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Top 7 Tips To Secure Your Joints While Aging

Top 7 Tips To Secure Your Joints While Aging

A joint is an area where two or more bones join. Most joints are mobile and help the bones to move. Arthritis refers to the inflammation or tenderness and swelling of joints in the body. It may involve one or more joints at a time. There are different types of arthritis depending on the cause. Degeneration of joints as one grows older is quite a common occurrence. Through this article, we will get to know some essential tips to secure joints while ageing as well as the role of homeopathy in treating arthritis.

What are the sign and symptoms of arthritis?

The signs and symptoms of arthritis vary according to the type of arthritis involved. However, the common signs and symptoms of arthritis involving the joints include: –

  • Stiffness
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Reduced range of movement

What are the different types of arthritis?

Different types of arthritis are: –

1. Ankylosing spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis

It is an inflammatory disease of the vertebrae that causes them to fuse. This makes the spine less flexible. If this disease involves the rib cage, then it can make deep breathing difficult. It can also involve the eyes.

2. Gout

Gout

It is a complex type of arthritis that causes severe, sudden pain with redness, swelling and tenderness in joints. It most commonly involves the big toe. It is caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the affected joint.

3. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis

This form of arthritis occurs most commonly in children under 16 years of age. It is an autoimmune disease of the joints.

4. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis

It is the most common type of arthritis that occurs when the cartilage at the ends of the bones gets worn down with time. It most commonly affects the hips, hands, knees and spine.

5. Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis

It occurs in people with psoriasis which is an autoimmune skin problem characterised by red patches with silvery scales.

6. Reactive arthritis

Reactive arthritis

It is triggered due to infection in some other part of the body such as genitals, intestines and urinary tract. It usually affects the ankles, knees and feet.

7. Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis

It is an autoimmune disorder of the joints in which the lining of the joints is damaged resulting in swelling that can later cause bone erosion and even deformity of the joint.

8. Septic arthritis

Septic arthritis

It refers to infection of the joint with germs that come through the bloodstream from other parts of the body or from an injury that directly delivers germs into the joints.

What are the common causes of arthritis?

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two main types of arthritis.

The cause of osteoarthritis is wear and tear to the joint’s cartilage. This wear and tear to the cartilage can take place gradually over the years or early due to joint infection or injury.

The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is autoimmunity where the immune system of the body itself damages the joint capsule that is present to enclose all the parts of the joint. This leads to swelling and inflammation and can eventually destroy the bone and cartilage within the joint.

What are the risk factors of arthritis?

Common risk factors for arthritis are: –

  • Age- Aging increases the chances of developing many types of arthritis.
  • Sex- Women are more prone than men to develop arthritis. However, gout is more commonly found in men.
  • Genetics- Some types of arthritis are related to faulty genes and therefore having a sibling or parent with such a disorder increases the chances of developing it.
  • Joint injury in past- Injury to a joint as seen while playing sports or falling down increases the chances of developing arthritis in that joint.
  • Obesity- Obese people are more likely to develop arthritis, especially of knees, spine and hips as excess weight puts stress on these joints.

What are the top 7 tips to secure your joints while ageing?

As prevention is better than cure it is advisable to take care of the joints early. Following are the top 7 effective tips to safeguard the joints and the surrounding tissues that support them as one ages: –

1. Quit smoking

Quit smoking

It is seen that smoking raises inflammatory changes throughout the body which makes it difficult for the body to heal and recover from an injury. It is seen that within 8 hours of quitting smoking the level of oxygen in the blood increases and the carbon monoxide level gets back to normal. One can plan ahead and even seek support to successfully quit smoking.

2. Stay hydrated

Stay hydrated

80% of the body’s cartilage which is the flexible connective tissue that helps to cushion the joints is made of water. If the body is dehydrated, then the water from this cartilage is pulled by the body which can damage the joints. It is therefore advisable to stay hydrated and drink water whenever one feels thirsty. One should increase water intake when exercising or during hot weather. Also, replace soda and energy drinks with water- this will ensure better hydration to the joints.

3. Shed extra weight

Shed extra weight

The joints in the body can bear only a certain amount of weight. If one is obese one is likely to put more weight on the joints. If one is overweight, then each additional 10 pounds of weight puts an extra 20-39 pounds of force on each knee. Similarly, being underweight is also not good for the joints as in such cases the muscle bulk to support the joints is lacking. To achieve ideal weight one can follow an approach like having a Mediterranean diet. Such a diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fat.

4. Exercise regularly

Exercise regularly

Exercise helps to maintain weight and makes the muscles that support the joints become sturdy. Ideal exercises to maintain good health of the joints include cycling, swimming, pilates, walking, yoga and walking on the shallow end of the pool.

5. Always remember to warm up and cool down

It is advisable to stretch muscles and warm up the joints before beginning to exercise. This is important to avoid excess strain on the joints. Warm-up is even more important for older joints that become less flexible. It is advisable to do warm-up exercises for at least five minutes, using the same muscles that will be involved later during exercise but at a slower pace.

6. using assistive devices

Use assistive devices such as canes, raised toilet seats, shoe inserts and walkers etc. that help to protect the joints.

7. Be attentive to cues from the body

After exercise joint pain or muscle pain are two different things. If one feels sore after exercise which can be related to the activity one performed earlier and the soreness goes away easily then it’s probably OK. But if one develops joint pain then it means something wrong. This joint pain at times can be simply corrected by correcting the posture but it can also be due to more serious reasons such as osteoarthritis which needs proper treatment.

Also Read How depression is linked with arthritis in older ages

What are the different diagnostic tools for arthritis?

Different diagnostic tools for arthritis are: –

  • Laboratory investigations
    • In this different types of fluids in the body such as urine, blood and joint fluid are obtained and analysed to find out the type of arthritis involved.
  • Imaging procedure
    • X-Ray – low levels of x-ray radiation are used to visualize bone to check for any bone damage, cartilage loss, and bone spur. X-ray helps to assess the progression of the disease.
    • Computerised Tomography (CT) – In this X-rays are used to take multiple images from different angles which are then combined to form cross-sectional views of bone and surrounding soft tissue.
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – in this radio waves having a strong magnetic field is used to create a more detailed cross-sectional view of surrounding soft tissue such as tendons, cartilage and ligament.
    • Ultrasound– in this sound waves with high frequency are used to create images of soft tissues, bursae or the fluid-containing sacs near the joint and cartilage.

What is the role of Homeopathy in the treatment of joint problems?

Homeopathy has a significant role to play in the treatment of joint problems. Homeopathic medicines can very effectively help to control arthritis pain without causing any side effects unlike it is seen with prolonged use of conventional painkiller medications. Along with proper management and guided physiotherapy homeopathic medicines can help to repair joint structures such as damaged cartilage and increase the secretion of synovial fluid that acts as a lubricant for the smooth functioning of the joint. In the case of autoimmune-related arthritis homeopathic medicine can help to correct the immune system and thus prevent any further joint degeneration. in cases of deformed joints, the damage cannot be fully reversed but homeopathic medicine can help to allay pain and repair joints to improve the overall quality of life of the patient.

The best homeopathic medicine for arthritis is the one which is the most similar to the manifestation of the disease in the patient. For this, a trained homeopathic physician tries to elicit symptoms from both the physical as well as mental spheres of the patient.

Common homeopathic medicines for arthritis are: –

  • Arnica montana– It is a very effective homeopathic medicine for osteoarthritis which is caused due to injury or gradual wear and tear of knee cartilage. There is bruised pain which aggravates touch.
  • Belladonna– It is suitable to treat arthritis with the throbbing type of pain accompanied by heat and intense redness of the affected joint.
  • Benzoicum acidum – It is an effective medicine for a gouty condition where joint pain is accompanied by highly offensive and dark brown urine.
  • Bryonia alba– It is a very effective homeopathic medicine for knee pain where the pain stops when the person stops moving the affected joint and becomes severe when the person starts to walk.
  • Ledum palustre– It is suitable to treat ascending types of arthritis such that the affected joint feels cold to the touch but gets considerably relieved by putting the affected joint in icy cold water.
  • Rhus toxicodendron – It is a very effective medicine for arthritis in which stiffness is predominant. This stiffness is felt more while resting and during the first motion and gets better from continued motion. The pain becomes worse during damp weather and is better from warm applications.

CONCLUSION

Arthritis refers to the inflammation or tenderness and swelling of joints in the body. A joint is an area where two or more bones join. Most joints are mobile and help the bones to move. There are different types of arthritis depending on the cause. Stiffness, pain, swelling, redness and reduced range of movement are common signs and symptoms of arthritis.

Ageing, obesity, positive family history of arthritis in parents or siblings or any joint injury in the past are some of the common risk factors that increase the chances of developing arthritis. Women are more prone than men to develop arthritis except for gout which is more commonly seen in men.

Arthritis can adversely affect the routine of an individual. Arthritis affecting the weight-bearing joints of the body can make walking and sit up straight difficult for the person. Arthritis affecting the hand and finger joints can make it difficult to perform daily tasks. Also if arthritis is not in a timely controlled then the joint may lose its alignment and shape causing deformity.

As prevention is better than cure it is advisable to take care of the joints early. Effective tips to safeguard the joints include quitting smoking, staying hydrated, maintaining optimal weight, exercising regularly, and use assistive devices such as canes, and raised toilet seats wherever possible.

For treatment, homeopathy has a significant role to play in the effective and at the same time safe treatment of arthritis. Homeopathy when supported by physiotherapy can help to repair and restore joints to a great extent. For treatment, it is advisable to refer to a trained physician rather than self-drugging at home.

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