The cartilage that cushions your joints can break down. Without padding, your bones will hurt. They will also rub against each other. In this case, frayed cartilage won’t grow back or heal. 

Yes, that does sound as painful as it is. People who experience this are in constant agony. This type of pain severely affects ‘quality of life’.

Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the leading causes of joint pain and disability worldwide, explains MayoClinic. It’s no surprise that arthritis pain negatively alters your mood. If everyday activities make you hurt, you’re bound to feel discouraged. But when these normal feelings escalate to create a constant refrain of fearful, hopeless thoughts, your pain can get worse and harder to manage.

Arthritis is categorised as inflammation of the joints in the body. It affects one or multiple joints depending on the patient’s condition and the severity. There are over 100 different types of arthritis. 

Each type of arthritis has specific causes and treatment methods. The two most common varieties are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), says Healthline.

Symptoms will usually develop over time but may also appear overnight. Arthritis is common in adults over the age of 65 but can also occur in children, teens, and younger adults. Arthritis is more common in women. Overweight people are also more susceptible due to the increased pressure on the joints.

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

A decreased range of motion, redness of the skin around the joint, joint pain, stiffness, and swelling are all common symptoms of arthritis. Many people with arthritis notice their symptoms are worse in the morning.

With RA, you could notice that you feel more tired than usual or have an appetite loss. This is due to the inflammation the immune system’s activity causes. 

Your red blood cell count drops, and many sufferers become anaemic. Other symptoms include fever and even joint deformity if left untreated.

How to prevent joint pain and damage

Joint pain is a common problem. It is usually a result of arthritis or injury. There are ways to ease and protect the remaining cartilage.

  • Slimming down will relieve the stress of your knees and hips. It lessens the wear and tear in the joint. Losing weight reduces the risk of arthritis. 
  • Aerobic exercise five days a week allows you to be active. Being active enough reduces the pain and stiffness of your joints. Regular exercise boosts your blood flow. You will reach a healthy weight and keep your cartilage well-nourished. Avoid jumping and running activities. Opt for walking, cycling and swimming. 
  • WebMD suggests stretching every day. It improves the ability to move your joints and fights stiffness, and protects cartilage. Moving your joints nourishes the joint fluid. Yoga or Pilates help with flexibility. 

Medications 

There are loads of over the counter and prescription medications that assist with joint pain. 

  • Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can help to protect your cartilage. There’s no proof that it will rebuild the cartilage. Some studies suggest that these supplements may ease your pain. 
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers are helpful for joint flare-ups. Common pain relievers include ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen and naproxen. Over-the-counter painkillers offer short-term relief for flare-ups like arthritis.

Excercise

  • Build muscles to support your joints. Without enough muscle, your joints take the strain – your spine, hips and knees specifically. They help your entire body. Weight training exercises keep the surrounding ligaments strong and take the pressure off your joints to do so much work. A certified personal trainer can advise you on activities for healthy joints. The trainer will also show you how to do the exercises correctly. 
  • Protect your joints. Specific exercises and physical activities may be tough on your joints at first. Take a slow approach and modify the workouts to decrease joint pains. Listen to your body. There is a difference between threatening pain and good muscle-building pain. 
  • A perfect posture is good for your joints. Slouching will not help your joints. Try to stand and sit up straight as much as possible. This will protect the joints from your neck to your knees. A good posture also guards your hip joints and back muscles. 
  • Protect your body by wearing a helmet, knee pads, wrist and elbow pad when taking part in high-risk activities. Always wear safety gear. Protecting your body will protect your joints. Serious injuries or several minor injuries can damage cartilage and turn into long term joint problems. Safety gear also reduces stress on your joints.
  • Use ice on healthy joints. Ice is a drug-free pain reliever. It relieves joint swelling and numbs the pain. Apply ice wrapped in a towel or a cold pack to a sore joint. Do this for no more than 20 minutes. If you don’t have ice, a bag of frozen vegetables in a light towel will work too. Don’t put ice directly onto your skin.

Eat well!

  • A healthy diet builds strong bones and muscles. Make sure you have enough calcium daily. Add fortified foods like milk, yoghurt, broccoli, kale, figs to your diet. Calcium supplements are also good for your diet. Protein helps your muscles. Seafood, lean meats, beans, legumes, soy products and nuts are such protein foods. Vitamins C and D also give your joints a healthy boost. 
  • Wear the right shoes. Choose shoes that are comfortable and supportive. Your feet change their shape as you get older. Get your feet measured by an experienced fitter. You may need a different size or width fitting. 

Your hardworking joints maintain your movement and stability. The abovementioned indications will allow you to know when to give extra tender loving care to your joints.

Always speak to a medical professional before treating any pains and ailments at home. 

It is easy for you to take your joint health for granted, especially in the younger years. As you get older, become more aware of how precious mobility is.  

 

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