Personal Training

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How to deal with joint pain

Exercise is a sport of passion, but when it is associated with pain in your joints it can certainly become a real drag, especially as we get older. This type of pain can affect many areas of your body like the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and ankles.

Joint pain can be caused for many reasons. Perhaps a sports injury, or clumsiness as a few people I know, maybe arthritis, overuse or some sort of medical condition. In my case about eight years ago I broke my right wrist and the year after one of my fingers in my right hand; both times while playing football. With time I healed yet I'll admit I've paid the price ever since.

From time to time it hurts and limits what I can do while working out or performing other activities. I try to be careful, I also let it rest, I'll have a massage in that spot and if it's to painful I'll take some ibuprofen.

So I can related with most people when they incur in injuries or experience some sort of joint pain. Most folks experience knee or hip pain so I'll focus this on those only.

It can affect men or women. However women particularly suffer more from either knee or hip pain.

There could be many reasons as to why:

  • rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, bursitis, Chondromalacia patellae, gout, infectious diseases, osteoarthritis, osteomyelitis, a sports injury, a car accident, tendinitis and overuse among many other.
Kind of overwhelming, isn't it? From the fitness perspective, should you stop training?... In my case I know the cause of my injury and pain and there's nothing I can do besides rest at times, slow down a bit and suck it in. After a few days it goes away... then again it comes back. But there's no way I'll distance myself from training and sports.

Should you do the same? My advice: If you are unsure of the cause of your symptoms, or if you do not know the specific treatment recommendations for your condition, you should seek medical attention.

However recent research published in the Journal of Rheumatology, The Mayo Clinic, WebMD and many other sports injury clinics suggest that certain simple strength training routines can help.

In one of the study, individuals with arthritis engaged in a four month-long exercise program consisting of simple weight bearing exercises, such as squats in their own homes. The exercisers experienced a 43 percent reduction in pain and a 44 percent improvement in physical functioning. The exercisers were able to walk, climb stairs, sit, and stand more easily than their non-exercising counterparts.

According to the study, individuals who are self-motivated may be able to manage their arthritis pain with exercise and reduce the need for pain medication. While pills help pain and stiffness, they don’t do a thing for your muscles or joint strength.

The study concludes that exercise is effective because muscles act as shock absorbers for the joints; they are able to cushion the impact of their body weight on various joints during activity. The stronger the muscles, the better they are able to absorb this shock.

Some other recommendations for knee pain:

  • Rest - take some time off to allow the acute inflammation to subside
  • Heat & Ice application - Use ice when there's swelling like just after an injury or after activities that irritate a chronic injury (within 48 hours) and apply heat before activities that irritate chronic injuries such as muscle strains. Heat can help loosen tissues and relax injured areas... just don't burn yourself.
  • Stretching
  • Physical Therapy is sometimes recommended depending on the cause of your problem
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine
  • Certain supplements can also help like calcium, Glucosamine with Chondrotin,  MSM, vitamin D, fish oil, Omega 3, Omega 6, flaxseed oil, CLA among a few.
Pause for a moment and imagine where would you be or how will your body feel if you didn't eat properly, and exercised even a bit. Your joints and the rest of your body would be in some serious bad conditioning.

I hope the information here helps you out. Would like to know what you do to manage pain in your joints if you experiment these.

Get Fit - Stay Fit!

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