Tips to Take Care of Your Joint Health
To take care of your joint health you need to know that the system that allows you to move – the locomotor system – is very complex. It’s made up of bones, joints, and muscles, in addition to tendons and ligaments. Your locomotor system functions to allow you to move your body, and this is achievable thanks to your joints.
When your brain gives the order to contract muscles, voluntarily or not, they pull on your bones. In this way they start a mechanism and joint function, causing movement.
Every day doctors diagnose many inflammatory diseases that affect joint health. The prevalence of these diseases increases with age, with osteoarthritis and osteoporosis being the most common conditions.
Symptoms and diagnosis of joint diseases
The main symptom of diseases that affect your joint health is joint pain, which is sometimes accompanied by inflammation and deformation. In some cases, they can limit the movement of the affected joints, or cause rigidity and a loss of your range of motion.
A specialist makes a diagnosis based on your symptoms, and if necessary, they can complete it with tests like blood and urine tests, x-rays, and joint ultrasounds. Some joint diseases, with proper diagnosis and treatment, can be completely controlled. However, other conditions like osteoarthritis are chronic and difficult to control.
Risk factors for joint pain
There are some factors that predispose you to suffer from these pains, and which you can take some precautions for. However, there are others that you can’t influence.
From a genetic point of view, middle-aged women are more likely than men to suffer these pains. However, it’s not clear if the relationship is just genetic, or if there’s a hormonal component too.
Obesity is one of the factors that you can change. Being overweight is a cause of joint pain in some cases, and in others it’s a consequence. On the one hand, obesity overloads your joints. On the other hand, it can be a consequence of joint pain because the pain makes moving harder.
The type of work you do can cause you to overuse some joints. Competitive sports are also related to different afflictions, depending on the sport you play.
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How can you take care of your joint health?
You can prevent some diseases by adopting healthy habits. In this way you can affect certain risk factors that are modifiable. Here are a few tips:
Your diet is fundamental. A diet with enough calcium, along with low-impact exercise, can help you to prevent osteoporosis and improve your movement.
In addition to your diet, it’s important to avoid a sedentary life and do exercise. That way you’ll be able to alleviate your pain, improve your joint mobility, strengthen your muscles, stimulate bone growth, and improve your sleep.
3. Posture changes
You should avoid bad posture, including the following:
- Spending too much time on your feet: prolonged standing
- Spending a long time sitting or lying down
- Not sitting with your back straight and supported by a backrest
- Using unbalanced weights when weightlifting
- Bending your back when you pick things up off the floor
- Activities that cause an overload like walking for a long time on irregular ground
4. Proper footwear
It’s important to wear large, comfortable shoes, and preferably with insoles. Don’t wear high heels; high heels promote degenerative changes in your foot and knee joints. However, neither do we recommend totally flat shoes.
How to alleviate joint problems
Sometimes, to reduce pain and inflammation in your joints, you’ll need medication, like analgesics and anti-inflammatory medicine. In some more serious cases, depending on your doctor’s advice, a corticosteroid injection could be useful.
You can also use cold compresses for acute inflammation, or a hot one for stiff muscles. These non-invasive techniques can help your mobility.
Conclusions about joint health
Diseases related to joint health are common. Now that we have a higher life expectancy and our habits promote excess weight and obesity, they occur more frequently.
It’s important to adopt healthy habits, like regular exercise, a balanced diet, proper footwear, and good postures. You can change these risk factors to improve your quality of life and prolong the useful life of your joints.