4 Ways to Prevent Joint Pain
All of us have experienced joint pain at some point. While there are various causes for it, from overexertion to ageing, we just want it to go away. Here are 4 ways you can prevent or manage it:
Despite popular belief that exercising worsens joint pain, it is actually one of the best prevention methods. Frequently, pain at or around the joints is caused by weak muscles or imbalance of the muscle groups. Regular exercise strengthens the muscles that power the joints, providing added support and reducing joint strain.
Not all exercises are suitable for everyone, however. “If you’re already suffering from joint pain or osteoarthritis, it is best to avoid high-impact exercises, as they may place additional stress on the joints and hasten the osteoarthritis process,” says Dr Lim Yeow Wai, Specialist in Orthopaedics & Consultant, Raffles Orthopaedic Centre. “Instead, consider cycling or swimming, which strengthens key muscles without causing additional injury to the joints.”
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight increases the load placed on your joints, especially those at your lower body. Over time, this can cause joint pain and increase your risk of osteoarthritis as you get older, as additional stress will be placed on the joints, accelerating the wear and tear process.
In fact, you don’t need to have drastic weight loss to reap its benefits – losing just 1kg of weight will take 2-3kg of pressure off your knees during walking and even more when running.
Supplement Your Joint Health
Glucosamine supplements have become a popular drug treatment to manage joint pain and osteoarthritis symptoms in recent years. Along with chondroitin, glucosamine ensures the cartilage’s healthy function by keeping the joints lubricated. Studies have shown that glucosamine supplements help relieve joint pain and improve function in people with osteoarthritis, although the results may vary.
If you don’t find relief from other treatment options for your joint pain, you may want to go on a trial of glucosamine. However, it may take some time before you see its effects.
Control Your Blood Sugar
People with diabetes are more susceptible to joint pain and increasing their risk of osteoarthritis. “Studies have shown the link between the two diseases, although their cause and effects are not yet clearly understood,” says Dr Stanley Liew, Specialist in Endocrinology, Raffles Diabetes & Endocrine Centre. “It is believed that high blood sugar promotes joint inflammation and cartilage degradation through oxidative stress and the activation of inflammatory mediators”. So, by watching your blood sugar level, you’ll get to kill two birds with one stone.
If Your Pain Persists
If you find your joint pain worsening despite taking the necessary measures, consider seeking a doctor’s advice, as this may signal an underlying medical condition. Detecting it and getting treated early prevents it from worsening and disrupting your quality of life.