Joint health is more than just avoiding injuries. And, our joints are more than just bones. Our bones, soft tissues, and nerves all function together to help make our joints feel stable and last a lifetime. These five tips can help you keep your joints in good working order for years to come.
1) Exercise daily
Our joints are surrounded by soft tissue structures such as cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. The best way to care for your joints is to keep your muscles, ligaments, and bones strong and stable. Motion is lotion as the saying goes. Less movement means more stiffness in your joints. So, get up and change positions frequently. If possible at work, take short breaks to stretch or go for a short walk.
2) Watch what you eat
Reduce portion size in order to reduce calorie intake. Keeping your weight within a healthy range is the best thing you can do for your joints. Research has shown that with every pound gained, a person puts four times more stress on the knees.
Food selection matters too. When we eat sugary food our insulin levels spike and chronically high insulin levels have been linked to the development of osteoarthritis. Instead, favor leaner cuts of meat, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates (brown rice, oatmeal, other whole grains). Avoid sweets, simple carbohydrates, and highly processed foods.
3) Exercise your core
Large joints like our hips, shoulders, and knees connect to our trunk or “core.” Make sure your exercise routine includes activities that strengthen your core including your chest, back, and abdomen. Doctors call this balance of core strength and joint strength “the kinetic chain.” The chain is only as strong as the weakest link. Stronger abdominal and back muscles help you keep your balance and prevent falls that can damage your joints.
4) Watch your posture
Poor posture can strain soft tissues and load joints awkwardly. Standing and sitting with good alignment can protect your joints from your neck to your knees. Posture is also important when lifting and carrying objects. For example, if you use a backpack, be sure to put it over both shoulders instead of slinging it over one. When lifting use the biggest muscles in your body by bending at your knees instead of bending your back.
5) Judicious supplementation may help.
The best way to get the nutrients our joints need is through our diet. For example, calcium can be obtained eating foods such as milk, yogurt, broccoli, kale, figs, and fortified foods like soy or almond milk. If your diet is weak in these areas, then a calcium supplement might help. Certain kinds of fish oils can be beneficial for joint health. If you can’t regularly eat fish, then consider adding a quality fish oil supplement to your diet. Finally, some recent research supports the use of glucosamine, vitamin D, and curcumin for joint health. These supplements are commonly found in local health food stores and are generally well tolerated.
These five tips can help keep your joints moving a lifetime. But, if you’re having joint pain despite optimizing your diet, getting routine exercise, and improving your lifestyle, then you may be a candidate for a regenerative medicine procedure. Platelet-based procedures such as Regenexx’s Super Concentrated Platelets (SCP) and bone marrow derived-stem cell procedures such as the Regenexx Same Day Stem Cell procedure can target your body’s own tissue healing components to damaged or injured joints and soft tissues.
The experts at Columbia Pain Management can help you optimize your diet, exercise, and lifestyle and help you determine if a regenerative medicine procedure can put you back on track again to good joint health.