How to take care of joints with health practices and supplements

Written by Nigel Simpkins

Being able to physically move freely without any restrictions or pain is something that most of us often overlook. Sometimes people tend to not mind the body when it’s not feeling anything unusual or discomfort. But it is always essential that you take care of your body regardless if it is healthy or suffering from any health problem. One part of the body which is usually not given adequate attention is the joints. While most people who take care of their joints are the elderly who suffer from joint problems, it is also vital for everyone of all ages to take care of their joint health similar to the rest of the body.

Our joints, also called articulation, are the ones that are in between any connecting bones, which allows movement that enables us to do our physical activities. They are categorised into three kinds:

  • Immovable – Also referred to as synarthroses, these joints are in close contact but can’t move. This includes skull sutures, the joints between the first pair of ribs and the sternum, and those between the teeth and the mandible. 
  • Slightly movable – These joints are tightly held together, allowing only limited movement, which is also called amphiarthrosis. Slightly movable joints include the pubic symphysis of the pelvic girdle and the distal joint between the tibia and the fibula. 
  • Freely movable – These joints are those that allow motion within the body called diarthrosis. This includes joints in the upper and lower limbs like the elbow, shoulder and ankle.

Healthy Practices For Joint Health

Similar to how we take care of our body, lifestyle modifications can also help us take care of our joints. While most of these are standard practices to maintain overall wellness, they also benefit your joint health.

  • Be physically active. Living an active lifestyle is known to play a massive part in keeping our bodies healthy. Aside from general wellness, regular exercise helps our joints stay healthy. The muscles around the joints become healthy and strong, reducing disability and making them work well as they should. Keep in mind, however, that you should do proper preparation before exercising to avoid any injuries. Stretching and wearing proper warm-ups are advised before exercise.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Eating healthy is always a great practice, along with regular exercise. Aside from getting the essential and beneficial nutrients that your body needs, a balanced diet also helps maintain and manage your weight. Excess weight has adverse effects not only on our hearts but also on our joints. The most common joints affected by excess eight are the knees, hips and feet, which bear our body weight. Keeping a normal weight reduces the wear and tear of joints that may lead to joint problems such as osteoarthritis.
  • Avoid any injuries. While most injuries or trauma experienced by our body heal and eventually go away, injuries to the joints can cause a problem later in life. According to studies, having ligaments, cartilage, and bone injuries can eventually cause post-traumatic arthritis. This progressive and degenerative joint problem develops due to wear and tear on the joint. To avoid any kind of injuries, it is important not to skip the warm-up and cool down. Using proper body mechanics is also an important key point to avoid having any injury.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep is an important part of general wellness, which keeps our bodies strong and energised to accomplish all the essential tasks that we need to do in a day. With regards to joint health, sleep is an essential part of those who have joint problems. According to research, sleep and joint pain are directly related to each other. Not getting enough sleep increases inflammation in the body, making joint pain worse. This can also result in reduced pain tolerance.

Common Joint Problems

  • Osteoarthritis – This is a degenerative joint problem that occurs due to the wear and tear of joints.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – This condition is an autoimmune and inflammatory joint disease that causes pain and inflammation in many joints at once.
  • Bursitis – This is characterised by inflammation in the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that reduces the friction between tissues of the body. It is located near the large joints.
  • Gout – This is a type of arthritis that happens when urate crystals form in your joints. This can cause inflammation and intense pain.

Natural Supplements

Over the years, the advancement of science has provided helpful pharmaceutical and medical preparations to help treat and maintain joint health. However, many people are still using natural supplements due to their beneficial and therapeutic effects in managing joint problems and their general wellness. Here are some:

  • Cannabidiol – Whether in the form of CBD gummies, cream, capsules or oral tinctures, this compound, commonly known as CBD, is popular due to its many therapeutic effects. Many people use CBD to help them manage anxiety, sleep, and pain and inflammation, amongst many others. Even though CBD is a cannabinoid that is extracted from hemp plants, it does not have psychoactive and intoxicating effects. According to preliminary studies, CBD may help with joint pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. Furthermore, CBD is said to help support overall well being and general wellness. 
  • Turmeric – This spice commonly used in Indian Medicinal practice or Ayurveda contains curcumin, its active ingredient. Aside from the spice and its yellow colour, curcumin is also responsible for turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These beneficial properties are said to have potential in treating different health problems, including reducing pain and making movement in people with osteoarthritis easier.  
  • Fish Oil – This common supplement taken by many is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Fish oil is popular not only for heart health but for joints as well. Its omega-3 fatty acids have been reported to contain anti-inflammatory properties making it helpful in bringing pain relief to your body’s joints
  • Glucosamine – Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound in the body that keeps the cartilages healthy. While people use glucosamine in the management of inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, chronic venous insufficiency, asthma, and long-term low back pain, preliminary studies suggest that it can also help with temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ), sports injuries, and giving relief to knee osteoarthritis, and other joints, too. Take note that caution is advised before taking this supplement if you have a shellfish allergy. 
  • Capsaicin – a compound found in chilli peppers, capsaicin is said to work by reducing a pain transmitter in your nerves referred to as Substance P. The reduction of this pain receptor is suggested to reduce the transmission of pain impulses to the brain, making it effective in the reduction of pain and tenderness in joints.