Tips for Avoiding Joint Pain as You Age

Every time you take a step your knees absorb about one-and-a-half times your body weight. That’s enough to wear down the ligaments and cartilage in your knee joints, until, over time, they give way. If you’re overweight, the problem compounds exponentially. 

And it’s not just your knees at risk, all your joints face a similar fate if you use them repetitively and have a few bad lifestyle habits that affect your joints. Here, our experts at Elite Physical Medicine in Mason, Ohio, and Lawrenceburg, Indiana, share a few tips for protecting your joints from the pain and stiffness of age-related tissue damage.

1. Lose weight

We mentioned that being overweight taxes your knees, but to put a finer point on it: every 10 extra pounds piles on up to almost 40 more pounds of increased pressure on each knee. Being overweight also increases inflammation throughout your body, which affects all your joints. 

Adopting a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine can keep your weight — and your joint pain — down.

2. Don’t smoke

If you smoke, stop. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Tobacco and nicotine cause a plethora of problems from heart conditions to cancer, but most people don’t realize the effects these chemicals have on other systems and tissue, like your joints. Here’s why. Smoking:

The good news is that as soon as you stop smoking (within about eight hours), your blood oxygen levels go back to normal and your body starts the healing process. 

3. Get plenty of calcium and vitamin D

Calcium is a key component of strong bones, and therefore strong joints. So, make sure you get plenty in your diet by eating yogurt, milk, and cheese, as well dark, leafy green veggies and broccoli. But remember: calcium can’t do its job without vitamin D, which makes it possible for your body to absorb the calcium. A little time in the sun and/or a vitamin D supplement can help.

4. Move your body

Although repetitive stress can damage your joints, regular movement that’s easy on your joints is critical to their health. Exercise helps keep your joints lubricated and your support muscles strong. It can also help you lose weight if that’s an issue.

5. Stay well hydrated

Drinking lots of water has become a popular habit, but if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, doing so can do wonders for your joints. When you don’t drink enough water, your body may draw moisture from wherever it can find it, including the cartilage in your joints. 

6. Don’t push through the pain

You should feel the effects of a good workout in your muscles, but not your joints. You can prep your joints for activity by warming up with dynamic stretching.

If you have joint pain after exercise, particularly if it lingers, it’s a sign that something’s wrong. Don’t push through joint pain, but do come see our team at Elite Physical Medicine for an evaluation. 

In addition to assessing your posture, muscle strength, and reflexes, we may use X-ray technology to generate diagnostic images to help us determine what’s going on in your joints.

Depending on your condition, we offer several very effective treatments for joint pain, including regenerative medicine, injections, chiropractic therapy, and therapeutic massage. 

If your joints are starting to feel their age, schedule an appointment with us online or call us today at the location nearest you. Our joint care team is here to help.

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