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5 Ways to Avoid Joint Pain

joint-pain

Do your  joints ache for no apparent reason? Even a small ache is your body’s way of telling you something is not working properly. These aches and pains should not be ignored. According to a Center for Disease Control (CDC) study, 30% of the people surveyed reported some form of joint pain during a 30 day period. The greatest number of respondents had knee pain, followed by shoulder, finger and then hip pain.

 

Our joints move an incredible amount each day. We rely on them to bear our weight and put up with our  twisting and turning as we carry out our days. However, if we don’t pay attention, our joints can wear and tear over time, eventually leading to a sprain or injury.

 

Here are the top 5 reasons for joint pain and how you can improve them:

 

Repetitive Movement Injuries

A repetitive movement injury is when you perform the same task over and over again, straining the muscles, tissues and joints that are involved. For example, lifting heavy boxes with poor body mechanics when moving can be a repetitive injury. Another example of a repetitive injury occurs in individuals who sit on a computer all day with poor posture. The repetitive movement of using a computer mouse, strains your muscles, tendons and ligaments, causing abnormal pressure on your joints.

 

Practicing good body mechanics, excellent posture and remembering not to do the same activity for too long helps protect against injury. For example, if you have to trim a tree, don’t spend hours trimming every branch, and then, once all the branches are cut, pick the trimmings up. Instead break up the activity by trimming a few branches at a time, and then squatting down to pick up the branches. This alternates the muscles you are using.

 

Posture

Poor posture is the number one cause of  joint pain. Posture is critical to the alignment of your joints. It effects your spine, shoulders, hips, knees and even feet. For example, when sitting at a desk, some people lean their heads forward, which protrudes their shoulders forward and weakens their back muscles. This can lead to shoulder impingement and even rotator cuff injuries.

 

We recommend that you do your best to be aware of your posture throughout the day. Take frequent, short breaks to stretch and move around. Sit with a straight-backed chair and your feet flat on the floor. Improve your posture by performing postural and stretching exercises.

 

Weakness

Joints need muscles to move and provide support. Most joint pains are related to poor strength and the functionality of the surrounding muscles. For example, with knee pain a small muscle on the inner thigh, called the Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) often becomes weak. This muscle is impacted by the way your  kneecap tracks. Therefore, with a weak VMO, knee pain often occurs due to the poor tracking of the kneecap.

 

Strength training is a key part of staying healthy and active. Cardiovascular exercises are also important to keep your heart and body in tip-top shape. Strength training is best done with a professional physical therapist first to make sure you are moving your body correctly, especially if you have had or are having pain.

 

Arthritis

There are many forms of arthritis, but the most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is caused by the wear and tear of the joint cartilage surface. Arthritis becomes painful when the cartilage causes inflammation and joint debris to from. When the joints don’t move properly, abnormal pressure on the surface of the joints can occur, resulting in pain. Arthritic joints generally lose motion and the surrounding muscles commonly become weaker. This can cause a spiraling effect of pain throughout your body and poor joint support.

 

Arthritis pain can be effectively treated with the right physical therapy plan of care. Improving your joint movement and the strength of the surrounding muscles allows support to return to the joint. This then lessens the joint inflammation, abnormal pressure and pain. Oftentimes combined with different injections, and other treatments, physical therapy is an important treatment option for arthritic joints.

 

Sprains

Sprains are movements beyond the normal range of the joint that cause tendons, ligaments and other tissues to tear. Common sprains occur in the ankles, knees, shoulders, wrists and fingers. Many sprains occur during forceful injuries, but others can occur because the muscles around the joint were weak to begin with.

 

To prevent sprains, it is important to have good muscle strength in your body. If you have suffered a knee or ankle sprain before, it is important to strengthen the muscles around the effected joints. The likelihood of re-spraining these joints increases once you have already had a sprain. The reason for this is that the joint is already loose and unstable to a degree.

 


There is a lot that can be done to eliminate your joint pain and get you back to an active lifestyle. If you have aching or painful joints that are interfering with your life, call PROCare Physical Therapy today for an evaluation. See how good life can be pain free!