In our previous posts, we have seen different ways to promote healing of severe joint pain, chronic joint pain and simple ways to avoid joint injuries all together. What is more important though is to achieve an overall healthy joint; a joint that functions normally. Because of age, injury and certain conditions, normal joint articulation may not be possible. Before it gets too late, it is best to develop habits that will help joints remain healthy or at least become healthy again.
Chronic Joint Paint – Good Habits vs. Bad (Vices)
Habits are different from vices. Habits are usually associated with something that is positive, like good habit of eating the right food groups or good habit of exercising in the morning. Habits are formed because of constant repetition. Vices also are formed because of constant repetition but on the other hand are associated with actions which lead to harm, like the vice of smoking after eating or drinking too much alcohol.
Good habits have to be instilled in your biological system in order for us to remain healthy, avoid chronic joint pain or become healthy again. The problem with most people is that we only try to develop good habits once something bad or life changing happens to us. Before it’s too late try to develop good habits and minimize the vices.
First things first: Make a lit of your current good habits and vices. Make sure to be honest with your self-evaluation. This is not a graded exam so there is really no need to cheat and try to impress yourself. Be honest in your list so that you will know which things to eliminate and which practices you are supposed to reinforce.
Why We Get Bad Joints and Joint Pain?
Bad joints are usually connected with injuries but 50% of the time they are connected with our lifestyle. Certain foods are bad for our joints no matter how good they taste. Fried and processed food can inflame the joints. Advanced glycation end products (the toxins that appear when food is heated, grilled or pasteurized) damage protein in the body which are bad for the joints as well. High amounts of sugar and intake of carbs also result in inflammation of the muscles around your joints. Dairy products, alcohol, tobacco and salt are bad for your joints if taken in great amounts.
The list seems endless. Does this mean you do not have to take all these foods which are bad for the joints? No. Not necessarily. What you have to do is to minimize the intake of these things, not just when you feel the pain in your joints but even before there is chronic joint pain. Remember, prevention is better than cure!
To supplement your new found lifestyle, here are some 12 good habits which are good for the overall health of your joints, to keep them functioning and avoid chronic joint pain:
- Do Simple Stretching – it only takes 2 to 3 minutes of your day to do a simple stretching exercise. Stretching is best done in the morning. After 5-6 hours of sleep at night, the body needs to mobilize its joints. Start your stretching routine from head to toe. The minute you get up from sleep, stretch your muscles and move your joints.
- Eat Right – Eat healthy foods and minimize junk food. This maybe the hardest part of the habit but it can be done with the right motivation.
- Lessen Cheat Days – If you are to eat junk foods, at least lessen the days you take junk food in. If you cannot totally give up eating junk food and drinking soda, you might as well assign a cheat day but do not make everyday a cheat day. After all, it’s your joint that will suffer.
- Listen to Your Body – If you experience sharp pain, go to the doctor immediately. If your joints are acting weird, stop whatever you are doing. You are the best person to tell that something is wrong with your body. It is best to be careful than to be sorry.
- Drink Supplements – As we grow older our bodies will require more supplements. Why? Because our body is not as active as producing the needed nutrients as when you were younger. An injured knee needs more care and nutrients for it to heal faster. Make it a habit to drink supplements daily.
- Choose a Sport – Be active in sports. Choose a sport that your joints can handle. If you have been playing soccer back in college, try to schedule weekly games if possible. Sports are good for your joints. Go bike during the weekends, hike or jog. Choose a weekend physical activity that suits your lifestyle.
- Rest Properly – Muscles and joints need to rest after a strenuous activity. After a game, a hike or a walk your joints and muscles need to rest. For muscles to recuperate and grow, rest is also needed, much more for injured joints and muscles.
- Wear Compression Garments during workouts/games – This is very important if you want to prevent injuries or further injuries. Compression sleeves are also good to help you recover from injuries because it promotes blood circulation in the muscles around the joints. Some people even wear compression sleeves on a daily basis and not just during a game.
- Ice after a game – Icing after a game helps the joints from getting inflamed. Do not put ice directly on skin though to avoid ice burns. Put a washcloth or put ice in an ice bag. 15 -20 minutes of icing after a game helps joints recover faster.
- Drink Plenty of Water – Water rehydrates the body and recuperates the joints from the load you give it. 8-12 glasses of water is always ideal.
- Check-up – If you feel anything that is not normal with how your joints work, do not delay talking to experts. Don’t just “walk off” a painful knee or a hurting elbow.
- Move a lot – 8 hours of work in an office desk takes a toll on the joints. Joints need to move because it movement keeps the joints lubricated. If your work requires you to be on the desk 8 hours a day, find time to move during breaks. Walk the stairs instead of using the elevator. Take your coffee breaks outside the building. Be creative in trying to keep yourself moving.