Bone, being a living tissue, continually renews itself, with old bone replaced by new. During adulthood, bones stop growing, entering a maintenance phase. Key vitamins such as vitamins K and D, as well as calcium, are needed to keep the bones healthy. However, many people are positive for rheumatoid factors (1). This means that they could develop some form of rheumatoid disease (ranging from autoimmune diseases to rheumatoid arthritis). However, arthritis is the focus of this article. Inflammation is involved: what is supposed to protect the bones and joints becomes the enemy, starting to damage the joints and bones to the point where bones may become deformed. Medical professionals, such as specialist rheumatologists (2), then become key in managing the disease. That said, the affected person should take ownership of the condition, working to manage joint health from day to day. The main idea is to take pressure off the joints, avoiding stiffness.
1. Watch your weight
You should place the least amount of pressure on your weight-bearing joints (hips, knees and back). If you are overweight, pressure on the joints is increased. For each pound gained, you add equal to four times the normal pressure on your knees. Simply by losing weight you can remove pressure on the joints (3).
Being your ideal weight is the best for your body, more so your joints: you should place the least amount of pressure on your joints. Speak to a dietician if you wish to lose some weight. A dietician can devise a diet plan for you.
2. Exercise to maintain healthy joints
The benefits of exercise
Besides that exercise can help you lose some weight, it can help elevate your heart rate and reduce joint swelling. However, aerobic exercise is great for building up a sweat. Yoga can also offer to strengthen your muscles, releasing tension from your shoulders, while improving your balance and flexibility (4). Another benefit of exercise is that it helps you to move. Less movement leads to joint stiffness. However, don’t overdo it. Gradually work up the exercise level, and be patient.
Build muscle to support your joints
Strengthening your muscles around your joints provides added support for the joints. Weight training will also help to build muscle. However, it is important to do the exercises correctly to avoid injury. Building up your core is essential. Having strong abdominals and back muscles will help your balance and reduce your chances of falling and injuring your joints (5).
Training regularly not only assists blood flow, you can build lean muscle and strengthen your core, which provides joint support. Just don’t overdo it. If you are unsure, speak to a personal trainer about a program you can follow.
3. Healthy eating for healthy joints
The best option is to follow a healthy eating plan taking in the minerals and vitamins your body needs to maintain healthy bones. Good sources of calcium are kale, milk, and fortified foods such as soy. Don’t forget about vitamin D (6). Although we should get enough from sunlight exposure, this doesn’t always happen. Dairy products can offer a source of vitamin D, however, they offer only a small amount (7). Taking the active form of vitamin D, D3, may be the best option for preventing bone loss. Other vitamins that are important for healthy joints include antioxidants such as vitamin C.
A healthy diet should be standard. You should take in the vitamins and minerals your body needs to maintain healthy joints.
4. Use little tricks to make your life easier if you have arthritis
Arthritis sufferers may find certain routine tasks difficult, such as opening a tightly closed jar, or even squeezing toothpaste out of its tube. Such activities can place stress on the joints. Try the following (8):
- Use a paperclip to squeeze the toothpaste out of its tube.
- Use a teaspoon to open soda cans.
- Use a rubber band around a jar to give you grip and reduce the pressure on your wrists.
- Use scissors to open packets.
- Use fabric shopping bags instead of plastic bags so there is less pressure on your wrists, fingers, and elbows.
- Add Epsom salts to your warm bath water to ease swollen and tender joints.
Ease the pressure on your joints by using little tricks, avoiding injuries to your joints, while maintaining your independence for longer.
5 Add supplements to your diet
Taking dietary supplements will help ensure that you get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs (9). However, there are supplements on the market that are as effective as some painkiller medications, for instance, turmeric. Other supplements that can help with joint pain are omega-3 and glucosamine (10).
Supplements can support your joints by correcting problems and reducing the symptoms, such as stiffness, pain and swelling. Some of the best natural ingredients to support bone strength and density are L-glutamic acid, L-cysteine, rutin, turmeric, holy basil, ginger, white willow, glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and boswellia, to name a few.
What can you do to ease joint pain?
As you age, there will be changes to your body and your joints. To maintain optimal joint health, a good diet and regular exercise will give best results. However, once you become aware that there may be a problem with your joints, do consult a rheumatologist or a specialist physician: you may have a form of arthritis, an autoimmune disease, or a deficiency that could negatively affect the health of your joints. In this case, speak to a health professional about which supplements you can safely take with prescription pain and anti-inflammatory medication. Some supplements will not be indicated. Prescribed medication should ease the pain and reduce the inflammation that could damage the joints.
Our Ultimate Take Home Message
The bottom line is that each one of us is different: some already at this stage have joint damage. Those with healthy joints can maintain joint health for longer by eating correctly, exercising, and limiting the stress on their joints. However, sometimes conditions such as arthritis affect the joints. Joint pain must then be addressed, while attempting to preserve the remaining joint health. The cause of the inflammation should be investigated by visiting your doctor to ensure that your disease management is effective.