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10 Ways You Can Protect Your Joints

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Arthritis means loss of the surface cartilage of the end of a bone that makes up a joint. The shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and ankle are potential sites for arthritis. Arthritis can lead to joint inflammation, swelling, stiffness, tenderness, redness, or warmth. One type of inflammatory arthritis is known as 'rheumatoid arthritis'. Degenerative joint disease that is non-inflammatory is known as 'osteoarthritis' and is the most common type of arthritis. It usually affects weight-bearing joints such as the hip and knee. In general, the shoulder, elbow and ankle are much less affected by arthritis then the hip and knee.

OSTEORTHRITIS usually affects one joint at a time, gradually destroying the cartilage. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, affects tens of millions of Americans. This disease is found in many different joints in the body, but particularly in the knees, neck, back, hips and fingers. It commonly causes pain, inflammation and decreased range of motion. Osteoarthritis is generally considered to be a relentless and irreversible process of joint destruction. Medical treatment relies upon nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, etc., to treat the symptoms but they do not slow the progression of the disease. In fact, there is evidence that long-term use of NSAID’s can cause further joint damage and accelerate the progression of osteoarthritis by inhibiting synthesis of proteoglycans, a group of proteins that make up the “ground substance” of cartilage. This is what gives the joints their strength and resilience.
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10 Self Treatment Ways You Can Protect Your Joints

Regular, moderate exercise reduces joint pain and stiffness, builds strong muscle around the joints, and increases flexibility and endurance. Improve your overall health and fitness by taking a first step toward a healthier you.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, with nearly 27 million Americans living with it today. No longer considered just a consequence of aging, researchers now have several candidates when looking for a cause: musculoskeletal defects, genetic defects, obesity, or injury and overuse. Find more resources for managing OA at the end of this article.

While you may not be able to control a genetic trait or knock knees, there are some definite actions you can take to protect your joints and help prevent OA.

1. MAINTAIN YOUR IDEAL BODY WEIGHT. The more you weigh, the more stress you are putting on your joints, especially your hips, knees, back and feet.

2. MOVE YOUR BODY. Exercise protects joints by strengthening the muscles around them. Strong muscles keep your joints from rubbing against one another, wearing down cartilage.

3. STAND UP STRAIGHT. Good posture protects the joints in your neck, back, hips and knees.

4. USE THE BIG JOINTS. When lifting or carrying, use largest and strongest joints and muscles. This will help you avoid injury and strain on your smaller joints.

5. PACE YOURSELF. Alternate periods of heavy activity with periods of rest. Repetitive stress on joints for long periods of time can accelerate the wear and tear that causes OA.

6. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you are in pain, don't ignore it. Pain after activity or exercise can be an indication that you have overstressed your joints.

7. DON'T BE STATIC. Changing positions regularly will decrease the stiffness in your muscles and joints.

8. FORGET THE WEEKEND WARRIOR. Don't engage in activities your body for which your body isn't prepared. Start new activities slowly and safely until you know how your body will react to them. This will reduce the chance of injury.

9. WEAR PROPER SAFETY EQUIPMENT. Don't leave helmets and wrist pads at home. Make sure you get safety gear that is comfortable and fits appropriately.

10. ASK FOR HELP. Don't try to do a job that is too big for you to handle. Get another pair of hands to help out.

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For more information on preventing osteoarthritis, PLUS tips on making your daily activities easier on your joints:

~ Order a copy of the Arthritis Foundation publication "Good Living with Osteoarthritis"
Click on this link afstore.arthritis.org/AF

~ Visit the web store and check out the new "Tips for Good Living with Arthritis".
Click on this link afstore.arthritis.org/AF

~ Take time to learn how to care for yourself. Find out more from the editors of 'Arthritis Today'.
Click on this link www.arthritistoday.org/

You can go to this website for more info: www.arthritis.org/protec

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emoticonGood info - Do you do any of the preventions above?
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