Obesity has been correlated to health issues like heart disease and diabetes, but it is also a top reason for joint pain in people with arthritis.
Our joints are designed to be weight bearing and to move on a regular basis. However, excess body weight on our joints causes swelling and inflammation in the joints. This can make it painful to walk, move, or stay even mildly active.
When we discover it hurts to move, we tend to move less in hopes of avoiding that pain. However, that reduced activity results in a loss of muscle mass and tone, making movement even more difficult, and more painful.
As we become less active we also become stiffer and stiffer, which contributes to increased pain levels. Soon we’re barely able to move at all.
Reduce Your Pain
Oddly enough, movement, the very thing we are avoiding, is actually one of the best things we can do to help relieve joint pain. In fact, one of the best solutions to slow or relieve arthritis degeneration in our joints is motion and activity.
People with joint pain do need to start moving again, but slowly. Increasing activity in small increments over time is the best way to start. What you do comfortably today you’ll want to do again the next day.
Remind yourself that physical activity will not only help your joint pain, it will help you lose weight, boost your mood, and handle stress better. It will also help you sleep better and gives you better circulation. Another great bonus is that increased circulation can help your medication work better too!
Four Things You Can Do to Help Ease Joint Pain
1. Increase everyday activity. Increase the amount you walk daily. If you walk an average of 1000 steps a day now, add a few hundred steps every day. Start with gentle walking on a soft, flat, level, surface.
Don’t do anything challenging at this stage. Once you’ve built up tolerance to increased walking, then move to easy stair climbing. Slowly add weight-bearing activities like gardening, washing the car, cooking, and things that require your body to move and stretch.
2. Aquatic therapy is one of the best activities you can do for joint pain. If you are doing aquatic therapy in water up to your chest, you are bearing 75% less weight and can actually do more activity! You can do exercises in water, like stretching and additional movements, in an environment that won’t cause you as much pain.
3. Consider taking supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin. Both supplements help many people improve joint health and restore bone covering enough to significantly reduce joint pain.
4. Get rid of the sugar. Sugar creates inflammation, which causes pain. When you hurt, you stop moving, get stiff, and your pain increases, continuing the cycle of pain. You may enjoy those cakes, doughnuts and sweet tea while you’re indulging, but your joints will hurt later. Cutting back on the amount of sugar you eat each day can greatly improve your quality of life.
Improve Your Health
Taking small steps with diet and exercise each day can ease your joint pain and help you live the pain-free life you deserve. Remember to take it slow and listen to your body's signals when starting out with any new routine.
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