Joint pain is relatively common. Joints provide a cushion between your bones and allow you to move, bend, and perform other necessary motions. You can get stiffness or pain from an injury, an illness, or overuse. Chronic joint pain (discomfort that continues for more than three months) can come from arthritis or other stiffness-causing conditions.
Pain can affect any joint in your body, but it is most common in specific areas.
- Shoulder pain can come from arthritis, inflammation, or an injury, such as a dislocated shoulder.
- Knee pain can be due to an injury or overuse, though some chronic conditions, such as tendonitis, bursitis, and gout, can also create discomfort.
- Neck pain can be caused by degenerative conditions, herniated spinal discs, or osteoporosis. Arthritis in the neck can be particularly painful and debilitating.
- Hand and wrist pain is typically a result of arthritis, though nerve disorders can also cause issues.
Regardless of the location of your acute or chronic discomfort, you can adopt healthy habits to manage joint pain. These lifestyle changes can also help protect you from developing certain chronic joint conditions and strengthen your tendons to help you avoid injury and relieve pain.
Food, beverages, and supplements can affect your health in general and your ability to manage joint pain in particular. For example, a diet rich in whole foods can limit inflammation and help you lose weight, which will reduce pressure on your joints.
- Eat more fish. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation caused by arthritis or acute joint injuries. Salmon, sardines, and mackerel are particularly good choices for this beneficial type of fat.
- Add more servings of colorful vegetables and leafy greens. These two types of food are rich in antioxidants, which can speed healing after an injury or illness.
- Replace sugary foods with fruits and berries. Colorful berries, such as strawberries and blueberries, have a particularly dense concentration of antioxidants. Meanwhile, citrus fruits, like oranges, tangerines, and grapefruits, have a lot of vitamin C, which is necessary for maintaining healthy joints and fighting infections and viruses that can cause temporary stiffness, weakness, and joint pain.
- Drink more water. Water is necessary for proper immune function and digestion. It can also help ensure that your joints are properly lubricated. At the same time, you should limit sugary beverages, which can cause weight gain and lead to inflammation that can exacerbate arthritis.
Other foods, such as whole grains, nuts, and seeds, can also help reduce inflammation and provide low-fat energy that can aid weight loss. By reducing the weight on your joints, these diet changes can help you relieve joint pain.
Fitness and lifestyle changes
Exercise and stretching can help improve joint function and reduce pain, but you also need to follow a proper recovery schedule after working out. Here are some tips.
- Consider yoga. Gentle yoga poses can improve flexibility. They can also improve strength, balance, and posture, which can relieve pressure on your joints, reducing inflammation.
- Move regularly. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to stiffer joints and more pain. Any movement can be helpful. Walking or riding a bicycle every day can be beneficial, as can working in a garden or yard, cleaning around the house, or even dancing.
- Get enough sleep. Your body needs regular sleep to recharge, and proper sleep patterns can reduce inflammation. Studies have shown that arthritis sufferers who do not sleep well experience more pain than those who get a good night’s rest.
- Save time for recovery. Movement is important, but you should know your limits. Gradually increasing your level of exercise is more beneficial for long-term stiffness relief and pain reduction than hard workouts that leave you sore for the next week. If you begin slowly, you will be able to continue the daily movement, which will reduce stiffness and help flexibility.
Get help for your joint pain
Carolinas Pain Center can diagnose and offer support to help you manage conditions like arthritis and recover from acute joint pain. Through examinations and diagnostic tests using ultrasounds and fluoroscopy imaging, our physicians can find the source of your pain and offer a treatment plan. We can also recommend healthy habits for joint pain to help you recover quickly or limit chronic discomfort.
You don’t have to continue suffering from joint pain. Contact Carolinas Pain Center today to schedule an appointment.