At one point or another, everyone experiences joint pain. It can be caused by a variety of different things, injury, disease (such as arthritis), bad diet, even exercise.
Since joints act as a connection between bones, they allow us to move, hold an upright posture, lift heavy loads, and more, and it’s essential to keep them healthy.
Treatment of joint pain can be effective to an extent, but prevention is always the best medicine.
Let’s take a look at what can be done to prevent joint pain, or simply maintain joint health.
Hydration is Important
On the whole, it’s important to stay hydrated to maintain your health. Water helps your organs function properly, it helps you get rid of waste, it lubricates your joints, and much more.
Your joints get nutrients through the synovial fluid, which is mostly made up of water. This fluid also serves to keep the cartilage in your joints strong and healthy, allowing them to provide better cushioning between the bones to prevent them from rubbing against one another.
Drinking plenty of water will ensure better joint health, and will help you prevent joint pain.
Only about 32% of US adults meet the adequate intake for calcium, even though it’s a well-known fact that calcium is essential for bone health.
Strong and healthy bones can lower your risk of fractures and keep your joints pain-free.
To prevent future joint pain, be sure to drink plenty of milk. It’s packed with various nutrients that promote better bone health, including calcium, of course, and potassium, phosphorous, protein, and others.
If you want to increase your intake of calcium, other dairy products such as yogurt or cheese are excellent sources as well, and so are leafy greens.
Get Some Vitamin D
Just as calcium is important for bone health, so is vitamin D. The two go hand-in-hand, since vitamin D works to enhance the absorption of calcium. This means that without enough vitamin D, you won’t be able to get all the benefits of calcium itself.
You can get some vitamin D from tuna, salmon, some mushrooms, and other foods, but that’s usually not quite enough.
The best way to get your adequate intake of vitamin D is to get some sun, as the skin produces this vitamin when it’s exposed to sunlight.
Few things are as important as healthy food when it comes to your overall well-being. For good joints, you’ll want to have a more anti-inflammatory diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids can curb stiffness and joint pain and have proven to be helpful to patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Fish such as salmon, sardines, and trout are rich in omega-3, and so are walnuts.
Fruits and veggies, berries, grapes, spinach, and others, are rich in antioxidants and can help reduce and prevent inflammation and stiffness of the joints.
Sit Properly at Your Desk
Even if you follow the aforementioned steps, they won’t be very helpful if you have bad posture while sitting.
Keeping your legs crossed, constantly slouching, looking down on your computer monitor, all of these can cause severe joint pain with time. The most affected areas are commonly the knees, shoulders, back, and neck.
To avoid the problems that joint pain can cause, ensure you’re sitting at your desk properly. This means keeping your lower back supported, straightening your shoulders, and keeping your feet flat on the floor.
Don’t Wear High Heels
While high heels might look fashionable, they’re anything but comfortable, and can actually have quite a bad effect on your health, even leading to osteoarthritis.
The reason high heels can be so detrimental is that they cause abnormal weight distribution, forcing the bones in your feet to carry the weight in a way that they were not designed to do.
High heels also put more pressure on the knees and toes and can cause back pain, wrist pain, and much more.
Platform shoes offer more stability and better balance, so if you can’t avoid wearing heels, opt for these shoes instead.
Alternate Between Sitting and Standing
In short, the human body wasn’t made for staying in a single position for long periods of time. Neither sitting too long nor standing too long is good for your joints, and both can cause severe joint pain after a while.
About 26% of Americans sit for more than 8 hours a day, and many jobs require the employees to spend the majority of their time standing.
To prevent joint pain, try alternating between sitting and standing every 30 minutes. Moving around, taking a short walk, or stretching for a couple of minutes can significantly lower your chances of experiencing severe pain related to your posture.
Watch Your Weight
The more you weigh, the more pressure your knees, bones, and joints will have to handle. Even a slight change in your weight, up or down, can have a significant impact on the state of your joints.
If you already have problems with your joints, weight loss won’t reverse the damage done, but it can help alleviate the pain.
Having stronger muscles protects and stabilizes your joints and boosts your metabolism. You’ll have better balance, and you’ll be less prone to falls and injuries, not to mention that joints are meant to be used, and all the moving around will ensure better joint health.
However, high-impact sports such as soccer, tennis, running, and the like can actually cause joint pain, but this doesn’t mean they should be avoided.
Switching up your exercise routine occasionally, and doing a bit of both high and low-impact sports and exercises will allow you to avoid wear-and-tear while still keeping you strong.
Be Careful Lifting Heavy Loads
If you’re constantly lifting heavy objects, this can put a strain on your back, knees, and feet (among other things). If your job or workout plan requires you to be lifting heavy loads, make sure to do it right to avoid joint pain.
When lifting items below your waist level, keep your back straight, and your knees bent. Keep the load close to the center of your body, and always remember that slow and steady wins the race.
The Bottom Line
It’s much better to prevent joint pain than to have to deal with it and seek treatments. These steps will help you maintain better joint health and a better quality of life in general.