Posts Tagged ‘joint pain’

Act Now to Prevent Joint Pain Later

Prevent Joint PainAnyone putting their little toe in the waters of middle age has a glimmer of what joint pain feels like. It’s no fun. But there are things you can do to ease joint pain now and prevent future joint pain. Here are some joint-smart steps you can put into action:

Maintain a health weight. Carrying extra weight can cause significant joint pain over time, particularly in weight-bearing areas like the hips, knees, and ankles. Prevent problems now and down the line by maintaining a healthy weight. Talk with your doctor if you need help starting a weight-loss program.

Get regular exercise. Low-impact activities such as walking or hiking, swimming, and stationary cycling are great options for building bone-supporting muscles, keeping weight down, and improving joint mobility. Just 30 minutes a day can have a real impact on your long-term health and comfort. Exercise has been proved to ease arthritis pain, as well.

Keep your skeletal system strong. Help prevent osteoporosis (more common in women) by getting plenty of calcium, which you’ll find in dairy products and leafy green vegetables or in supplement form. Calcium builds bone density and makes bones less susceptible to arthritis. Consider reducing or eliminating caffeine, as it can weaken your bone structure.

Eat more fish. Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce joint pain and stiffness in people suffering from arthritis. If you don’t love fish, take fish oil supplements instead.

Get plenty of vitamin C. Vitamin C may help speed the recovery of damaged muscles by repairing tissues, easing joint pain. These 10 fruits and veggies are rich in vitamin C: oranges, guava, red bell peppers, kiwi, grapefruit, vegetable juice cocktail, oranges, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, and cantaloupe.

Wear sensible shoes. OK. We know that one’s no fun. But joint pain is a high price to pay for fashion. Eschew the high heels and look instead for flexible shoes that provide support. You want the shoe to bend with your foot as you walk. These days, there are plenty of good-looking shoes out there that will be kind to your feet and joints.

Already experiencing joint pain? If you put our suggestions to the test and still feel the pain, make an appointment to see us at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center.

Do you suffer from joint pain? If so, what treatments have worked best for you? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

Can Osteoarthritis Be Prevented?

preventing osteoarthritisIf you’re starting to feel the twinges of pain or stiffness in your joints or spine, you may be wondering what’s causing it and whether you can prevent it from getting worse. One common contributor to joint and spine pain is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a common joint disease that is caused by degeneration of the cartilage, the cushiony substance between the bones, and if severe, it can then affect the bone itself. Osteoarthritis most commonly affects the weight-bearing joints (hips, knees, and spine).

The chance of developing arthritis increases with age. Although some people may have it as early as their 20s and 30s, it is more likely to develop osteoarthritis in your 50 and 60s and older. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, so prevention is the key. There are some risk factors that you can’t change, such as your genes (heredity) and your age. The goal is to decrease risk factors that you do have control over to help prevent osteoarthritis. These include:

  • Weight – obesity increases risk of arthritis
  • Trauma
  • Performing repetitive-motion tasks over a long period of time
  • Weaksurrounding muscles

The same factors that will help you prevent osteoarthritis can also help treat the pain and discomfort from osteoarthritis. Extra weight puts a strain on your joints, so try to keep your weight in a healthy range or lose weight if you’re not in that range. If you’re not sure what a healthy range is for you, check with your doctor. Also, keeping your muscles strong can help decrease the weight on your joints. If pain occurs while you’re doing an activity, listen to your body and decrease your intensity. Bear in mind that repetitive activities can cause joint pain and stiffness. Repetitive activities might include working on the computer or repeated bending or lifting. Try to find other ways of performing daily activities and be sure to take frequent breaks.

If you’re experiencing ongoing or increasing pain and stiffness, it may be time to see one of the physicians at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center for further evaluation and treatment.

Emory physiatrists are physicians specially trained in rehabilitation and pain management. Our physiatrists can work with you to develop a plan that includes daily strengthening and stretching exercises to reduce pain and stiffness. Because osteoarthritis can occur in different areas of your body, you want a plan designed to target the affected joint or joints. Your physician may suggest formal therapy or bracing the joint to help ease pain. Finally, your doctor can suggest an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication or prescribe medication to help with the pain if needed.

Do you have osteoarthritis? What do you do to ease the pain and stiffness? We’d like to hear about your experience. Please take a moment to give us feedback in the comments section below.

Dr. Diana SodiqAbout Diana Sodiq, DO:
Diana Sodiq, DO, is an Assistant Professor of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Medicine. She is Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Physiatry). As an osteopathic physician, Dr. Sodiq is trained in both traditional medicine as well as osteopathic manipulative treatments (OMT). She started practicing at Emory in 2010.