The joints in your body can be likened to the treads on a vehicle’s tires – they wear away after some time, particularly as you get older. The cartilage which serves to cushion and support the joints can break down, especially if you have osteoarthritis, and without the ‘padding’ the cartilage provides, you can experience pain when the bones rub together. Unfortunately, cartilage which is damaged or frayed won’t really ‘heal’ or grow back. But you can at least spare yourself some additional physical pain even when this happens, as well as protect the remaining cartilage that’s still there.
Here are some of the best and most proper ways of caring for your joints.
- Lose weight if you can
If you are at your ideal weight, this can take some stress off your hips and knees. Did you know that each pound a person loses can take off 4 pounds of strain or pressure from the knees? This can result in less joint wear and tear, and if you are at the beginning stages of arthritis, this can slow down its onset as well. To give you a better idea of what to aim for: if you lose 10 pounds, this can reduce joint pain by as much as 20%.
- Be active
Being active is pretty much related to losing weight, but it’s true that exercise can help you deal with and manage stiffness and pain in your joints. In fact, if you’re not active, the pain can become worse. By being active and exercising regularly, you can improve the flow of blood through your body, which, in turn, helps keep cartilage healthy. If you’re not keen on doing some running (which isn’t recommended, anyway), you can always stay active by swimming, walking, and cycling.
- Do a bit of stretching
Stretching regularly can also do wonders for your joints, especially if you don’t want your joints and cartilage to become stiff and painful. The more you move your joints, the more the cartilage becomes healthy, since it gets nourishment from the fluid in the joints. If you want, you can even take up Pilates or yoga, so you can become a lot more flexible.
- Take advantage of supplements
A good joint supplement can make a big difference as well. Supplements that contain glucosamine may help in the protection of cartilage, and they may help with the pain too. It’s also best to go for supplements which contain other natural ingredients which may help with joint pain, such as ginger and turmeric.
If you are having a pain flare-up in your joints, you can also benefit from some over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin. But it is advised to consult your doctor first, so you know which type of painkiller is the safest for you.
Keeping your joints healthy and moving will help ease any pain you are suffering and delay the onset of more serious joint-related health conditions.