Friday, April 29, 2011

Essential Tips For Joint Pain

A joint is where two or more bones meet, helping to create a range of movement that makes us mobile, agile, and able. Some joints can provide us with wide movement possibilities, such as in the shoulders and hips, others provide us with limited movement, such in the vertebrae, and others still with little movement at all, such as in the skull.  No matter what the natural range of movement is, all joints work together to help us feel free and easy as we move through life.  When joints are impaired we feel frustrated and stymied, which often affects our state of mind.

A Bit About Joints
What holds the joints together are tendons, which attach muscles to the bones along with ligaments, which stabilize the joints by helping to link the bones to each other.  Bones are generally coated with a slickish cartilage that helps reduce friction as well as fluids that help to lubricate the entire joint structure.  When a joint is injured, the cartilage hardens and begins to deteriorate, causing swelling and pain in the surface of the area if the condition is not treated properly.  When swelling occurs, the muscles are then impinged, creating less movement between the bones in the area of injury.

Whether it is due to constant and repetitive movement, injury, overuse, or the aging process, joint pain can be debilitating and disheartening.  When the joints are not functioning properly, tiny sacs called bursae are also affected.  Bursae are located in  between the joints in order to prevent  bones from rubbing together and also to cushion joints against shock.  If an injured joint is not taken care of, the cartilage and bursae become damaged, consequently affecting neural passageways and causing greater discomfort during movement. 

Dancers, gymnasts, weight trainers, and athletes often suffer from injuries to weight-bearing joints such as the hips, knees, and feet.  Tennis players are especially susceptible to shoulder joint injury from improper placement when swinging the racket. This  excessive friction on the tendons located in the rotator cuff (a group of four muscles that surround the shoulder joint) can cause swelling leading to painful tendonitis.  Other conditions that lead to joint pain include:
·      Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
·      Sciatica
·      Chronic back pain
·      Osteoarthritis
·      Rheumatoid arthritis
·      Post traumatic injury
·      Post surgical recovery

Joint pain is not something you have to live with, as it can be treated through a number of protocols.

Heat and Massage
Applying heated bags filled with buckwheat or other small grains are an excellent way to relieve pain due to joint injury.  Putting a bag in the microwave and then placing it over the area will help prepare the joint for massage, which is best done with eucalyptus or castor oil.  Steam baths are also good ways to soothe aching joints, especially before a massage.

Careful and slow exercise helps to fortify muscles surrounding the joints while also strengthening the bones, controlling weight, and toning the body.  Exercise also contributes to a sense of well-being.  People who do not exercise regularly generally have weak supporting muscles, which can lead to stress on the joints which can ultimately cause injury.

If you suffer from a joint injury go very slowly and examine any limitations regarding your range of movement. Respectfully observe these limitations without trying to push through them.  Be patient.  Hatha yoga classes or remedial yoga is a good way to gently move the body in order to strengthen the areas around the joints.  If you feel sharp pain at any time, this is a clue for you to move more modestly.  Always wear warm clothing when you exercise and make sure you warm up thoroughly before going on to stronger movements.  Warming up in toasty clothing helps to relax and prepare the joints and muscles. You can also apply hot packs to the area before and after exercise for added warmth.  Slow, controlled movement of the joints helps improve the circulation of blood in the area, which is important for healing.  Exercise also helps to remove the toxins and wastes that can accumulate in injured areas.

Somatic Movement
Trust your body as you move as it has its own wisdom regarding the healing process. One very effective way to help heal injuries is by allowing  innate movements to occur.  Listen closely to your body by closing your eyes and slowing down the breath until you feel that you are breathing deeply and rhythmically.  Inhale slowly though the nose counting to four, hold the breath for four counts and then exhale slowly from the mouth for six counts, hold for two and repeat until you feel calm and relaxed.  Dissolving tension in this way allows the body to do its own somatic healing.  You may find that your body will begin to move on its own without the interference of the mind. As it does, it will seek out movement to help bring itself back to health and freedom from pain. Do this as often as needed until it becomes a regular practice that you can rely on not only to help with joint pain, but also to help relieve stress and to get you more in touch with each part of your body.

Supplements for Joint Pain
There are several potent supplements that you can take to help diminish wear and tear on your joints, ligaments, and cartilage.  
Calcium helps build strong bones and healthy joints, especially when combined with magnesium, which assists in its absorption. 
 Chondroitin is a long chain of sugars that are naturally found in the joints and connective tissues, helping them to stay resilient. Chondroitin blocks the enzymes that can destroy cartilage. 
 Glucosamine is a “synergistic” amino acid that comes from hydrolyzed collagen, a primary protein naturally found in connective tissues and cartilage that repairs damage and ensures flexibility. 
 MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) helps to keep the ligaments in healthy condition and is usually found in combination with other joint-building compounds. 
Omega 3, 6, and 9 helps prevent and reduce joint inflammation. The Omegas are made of long chains of linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids that help reduce inflammation as well as  boost the immune system, regulate blood pressure, lower insulin sensitivity, and more.  You can buy Omega 3, 6, and 9 in gel cap form, or get your daily dose from  flax seed or borage oil.  Put the oil on your salads or add it to any smoothie to get the best results.
Selenium helps reduces inflammation in the joints while serving as an antioxidant, helping to eradicate free radicals that compromise the immune system. 
Vitamins E and C   heal and help repair muscles, ligaments, and cartilage. They also help to reduce bruising while contributing to overall health.

 Note:  Before embarking on a supplement protocol, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider.  Always buy organic formulas as they are easier to absorb.

Foods for Joint Health
One of the most important things you can do for the health and repair of your joints is to eat intelligently.  This means buying fresh organic fruits and vegetables and avoiding foods that can irritate injured areas. 

Foods to avoid when suffering from joint injury include:
·      Red meat
·      Too much protein
·      Hot and spicy foods
·      Deep fried foods
·      Fast foods
·      Sugar
·      Soft drinks

Foods that help repair and heal joints:
·      Fresh fruits contain abundant vitamin C and more…
·      Apricots
·      Avocados
·      Blueberries
·      Cantaloupe
·      Dates
·      Grapefruit
·      Papaya
·      Peaches
·      Pineapple
·      Broccoli, kale, and spinach contain large quantities of vitamin C and E
·      Salmon, brazil nuts, brown rice, and oatmeal are high in selenium
·      Beans
·      Lentils
·      Whole grain bread and cereal
·      Sunflower seeds
·      Tofu
·      Garlic
·      Fish contains the Omega 3 oils, especially oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines
·      Fenugreek

Remember that when it comes to joint pain, listen to your body.  Move slowly and lovingly, eat healthfully, and have patience.  

1 comment:

  1. Hi, This is a good post, indeed a great job. You must have done good research for the work, i appreciate your efforts.

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