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6 Simple At-Home Tips For Healthy Joints

Are you noticing your joints feel increasingly like the hinge on a creaky door? You are not alone. 70% of older adults report joint discomfort. Joints can hurt due to the natural aging process, certain diseases, or injuries. This article will cover the various ways to protect and take care of your joints from middle age and beyond.

Keeping joints comfortable and healthy at all ages helps you keep up with family and loved ones. Protecting your joints also encourages physical activity, supporting your longevity and quality of life.

1) Being Active

Being active is important for overall health to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and good metabolic health. Regular exercise positively impacts virtually every body system.

How does exercise enhance joint health? One factor behind the benefits is actually related to the muscles that surround joints. Strong muscles stabilize and strengthen joints, making them less prone to injury. Anatomically, muscles surround joints in various directions. Weak muscles are less able to stabilize joints, making them more prone to injurious torque, hyperextension, or hyperflexion.

Physical activity also stimulates the joints to make synovial fluid, which is the lubricating fluid that keeps joint surfaces moving smoothly.

Low-impact exercise is an excellent way to maximize joint range of motion while building muscle without irritating inflamed joints. Examples of low-impact exercise include:

  • Swimming
  • Yoga
  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Rowing
  • Tai Chi
  • Pilates

2) Keeping A Healthy Weight

More body weight means more weight on joints, creating pressure that overtime can lead to discomfort. If you have been struggling with your weight and are experiencing joint discomfort, working towards a healthier weight may be part of the solution. The good news is that, as mentioned earlier, regular exercise has a myriad of benefits for promoting joint comfort. Regular exercise also has the benefit of maintaining a normal body mass index.

Research shows obesity is a risk factor for osteoarthritis which is a type of degenerative joint disease. Fortunately, research also shows that weight loss can restore joint comfort in people with osteoarthritis.

3) Stretching

We discussed how important strength is for protecting joints. The other fitness factor to consider while working on optimizing your joints is flexibility. The marriage of strength and flexibility is a match made in heaven for your joints.

The range of motion of a joint refers to the full extent a joint can move. Joint discomfort can occur when joints lose flexibility. Natural limberness declines with age, and maintaining flexibility takes effort in middle age and beyond. Establishing a stretching routine is a wonderful tool for keeping the full range of motion of your joints intact. Limber joints are comfortable joints!

4) Injured? Get Care

Many people are surprised that they don’t bounce back from injuries as quickly as they did when they were younger.

Another key to your most comfortable joints is seeking help if you get a joint injury or notice discomfort.

Many people don’t realize that some injuries should be rehabilitated. The guidance of a physical therapist can be very helpful when navigating an injury. Physical therapy can also prevent long-term debility from an injury.

5) Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is the therapeutic application of water. Hydrotherapy has a very long history, dating back to ancient civilizations.

Warm or hot water causes blood vessels to dilate or widen. As blood vessels widen from exposure to heat, more blood can perfuse the body tissues those blood vessels supply. Blood is full of healing factors, immune cells, and growth factors that all serve to enhance healing.

Cold water causes constriction of blood vessels. By limiting the amount of immune cells that can reach a tissue, inflammation is temporarily suppressed. Inflammation causes warmth, discomfort, and swelling so cold applications can often offer relief.

The combination of hot and cold, when alternated, creates a pumping effect in the blood vessels, encouraging circulation. This encourages fresh blood supply while also suppressing discomfort. This same mechanism is why it’s not encouraged to be inactive when healing from certain injuries for too long, since the physical inactivity causes blood circulation to decline thus preventing healing.

A common way to use hydrotherapy for joint discomfort is to apply a warm compress to an achy joint and then swap it with a cold compress. Continue swapping the compresses, holding for a brief period between, for several rounds.

6) Nutraceuticals

Consider using targeted herbs and nutraceuticals to support your joints.

  • Indian Frankincense
    Also known as Boswellia, Indian Frankincense is a powerful herb. Boswellia has been studied to support healthy joints in men and women

  • Hyaluronic Acid
    Hyaluronic acid is a water-loving molecule that can hold 1,000 times it’s own weight in water. In the joints, it acts as an important lubricator and shock absorber. Hyaluronic acid is integral to happy joints.

  • Willow Bark
    Willow bark contains an active compound called salicin and has been used by traditional medicine for hundreds of years. Willow bark is effective to help maintain healthy joints

  • MSM
    Short for methylsulfonylmethane, MSM contains sulfur which is important for collagen and glucosamine production. Collagen and glucosamine are critical compounds for the structural integrity of joints.

  • Curcumin
    An extract of the vibrant orange Indian herb turmeric, curcumin is a potent ingredient. Curcumin has been studied to support a healthy inflammation response in the body, while promoting joint comfort. When combined with black pepper, curcumin’s bioavailability increases dramatically for better absorption.

Many never take care of their joints before it’s too late. These simple tips and methods are just a few ways someone can support the integrity of their joints to help them move with ease. In the end, if you don’t use it, you lose it. So make sure to stay active, do what you can, stretch and if you still believe you need some extra support, then head over to our store to learn more about our joint-supporting options.

Dr. Laurel Ash ND, MS

Dr Laurel Ash, ND, MS is an Oregon and Washington board-certified Naturopathic Physician. With a passion for nutritional health, Dr Ash earned her doctorate in Naturopathy from the National University of Natural Medicine while receiving her masters in Integrative Mental Health. Her unique combination of evidence-based research and skilled knowledge in holistic medicine has allowed Dr. Ash to successfully treat many with a wide-range of issues.