You have up to 360 joints in your body. Not all of them are obvious, like the skull which has 86 immovable joints. But for the rest of the body, a joint is any place where one bone meets another. Toes, knees, hips, spine, neck, and the jaw, to name just a few, are made up of different joint types.
So why is joint health important? A healthy joint typically moves smoothly, without pain, and allows the body to walk or open a door. Now, a joint isn’t just bone. It’s also cartilage, connective tissue, and synovial fluid. How joints specifically function is complex.
Except joints don’t always work as intended. Normally, joints degrade through some combination of shrinking cartilage, injuries, overuse, individual health, and genetics. These things can flare up at any time in life and are often progressive, so it’s not like you wake up one day can’t move. But no matter you age or the health of your joints, always keep in mind that once joints starts to “wear” there isn’t a whole lot that can be done to restore them short of having surgery.
So if you want to take steps today to care for your joints, use these suggestions to help maintain your mobility and find relief, if only temporarily, from limited mobility and pain.
Ways to Maintain Joint Health
These suggestions should apply to almost everyone’s daily life, young and old alike. They can help ease existing pain and preserve your healthy joints today so they continue to work for you as you age.
Posture allows you to balance and steady your body while walking, sitting, or lying down. You might have heard someone criticize your posture if you walk with your shoulders slumped forward or you slide down into a lying position in chairs. Both are indicators of poor posture and move the body out of alignment and place excessive strain on joints, muscles, and ligaments.
If you look at someone with good posture, you might think it looks uncomfortable to sit or stand that way, but they are moving efficiently and conserving energy which allows them to remain more focused and active throughout the day.
It takes daily practice to learn and maintain good posture. If you posture muscle are weak, it might be difficult to find a correct position. Try a posture exercise to help speed this process by strengthening posture muscles. This also includes ditching high heels or any shoe that puts any part of the body in an uncomfortable position.
Healthy Weight and Bone Health
When standing, the weight of the body pulls down with gravity. The feet bear most of your weight with a little less going into the knees, hips, and back. Overtime, this downward force compresses cartilage between joints and wears away the cartilage until the bones are grinding together. Working to lose weight or keep excess weight off as you age can help to reduce strain on joints and posture muscles.
Similarly, bones make up the foundation of the body. Everything attaches to the bones, so they need to remain strong. Care for your bones by getting plenty of calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium; these vitamins and minerals work together to help maintain the structure and maintenance of the bone and joints.
Care For Your Hands
The wrists and fingers get a lot of daily use, especially if you have a crafting hobby or spend a lot of time typing on a computer. Much like sitting and standing posture, you’ll want to learn the correct way to rest your palms, limit strain on the wrists, and avoid overextending or applying too much pressure on the fingers. Take breaks every hour and do an activity not involving your fingers.
If you use a keyboard, follow these suggestions for correct hand and finger position. If you craft or take part in any activities that require a lot of hand and finger movements, take frequent breaks and use any of these 7 hand exercises to help lubricate joints and ease the strain on joints.
Use Strong Joints
To protect smaller and weaker joints from excessive strain, try to use your legs or arms to perform everyday tasks. For example, turn a knob and partially open the door, then use your shoulder or arm to open it the rest of the way. You can also ease hip and knee stain by determining which side of the body is strongest and using that leg to lead when going up the strains or standing, and letting your weaker side lead down the stairs or when sitting.
If you need to open a jar or tighten something, make sure use a cloth or grip pad. You can also make it easier by using a shoulder motion to twist instead of turning your wrist or twisting your back.
Know your limitations. Independence can be a good thing, but forcing yourself to accomplish tasks alone can place an excessive physical burden on the body. A strong body may need less help for daily tasks, but a weaker body is more at risk for worsening existing pain or causing new problems. Even replacing your heavy vacuum with something smaller and lighter can help so long as it reduces strain on the body.
Supplements for Joint Health
Supplements are one of many options available to people of all ages. If you are young, a supplement may provide additional support in helping you to maintain mobility, while older individuals may find that a supplement provides additional support when combined with medical therapies or treatments. Before using a supplement for mobility issues or pain, first consult with a primary care physician so you know your issues aren’t a more serious medical condition.
Cartilage is partially made from collagen, just like the collagen extracts found in Glucosamine Hyaluronic Acid Chondroitin MSM. Along with chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronic acid, this supplement provides support for healthy joints, may help to maintain normal mobility, and may provide temporary relief from occasional pain or general discomfort. Experience it for yourself and see if it gives your joints the attention they deserve.
The naturally occurring sulfur and essential metabolites found in MSM Powder from Pure Encapsulations helps to support the structure and function of connective tissue found in joints. It may also support the production of collagen and keratin found in the hair, skin, and nails. The formula mixes in with your favorite beverage and works all day to provide extra support.