Joint pain is a common ailment felt by many. The most common type of joint pain is osteoarthritis, affecting around 8.5 million people in the UK. As people age, this becomes more common and is more likely to happen if a person has previously had an injury. Additionally, sometimes the body’s immune system attacks the joints in conditions such as arthritis and psoriasis-related arthritis. What is joint pain, what changes can a person make to relieve the pain and what exercise can a person do with joint pain?
Joints enable our body to move
When it comes to the causes of joint pain, Doctor Stillman explained: “Joints enable our body to move.
“Two or more bones meet as a hinge or ball and socket and the muscles around them cause them to move. The touching ends of the bones are covered in cartilage, a softer but very smooth surface, the joint is encased in a capsule and filled with lubricating fluid.
“Anything that interferes with this process can be painful. The most common causes are an injury that directly damages these structures, or one further away that misaligns the bones.
“Excessive or repeated stress that causes the cartilage to wear faster than it can be replaced can inflame the joint, accelerating the damage.
“More rarely, general conditions that cause repeated or longer term inflammation of the tissues in and around the joint can damage it. In short, a joint is a well-designed mechanical structure designed for a lifetime of trouble-free movement.”
When it comes to changes a person can make to their lifestyle to ease the pain felt in joints, Doctor Stillman suggested: “Joints are designed to move. Exercise helps with joint pain, but you must be careful not to put additional strain on problematic joints.
“Start with movement that doesn’t put your weight on the joints such as swimming or water aerobics. Strengthening the muscles through this will help protect the joint.
“After exercising, both heat and cold can relive any pain. A warm bath or shower in the morning is worth trying, as is an electric blanket or warm ht water bottle in bed.”
Nine ways to ensure joint health:
Keep moving to maintain and improve joint health
- Protect your joints
- Maintain an ideal weight
- Do low-impact exercise
- Strengthen the muscles
- Use a range of motion exercises to enhance flexibility
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet
- Consume vitamin D and calcium
- Stop smoking
When it comes to treatment of joint pain, therapies and remedies are a good choice, however, the gold standard is something that has been shown to work effectively and to be safe.
“Natural remedies are not classified as drugs and so their manufacturers have no obligation to research and test them for effectiveness.
“Ginger in your diet has been used for centuries for pain relief and recent research has identified gingerols benefits in the same areas over the counter anti inflammatory medicines target,” said Doctor Stillman.
You should speak with your GP about other methods for easing joint pain and what exercise is best for you.
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