Understanding Joint Pain

Pain in the joints, especially the larger joints of the body, can be one of the most challenging hurdles in the pursuit of a healthy, active lifestyle.  Physical activity and exercise are a crucial component of optimal health and pain and stiffness in the joints prevents individuals from being all that they can be.

Spinal related pain such as pain in the joints of the neck, back, and thoracic region of the spine can be particularly painful because inflammation and degeneration often affect the nerves in those areas and lead to radiating pain in the arms, fingers, buttocks, and legs.  Pain in joints such as the knee and hips are affected by weight bearing and often a precursor to arthritis and degeneration.

Stretch it Out

One of the most effective ways to relieve joint pain is a practice of daily stretching.  When performed on a regular basis, stretching exercises can increase joint flexibility and muscle strength, as well as tone muscles, relieve joint pain, improve posture, and reduce stress. In addition, low-impact stretches elongate muscles and decompress joints while taking them through their normal ranges of motion.

In addition keep the following facts in mind:  The human body is made to walk. All of the joints in your body, including your sacroiliac joints and the intricate joints of the vertebral column, work best when they are regularly taken through their normal ranges of motion during exercise and physical activity. Stiffening of the joints is often a result of insufficient movement, sometimes called the use it or lose it principle. Since your body was specifically designed to stride along in an upright position, walking is the most natural exercise there is.

Natural Solutions

A regular program of distance walking has also been proven to strengthen the cardiovascular system by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Reduced stress, increased muscle strength, improved digestion, and strengthened bones are just a few of the positive effects of consistently including walking in your daily lifestyle.  It's also easy to see how losing weight can help reduce pain and stiffness in the major weight bearing joints of the body.  Just a few extra pounds of pressure can add wear and tear to the hips, knees, spine, and ankles over time.

Fortunately, there are many holistic and alternative approaches to treating and preventing joint pain. Technological advancements in modern orthopedic medicine have made it easier for individuals to keep moving and live more pain free lives than in the past. In addition, supplements such as glucosamine chondroitin are being proven to help relieve joint pain when taken for a month or longer.  Improving the quality of the food you eat can actually make a significant difference for many people suffering from joint pain and stiffness.