Tips on how to relieve joint pain
Ever wondered how to relieve joint paint? It’s all too common with older adults (or as we at Siel Bleu Ireland like to call the mature athlete). It is caused by underlying issues such as disease or injury and is a common symptom when it comes to arthritis. People suffering with joint pain usually have difficulty moving freely due to loss in range of movement at a joint which is accompanied by inflammation.
According to Arthritis Ireland, arthritis affects 1 in 5 people. There are over 100 types, with some being as a result of that all too familiar phrase ‘wear and tear’ and other more unfortunate autoimmune cases such as rheumatoid arthritis. In the latter case, the body attacks itself. Although the exact cause is unknown, advanced age is a big predictor of its onset. As our muscle size decreases with age, bone and joint pain can follow suit. But remember, AGE IS JUST A NUMBER. Take a look a Jennifer’s story if you think otherwise….
Understanding is key. Let’s take a look at what is happening before we provide you with some do-it-yourself remedies and maintenance strategies to cope with joint pain.
I don’t want to bore you with anatomy for too long but stay with me.. Between our bones we have a smooth-like substance called cartilage. It acts as a shock absorber that prevents friction and bone on bone contact. As you exercise your body calls on a lubricative substance called synovial fluid to be delivered to the joint. This combined with the cartilage allows for smooth movement between joints, meaning less achy and painful movement around your joints. Think of it as the WD40 that we apply to loosen up those weathered hinges on a door.
How do I relieve symptoms?
Move more, sit less..
A lot of people spend long hours sitting as they are fearful that if they do move it will make their pain worse. To deal with chronic joint pain we recommend you do the opposite. Try getting up every 20-30 minutes and move for 2 minutes to give your body the blood circulation and improved range of motion it needs. Become that well-oiled machine you used to be.
Ok so now we know that movement is medicine for joint pain. But what are other contributing factors and how do we mitigate them?
We usually find that with heightened levels of stress, sensitivity to pain increases. Stress can be good for exercise as the arousal from moving brings an anti-inflammatory agent that releases energy fluids and prepares you to exercise. But sustained levels of this, (for example with a shallow breathing pattern) causes lowered levels of cortisol in the body and increased levels of inflammation.. Hello Joint pain!!!
Try out our breathing techniques to combat this common struggle and bring more mindfulness and state of calmness to your everyday life.
A recent study published in arthritis and rheumatology suggested that a lack of sleep is the biggest predictor of widespread joint pain. Symptoms can include a decrease in tolerance to pain with a feeling of higher intensity and discomfort.
“The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life”
– Matthew Walker
Also known as the ‘Sleep Scientist’, Matthew Walker believes the average person should get 7-9 hours of sleep to repair, recover and rejuvenate the body each day. He has also stated that inadequate sleep is the biggest lifestyle habit that results in Alzheimer’s disease. His tips for better quality sleep include:
- Dim the lights around the house in the evening to improve melatonin (sleep hormone) production before bed.
- Reduce LED lights (TV and Phone screen) and spend some time meditating or reading to trigger relaxation before you fall asleep.
- Regularity – Sleep and walk at the same time each day, even on the weekends.
- Keep it cool – Open a window in the bedroom in the evening to cool the temperature, cutting our bodys core temperature can initiate good sleep.
As they say ‘you are what you eat’. Although there is no cure for arthritis, try fill your diet with inflammation fighting, immune boosting and energy packed foods to help put your best foot forward each day.
Dairy – Milk, cheese and yogurts are abundant in Vitamin D and calcium, both found to improve bone strength. Try leafy greens if dairy doesn’t agree with you.
Green/Ginger/Camomile Tea – A grey way to get polyphenols and antioxidants in. They work to supress inflammation levels, aid digestion and slow cartilage degeneration.
Grains – Avoid white breads and gluten to reduce carcinogenic and inflammatory markers that are associated with cancer, heart disease and arthritis. Oatmeal, brown rice and whole grains are more practical options for joint health.
If you have any further questions regarding your joint problems leave a comment below. We would be happy to help you in any way possible!