom of arthritis.

It is usually caused by certain diseases or conditions with affect your body, particularly the lower back.

Some of the most common causes of hip pain include:

  • Tight muscles from poor posture
  • Injuries or soreness from exercise and daily activities
  • Sleeping on bad mattresses
  • Osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions
  • Pain from surgery

Fortunately, the common causes of hip pain such as overuse or sleeping on bad mattresses can easily be fixed. Just follow any of these remedies and healthy habits:

Icing Joints
One of the most effective ways to relieve muscle or joint pain would be to ice your hips to reduce the inflammation. Have an ice pack and place it on the affected area, leaving it for about 15 minutes a few times per day. Make sure it’s wrapped in a towel.

Heat Therapy
If ice or cold packs don’t work for you, heating your joints can soothe the pain. For those who don’t have a heat pack or hot pad, you can take a warm bath or shower. If you have bursitis, do not do this method.

heat therapyRest
Again, for those who have pain due to injuries, then it’s best to get proper rest for about two to three days. When sleeping, make sure that you use the right bedding, soft enough to feel comfortable but supportive. Also, the proper position is crucial, with ample support on your neck and lower back.

Exercise and Losing Weight
The more you weight, the more weight your hips will carry and support, which may end up straining the area. Losing weight and gaining muscles can help reduce the stress in the cartilage and joints. Start off with low-impact exercises that do not have you jump or inflame your muscles. Having a diet rich in fruits and vegetables will also have you lose unwanted weight while helping reduce inflammation as well.

Knees Joint Pain

Have you ever felt knee pain from standing too long or walking up stairs?

If your knee feels sensitive or swollen, then it may be due to some factors:

  • Physical conditions that inflame your knees, such as osteoarthritis or bursts
  • Injuries from exercise or sprains and strains from overuse or not stretching muscles properly
  • Infections
  • Overweight

To help you reduce the pain and keep it away, here are some tips you can follow:

Losing Weight
If you are overweight, then it’s best to maintain a healthy weight and lose the extra pounds that aggravate your knees. Start exercising, which won’t only help burn calories but reduce the knee pain with its range of motion and flexibility. Be careful not to overdo it though, stretching your knees before each exercise. I recommend you to try Tai Chi to help with your balance and flexibility while increasing your range of motion for better knee support.

RICE
Rice stands for: Rest Ice Compression Elevation. Take a rest and apply cold compresses to your knee. Wrap it around with a compression bandage to avoid swelling, though not too tight to cut off blood circulation. Also, have the foot elevated at all times, as much as possible.

rest ice compression elevationShoes
Do not wear too many heels. Instead, opt for cushioned and flat shoes that help support your feet. Also, as much as possible, avoid standing too much and stay seated. If you do stand, do not do so on hard surfaces. Also, the weight should be properly distributed on both legs.

Sleeping Position
Avoid sleeping on your side, as this may add pressure to one of your knees. Instead, sleep on your back. To prevent you from rolling to the side, have pillows on both sides of your body. If you do lie on the side, have a pillow between your knees.

Wrists, Hands, and Finger Pain

finger joint painIf you have hand pain, then chances are that the main cause here would be arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or repetitive motion injuries. Using one hand too much will cause strain and chronic pain. Other causes can be forms retain conditions (like diabetes), which causes damage to the nerves, which results in pain, tingling, or numbness in the hands.

The main symptoms of hand pain would be swelling, stiffness, pain, or a limited range of motion. You may experience only one or all of these symptoms.

Fortunately, there are ways on how you can treat it and prevent flare-ups, especially if you suffer from arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome. Here are methods you can follow:

Healthy Habits
Always maintain a healthy weight and avoid smoking, which helps reduce your chances of getting osteoarthritis. It’s best to continue a healthy diet free from processed food and more on natural foods, as well as exercise that has you burn calories without adding too much strain or causing a huge risk of injury.

Hand Exercises
Hand exercises can help with your mobility and joint function, keeping it flexible and free from pain. Follow these exercises:

1. Make a fist, with your thump outside the hand. Avoid squeezing it.  Let it go, then make a fist again, doing this ten times each with both hands.

2. Bend each of your fingers, holding each bend for a few seconds before moving it back up and bending the next finger.

3. Press your hand flat on the table with the palm down. Start with the thumb, lifting one finger slowly at a time. Hold it for a few seconds, then lower it, completing the sequence with all the fingers of both hands.

Work-Related Issues
If you have a job that requires straining your hands, such as pushing or pulling objects, or lifting heavy items, make sure to take the precautions. For those who type or use the computer all day, keep the proper posture and if needed, invest in a social keyboard or cushion for your wrists to stay comfortable.

If the flare-ups continue and are caused by your line of work or sports, then it’s best to reevaluate it and see what you can do to lessen the intensity. You may want to speak with management about it.

Ankles, Feet, and Toe Pain

ankle pain

Many people, if not everyone, have had problems with their foot, toe, or ankle before. Sometimes, it would sting or burn, or it can feel numb or stiff. The usual culprit here would be from age or injury, especially if you exercise or do strenuous activities. Joint pain from arthritis or bursitis, or feet conditions such as plantar fasciitis, are also the main culprits.

To help relieve your joints and prevent it from swelling up again, here are some tips you can follow:

Removing Jewelry
If ever your feet or toes swell up, then remove any form of jewelry such as toe rings, anklets, or other accessories on your toes or ankles before it worsens. It will be more difficult to remove the more it swells, which may cause issues with blood circulation. And that won’t help with the pain!

RICE
Like what I mentioned earlier, rest and keep your feet elevated with ice packs and a compressed bandage to reduce the pain and swelling.

Taking a Break
You may want to take a break from your usual exercise routine. Avoid running through the pain, as this would damage your foot more. You may also want to change the routine according to how your feet feel. Opt for low-impact exercises such as swimming, and always stretch and use the right gear before you begin training.

Massage
A good foot massage or spa will help relieve the pain, relaxing the feet and promoting good blood circulation all throughout.

Shoes
Make sure that you always wear comfortable and supportive shoes. If you have plantar fasciitis, you may want to consider using orthotic shoes for arch support.

The Nine Medicines to Treat Arthritis

arthritrisArthritis is one of the most common conditions that fire up your joints, making it difficult to move or walk properly. Fortunately, there are many types of medicines and supplements you can try out to treat your condition. Here are the nine best types of treatments to choose and try out:

Glucosamine
This is known to help with osteoarthritis pain, protecting your cartilage from deterioration. It can also help your joints move even better than before. The supplement is best for moderate or severe arthritis, having little effect on those with mild arthritis pain.

But with that being said, there have been studies in Europe that shows the positive effects of how it treats arthritis, easing the pain.

Boswellia Serrate
This is also known as Indian frankincense, which has properties that are both anti-inflammatory and analgesic. It relieves pain and may also help in preventing cartilage loss while inhibiting the autoimmune process. Studies have shown that its extract, which is known as Loxin 5, has significantly improved osteoarthritis pain and function in just a week. Another study has shown that it slowed down cartilage damage after taking in for three months.

Boswellia SerrataS-adenosyl-L-methionine
Also known as SAM-e, this chemical would occur naturally in the body and is known to be helpful in treating osteoarthritis. There has been research that shows that it is as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

But do take note that you need to consult with your doctor before taking SAM-e, as it is known to have a few minor side effects and interfere with other types of medication, such as antidepressants and drugs that treat Parkinson’s disease.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Yes, fat is healthy, especially when it is Omega-3! Strong evidence shows that these fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects that treat arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Those who take it can lower their doses on other medications to treat their conditions.

While you can find Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of supplements such as fish oil, you can also take in a healthy diet of it. Opt to have cold-water fish and plant sources of the fatty acid, which comes from flaxseed oil.

Avocado-soybean Unsaponifiables, which is from avocado (a healthy source of fat!), has also been known to help with inflammation. It works through blocking pro-inflammatory chemicals while preventing the deterioration of synovial cells and regenerating connective tissues. Studies show that those who take this supplement helped reduce the progression of osteoarthritis, particularly in the hips and knees. It also reduced the use of placebo or other anti-inflammatory drugs.

avocado soybeanCapsicum Frutescens
Also known as Capsaicin, this reduces a pain transmitter in your body. It has pain-relieving properties that have been proven in a lot of studies. It has shown that people who do take it experience a reduction in pain of up to 50% in just three weeks of using it.

You can find this supplement in the form of a topical cream, in patches, or as a gel.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the best supplements and nutrients one needs for their body, no matter what condition! It doesn’t only help with your immune system, but its antioxidant-rich properties can also help build connective tissue that may help in lessening arthritis pain. There have been researches that show those who take less vitamin C in their diet are more likely to develop arthritis as compared to those who have a diet filled with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

This is why I would recommend people to consume their vitamin C while having a healthy diet filled with a balance of vitamins and nutrients. So go start consuming more oranges and citrus fruits!

Ginger
Ginger in its fresh or dried form has been known to help with joint pain while reducing inflammation for those who have arthritis. It is similar to ibuprofen and COX-2 inhibitors, lessening inflammation. A study has shown that taking ginger can help reduce the pain in the knees after just three months, while it helps hip and knee pain as long as it is taken twice a day.

But just like vitamin C, I would recommend that you get your daily dose of ginger in its true form rather than supplements, as it can interact with blood thinners and aggravate your gallbladder.

ginger joint painDevil’s Claw
While it has an interesting name, this South African herb means serious business! This supplement is known to help with your pain and inflammation. It inhibits the tumor necrosis factor, which is a target of RA drugs. The supplement also has compounds that can benefit the immune system, reducing the symptoms of inflammation. A study has shown that it reduces joint pain and swelling by up to 50% or more as compared to using placebo.

While further studies still need to be made, it’s still a recommendation to take it. But do consult your doctor before doing so, as it can interfere with medication.

The Six Exercises to Help Your Arthritis

Besides medicine to treat your arthritis, healthy diet and exercise are crucial to keeping your joints strong and moving well. While I do not suggest intense exercises that flare up your body, there are gentle and easy exercises to start off with. Here are the six best ones to try out:

Chair Stand
I would recommend the exercise for those who would like leg muscles while helping you keep away the joint pain in the legs. It’s also great for those who are usually sitting throughout the day during work or school.

To do this, use a normal-height chair, standing up and sitting down. But instead of simply plopping down, control your motion and use your arms to assist the movement if necessary. For those who find this a bit hard, use a chair with a higher height. For those who think it’s too easy, go for chairs with lower heights. Do this exercise with 10 to 15 reps per day. You’ll notice that the stronger your legs get, the less need there is to use your arms.

Yoga
This is beneficial for everyone, no matter how tender or swollen your joints get! It helps with promoting a healthy immune system while reducing joint inflammation. It also helps with maintaining your mobility and movement from the gentle stretches and poses you make.

Start off with beginner poses and work your way up as you begin to be more in control with your movement and breathing. Once you have mastered your flexibility and motion in the poses, start to introduce your body to more, focusing on your position, posture, and your breathing to stay calm. I would not recommend hot yoga and flow, as it increases the heat and pressure on joints.

yoga for joint painWalking
Walking is a beneficial exercise that anyone can do, even those who suffer from very painful joints (unless it gets too intense). This strengthens your bones and is an aerobic activity that burns calories. Plus, because you are out of the house or office and get a fresh breath of air, it gives you time to think and relax. In turn, the less stress can help reduce your pain.

I recommend you to walk at a moderate-to-hard level, which is about 60 to 85% of your heart rate. Walk three to five days a week for half an hour each session. You can start off with ten minutes at first if you have just begun walking as exercise. Change up your routine and scenery every few weeks, as you build endurance and would want to explore your surroundings more to avoid boring yourself!

Cycling
I would recommend cycling for those who have feet or able problems, as it works on your legs without adding too much pressure in the lower body. It avoids the pound and grind of high-intensity exercises, though it gives you the similar awesome cardiovascular benefits, which include treating inflammation and optimum heart health. I recommend you to do this two to three times a week, starting off with ten minutes and building it up until you can do half an hour per bike ride.

Stretching
Anyone will be able to benefit from stretching, as long as you avoid going overboard from it. You can stretch anywhere, whether you are at home or in the office. Start off by stretching your upper body and working your way down. Focus on the body parts that have the most pain. For example, hand stretches are great for your fingers or palms. To do this, spread your fingers very wide and then make a fist, repeating the procedure and squeezing it. You can also try using a foam or stress ball for better control.

Zumba
If you want to break a sweat and burn more calories without hurting your joints, then try this dance-inspired exercise, which is unique and different! It’s also very fun to do and helps you learn coordination and balance with your body. Plus, who doesn’t like dancing as an exercise? It has a high intensity, gives you more fluidity in your movements while strengthening your joints and muscles. Start with tang classes twice a week, learning the choreography and focusing more on your posture rather than learning all the fast movements immediately. Take it slow to avoid overdoing it and putting too much pressure on your muscles.

zumba for joint painIn Conclusion

I know how bad joint pain feels, but you don’t need to worry about suffering from it anymore! Through these simple life changes and habits to follow, you’ll be able to move freely and without the constant pain keeping you from work or play. And it doesn’t even cost a penny!

I hope that this article on how to relieve your joints helped you become more knowledgeable about what to do to stay free of pain and focus more on other points of life. So don’t wait any longer and start practicing any of these simple and effective habits today!

If you have any questions or would like to share your tips and experiences on how to relieve your joints, then comment down below. I would love to hear what you have to think.

Resources and Further Reading

http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/9-supplements-arthritis-7.php

https://www.everydayhealth.com/arthritis-pictures/8-supplements-for-arthritis-pain.aspx#08

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20706071,00.html#arthritis-workouts-0

https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/elbow-pain/basics/causes/sym-20050874

https://www.everydayhealth.com/hip-pain/five-common-causes-of-hip-pain-in-women.aspx

https://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-knee-pain#Outlook7

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tc/toe-foot-and-ankle-problems-noninjury-topic-overview#1

https://www.healthline.com/health/shoulder-blade-pain#overview1

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tc/elbow-injuries-prevention#1

Categories
Joint Health

10 Daily Habits To Reduce Joint Pain

If you thought that you could do nothing about your joint pain (also known by names like chronic pain or arthritis pain) and had to live on painkillers to subside the effect, you are mistaken. Some simple habits, like the ones described below, can help you reduce joint pain to a great extent.

Have a check on your weight

Most of the times, the chronic pain in your knees or joints is because of the huge load that they have to carry (your body weight). Make a conscious effort to shed off the extra flab with the help of strict diet, physical exercises, and medications (necessary if you are extremely obese). Your osteoarthritis will be reduced to a large extent when you knock off those extra kilos.

Relax well

One of the major reasons for joint pain is tension. Ensure that you remove the stress from your body and mind through relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga. They help in reducing your joint pain.

Limit alcohol consumption

When you drink too much of alcohol, your sleep patterns are disturbed, thereby increasing your joint pain to a great extent. Drop that alcohol from your lifestyle and see positive effects on your chronic pain.

Healthy diet

When you eat a healthy diet full of nutrients, it can help in keeping your blood sugar levels, cholesterol and weight under control. This has a positive impact on your chronic pain.

Physical exercises

When you have joint pain, you may find it difficult to walk or lead an active life. However, doctors advise you to take the challenge and regularly walk at least for about 15 to 30 minutes every day.

Take enough breaks from repetitive actions

When you do the same ask every day without taking proper breaks in between, it can cripple your body and increase pain in your spinal cord, knees, thighs, shoulders, etc. It is very important that you try and break the routine. Take a five-minute break for every hour or so from your work, to get some relief.

Include healthy fats

Most people make the mistake of avoiding fats altogether from their meals, in a bid to eat healthily. However, there are some healthy fats like Omega-3 that can provide you immense relief against arthritis and joint pain. Consume these anti-inflammatory fats in general doses every day (at least 2000mg) to control joint pain.

Vitamin D

When you don’t have enough Vitamin D, it weakens your bones and increases joint pain. Sunlight is a natural source of Vitamin D.  You need to walk in the morning sun for about twenty minutes daily and eat a log of eggs to reduce chronic pain in your bones.

Socialize

Participate in social groups and interact with people suffering from joint pains. Know more about their remedies and solutions to have a healthy brainstorming session. This will help you in taking care of yourself better than before.

Never skip pills

If you are already under medications for joint pain, ensure that you don’t skip any dose, even if you begin to feel better. This can aggravate your joint pain to a great extent.

Aren’t these tips quite simple? It’s all about not sulking in your pain and coming out openly to accept the challenges in front of you so that you can reduce your pain to a great extent.

Categories
Joint Health

Office Workers’ Back Pain – Fix it now!

back painStudents, bankers, office workers and others working white collar jobs at some point in their life will complain about back pain and irritated shoulders. After working long hours behind the desk and even attempting to change position every once in a while, people still get these complaints. The main overarching common ground all these activities have in common is that they result in long hours of working behind a desk. How does seating position affect your back? Can you limit bad posture? And could buying a proper office chair eliminate the issue?

Individuals in their studies or working desk jobs spend the majority of their day behind a desk. Even though this is the case, people tend to set their chair too low in comparison to their desk, which results in a posture that is not ideal for your upper body and back. Generally, this results in a hunched posture, looking down onto your screen, especially so if you’re working with a laptop. The most common causes of back pain in an office scenario results from awkward posture, working with your arms in a less than ideal position above shoulder level, chronic stress placed on your shoulders (even in small amounts for a prolonged period of time can turn out to be detrimental), and ‘static loading’ (when you hold your body in a certain position for a prolonged period of time straining the muscles).

One of the most obvious solutions to this is to adopt correct posture. Set your chair to the correct height, this is the point at which you can comfortably rest your hands on the keyboard without having to hunch up over it. Find a position in which you can comfortably keep your shoulders back in a relaxed position. Setting your computer monitor to a higher level so you do not have to bend your head to look at it also goes a long way in correcting faulty posture. When this change is first implemented the body needs to get used to it first, therefore thought needs to go into the deliberate positioning of your body and limbs. Once the cause of the shoulder and/or lower back pain has been corrected, other small tips could help prevent future injury. Taking frequent small breaks to relieve your body from its static position, or doing some stretches to change your position slightly goes a long way in office environment activity health!

The main reason behind lower back pain in office workers is usually the stress their position takes on the surrounding muscles. To prevent the pain individuals should adopt a comfortable and correct upright seating position. Buying a proper office chair and setting this to the right height would go a long way in correcting posture. Take frequent active short breaks that require you to stand up and change your position, perhaps even consider stretching systematically in a free space during your lunch break if your office offers such a place. This would help relax your back muscles and get them ready to work for the remainder of the day!

Did you know that back pain could be caused by digestive problems?

References

“Avoid Shoulder Pain At Work”. 2017. Healthline. http://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-pain/shoulder-pain-at-work#overview1.

“How To Survive Sitting All Day”. 2017. Nerd Fitness. https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/how-to-survive-sitting-all-day/.

Maher, Brian. 2017. “Why Your Desk Job Is Causing You So Much Pain”. Philadelphia Magazine. http://www.phillymag.com/be-well-philly/2015/01/14/office-work-pain/.

Categories
Joint Health

Basketball and Ankle Sprains

sprained ankleSprained ankles are the most common injury in a variety of different sports including football, volleyball and tennis. It occurs more often in basketball than in any of these other sports. In a study conducted by Drakos et al (2010) identifying the different injuries sustained in the National Basketball Association (NBA) over a 17-year period, ankle injuries were found to be the most common in occurrence and one of the top reasons athletes had to sit out of games.

Ankle sprains involve the stretching or tearing of at least one of the ligaments around the ankle. In basketball this often happens when the player rolls over the outside of his or her ankle causing what is typically referred to as a lateral ankle sprain. The lateral ankle sprain accounted for a total of 13.2% of all injuries in the research conducted by Drakos et al (2010).

Ankle sprains are diagnosed and split by the degree of severity; from a stable ankle with a stretched ligament (grade 1), a slightly unstable ankle with a partially torn ligament (grade 2), to a thoroughly unstable one with a completely torn ligament (Grade 3). Symptoms range from mild to extreme pain, limited movement to extreme instability and difficulty in walking, swelling and bruising.

Depending on the severity of the sprain treatment differs. Usually standard initial treatment includes rest, ice packs, pain killers and swelling reducing drugs, elastic wrap to limit swelling in the initial stages and an ankle brace to offer the ankle some extra support. As the ankle begins to heal, part of the treatment process includes specific ankle targeted exercises, and general exercises to gradually bring back full range of motion and ankle strength so the injured basket-baller can resume match play.

To give a specific recent example, Matt Barnes, basketball player for the Golden State Warriors, sprained his right ankle in the first half of a game against the Pelicans on the 8th of April. Since then he has not been used on the court, but he has been able to join in some of the team’s practice on the 24th of April, giving him a solid 2 weeks of rest for his sprained ankle. He will gradually be eased back into routine training to assure his ankle has fully healed and the surrounding muscles and ligaments have a chance to properly mend.

How to Prevent it?

A possible preventative tool to avoid getting a sprained ankle as easily is the use of ankle support devices (ASD). The use of ASDs was analysed amongst recreational, high-school, and university basketball players in research done by Cusimano et al (2013). The study found that players who had previously suffered from ankle injuries, and whose coaches enforced an ASD policy were more likely to wear ASDs than those who did not. This research concluded that basketball players at this level need to be educated on the severity of ankle injuries, and the benefits of the ASDs as it goes a long way to protect the ankle from sprain injuries. Reading articles such as this one, or looking at case studies of basket-ballers who have had to miss out on whole seasons in order to give their ankle rest would go a long way in that regard.

Conclusion

Basketball is a fast moving game which includes a lot of sudden direction changes. As such sprained ankles are a common occurrence in competitive as well as non-competitive circles. Considering this, more research should go into possible preventative methods and ankle stabilising equipment, as well as the educating of regular non-professional basketball players who are part of a team on the benefits of these devices as part of their game.

References

Cusimano, M., Faress, A., Luong, W., Amin, K., Eid, J., Abdelshaheed, T. and Russell, K. (2013). Factors Affecting Ankle Support Device Usage in Young Basketball Players. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 2(2), pp.22-31.

Drakos, M., Domb, B., Starkey, C., Callahan, L. and Allen, A. (2010). Injury in the National Basketball Association: A 17-Year Overview. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach.

Core Performance. (2017). How to Heal an Ankle Sprain. [online] Available at: http://www.coreperformance.com/knowledge/injury-pain/ankle-sprain.html [Accessed 29 Apr. 2017].

Rotoworld.com. (2017). Matt Barnes – Golden State Warriors – 2017 Player Profile – Rotoworld.com. [online] Available at: http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nba/892/matt-barnes [Accessed 29 Apr. 2017].

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Joint Health

The Effect of Running on the Onset of Osteoarthritis

OsteoarthritisOsteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common forms of arthritis affecting the knee and hip joints most recurrently in middle aged and older people. Studies have shown obesity, age, genetics and joint injuries influence one’s susceptibility to OA, yet are at odds on the relationship between running and the onset of OA.

The phrase “wear-and-tear” is traditionally used to refer and link to OA; this refers to the belief that OA is the wearing away of the cartilage, so the joint no longer has a (or has a reduced amount of) cushioning between the bones that can absorb the shock caused by movement and use. With this in mind, older studies also conclude that running increases the risk of OA. This conclusion seems logical given our simple summary of OA as running is a high impact sport causing stress on the joints involved and would gradually wear away at the cartilage.

Recent studies have argued otherwise, taking a different core position as well. OA is now seen in association with the whole joint, not just the wearing down of cartilage. A study by Lo et al (2017) did not include professional athletes and focused on voluntary runners in an attempt to make the study applicable to a wider population. In a sample size of 2,637 participants, the study concludes that running does not seem to lead to an increased risk of OA for casual ‘self-selected’ runners.

Although different conclusions have been drawn, experts have argued that this may be due to the different target groups of the various studies. Earlier studies focused on professional athletes and non-athletes in an attempt to get two extreme for their studies. Recent studies in an attempt to make their research more applicable have focused on samples from the population, so not professional athletes. On top of this the various studies have vastly different methodology as a study by Timmins, Leech, Batt and Edwards (2016) concludes, stating “Conflicting results may reflect methodological heterogeneity”. Therefore, the results cannot really be compared.

Research conducted by Guo-Xin Ni (2016) attempts to take into account the differences in people’s situations, methodology and various factors affecting other studies’ research pertaining to the development and prevention of running-related osteoarthritis. This paper identifies the differences in runners who are professionals (competitive runners), low- and moderate-level runners, and recreational runners. Competitive runners are more likely to have had a higher frequency of joint injuries, strenuous running experiences, and prolonged high-impact running all of which can be linked to an increased risk of OA. Ni (2016) clearly differentiates between professional competitive runners and recreational, low- and moderate-level runners. The stress the knee joints of a competitive runner undergo is more frequent and intense than those others do, therefore, non-competitive runners do not run these same increased risks.

Research is not yet conclusive as to the relationship between running and OA; as of yet literature does not have conclusive evidence to make a connection between recreational non-professional running and OA. If anything research supports casual running as a good way to increase an individual’s muscular strength, cardiovascular system, and overall health. This research outlining running’s benefits far outweighs the inconclusive findings linked to OA.

References

Lo, G., Driban, J., Kriska, A., McAlindon, T., Souza, R., & Petersen, N. et al. (2017). Is There an Association Between a History of Running and Symptomatic Knee Osteoarthritis? A Cross-Sectional Study From the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Arthritis Care & Research, 69(2), 183-191. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acr.22939

Ni, G. (2016). Development and Prevention of Running-Related Osteoarthritis. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 15(5), 342-349. http://dx.doi.org/10.1249/jsr.0000000000000294

Timmins, K., Leech, R., Batt, M., & Edwards, K. (2016). Running and Knee Osteoarthritis. The American Journal Of Sports Medicine, XX(X), 1-11.

Categories
Joint Health

Tendinitis: Risk Factors, Symptoms and Possible Treatment and Prevention Options

tendinitis pictureTendinitis is the inflammation of, as the name suggests, a tendon. Tendons are connective tissue linking the muscle to the bone, found near or around the different joints. Areas more susceptible to tendinitis include the upper shoulder and elbow, but, as tendinitis is considered an overuse injury, its position highly depends on what type of movements and activities an individual has been doing.

There are various possible causes and risk factors linked to tendinitis. The two main causes often attributed to tendinitis are repetitive low impact movements and sudden injury, both stemming from the excessive use of the joint around which the tendon is situated. Tennis elbow, golfers elbow, quarterback shoulder and jumpers knee are all forms of tendinitis named so because they commonly occur in individuals who do these activities.

Although tendinitis is often reported alongside examples of athletic risks and injuries, it can also result from other more daily activities and habits: possibly bad posture, which in turn could affect your walking habits as well, gardening, doing house hold chores, in short any activity involving a repetitive movement of specific muscles. Hai Lam, a professional gamer in League of Legends circles, was forced to retire from professional gaming in 2015 due to tendinitis in one of his forearm muscles. It affected his play so much that the only solution for him was to take a break from his work in the team. As many of you will probably know from your own gaming experience, or watching your son or daughter when they are behind the computer, the movements involved are not typically grand or high impact movements. This scenario is the perfect example of a case of tendinitis caused by small repetitive movements overusing the tendon rather than sudden injury.

Symptoms of tendinitis vary, but most often includes pain and joint stiffness. A burning sensation can occur as well as swelling, a red tint and in serious scenarios visible knots can appear near the inflamed tendon around the joint. If these symptoms are chronic, lasting more than 6 months, it is possibly tendinosis rather than tendinitis. In cases such as these or with the onset of acute pain call a doctor and arrange an appointment as home treatment is not advised.

The different prevention methods or possible cures for tendinitis are very traditional and simple for mild tendinitis. In order to prevent the sudden overuse of a muscle and ligament gradually build up your activity levels and take it slow, listen to your body. When you feel unpleasant pain other than the normal muscle soreness after an intense workout this is your body telling you to rest. If the joint is inflamed and/or swollen doctors often prescribe the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If a certain activity activates the pain, try to change your position or technique, if the pain persists this might be an indication that rest is required. In more extreme cases of chronic tendinitis, after doctor consultations and visits, laser therapy, or further enhanced methods of surgery might be required.

Tendinitis is painful, and can occur in any individual. In mild cases it is possible for rest and anti-inflammatory drugs to completely heal the tendinitis, as it is mainly an “overuse” issue. Just as Hai Lam had to retire from gaming for a time to allow his tendinitis to heal properly, it is important for individuals to avoid the various activities provoking the pain and allow their body to heal.

References

Best, J. (2017). Common Overuse Tendon Problems: A Review and Recommendations for Treatment – American Family Physician. Aafp.org. Retrieved 28 April 2017, from http://www.aafp.org/afp/2005/0901/p811.html

Brandham, R. (2017). The truth about tennis elbow | Tennismash. Tennismash. Retrieved 28 April 2017, from http://tennismash.com/2017/02/21/truth-tennis-elbow/

Etienne, J. (2017). Thank you Hai. Cloud9. Retrieved 28 April 2017, from http://cloud9.gg/news/thank-you-hai

Categories
Joint Health

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

 

sacroiliac joint dysfunctionThe sacroiliac (SI) joints are located near the bottom of the spine; they connect the sacrum with the iliac crest (pelvis) on either side. These joints have limited mobility, they help carry the weight of an individual’s upper body when standing, and aid in movements such as walking. According to research by Szadek et al (2009) and other previous studies conducted, 15-30% of all patients who come in for professional help (complaining specifically of lower back pain) suffer from SI joint dysfunction.

There are various causes for SI joint dysfunction including osteoarthritis, pregnancy, and conditions which alter the standard walking pattern of an individual can result in increased stress on the SI joint. If patients already have a lower back disorder this could also increase the risk of SI joint dysfunction as the body tries to adjust posture to minimize pain and therefore possibly place more stress on the joint. Two main overarching consequences from the various possible causes are said to trigger the pain; increased or decreased movement of the joint.

The most common symptoms of SI joint dysfunction include back pain, and possible pain along your buttocks, groin or upper back leg; the pain itself very rarely spreads down past your knee. This pain is generally felt when standing up, walking or even lying on one’s side for a prolonged period of time. Patient’s tend to feel relief when lying on their back. These symptoms are very general and can also be attributed to other mechanical issues in your back or body, therefore, patients who wish for an accurate diagnosis come in for further professional tests.

Professional diagnosis of SI joint dysfunction may include at its most preliminary stages X-rays to grasp the positioning of the bones in the area of pain and, as Arnbak et al (2016) suggest in their research, intra-articular injections with local anaesthetics, and a series of mobility tests to provoke the pain and try to isolate the cause and origin.

In a lot of cases, once the diagnosis has been made and the cause identified (if possible), treatment includes rest; individuals are advised to stop the activity which causes the pain. This is not always a realistic treatment option; as a pregnant individual cannot suddenly decide to stop being pregnant. Other treatment options include pain killers, an injection of cortisone to try and limit inflammation, and physical therapy. Physical therapy covers a range of different possible treatments including massage, stretching or stabilizing exercises to strengthen the muscles and ligaments surrounding the joint, correction of bad posture and even possibly advised exercises such as yoga to increase joint stability.

SI joint dysfunction cannot be self-diagnosed accurately, as the symptoms identified can also be attributed to other underlying causes. If you are experiencing severe pain refer to an expert for professional treatment and support (go directly to a physiotherapist if possible). Although treatment is often traditional and seemingly simple, it is targeted to your specific problem and therefore more effective than any home remedy internet articles sometimes attempt to suggest.

References

Arnbak, B., Jurik, A., Schiottz-Christensen, B., Van Der Wurff, P. and Jensen, T. (2016). Electronic resources login page – University of Groningen Library. [online] Tandfonline.com.proxy-ub.rug.nl. Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com.proxy-ub.rug.nl/doi/full/10.1080/03009742.2016.1184308?scroll=top&needAccess=true [Accessed 29 Apr. 2017].

Catherine Burt Driver, M. (2017). Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction (SI Joint Pain) Symptoms, Treatment, Causes – What is the treatment for sacroiliac joint dysfunction? – MedicineNet. [online] MedicineNet. Available at: http://www.medicinenet.com/sacroiliac_joint_pain/page7.htm [Accessed 29 Apr. 2017].

Fortin, J. (1993). Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction. Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, 3(3), pp.31-43.

Steven G. Yeomans, D. (2017). Treatment Options for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction. [online] Spine-health. Available at: http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/sacroiliac-joint-dysfunction/treatment-options-sacroiliac-joint-dysfunction [Accessed 29 Apr. 2017].

Szadek, K., van der Wurff, P., van Tulder, M., Zuurmond, W. and Perez, R. (2009). Diagnostic Validity of Criteria for Sacroiliac Joint Pain: A Systematic Review. The Journal of Pain, 10(4), pp.354-368.