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Taking charge of your summer joint health

Taking charge of your summer joint health

Summer is officially here in Campbell County, Wyoming and for many that means an increase in activity. For those living with joint and back pain, this can sometimes be a challenge. Luckily, with the proper prevention tips and strength training, you can have an eventful summer enjoying the outdoors, injury-free. Here’s how:

Staying Healthy Mentally and Physically
With the increasing warmth and sunshine, many people find themselves in a better mental state. This can help you feel well and improve your daily workouts, too. The two go hand-in-hand, and the more active you are, the greater chance you have of reducing stress, tension, and joint pain.

  • Workouts Lead to Quality Sleep: When you schedule your workouts earlier in the day, your body temperature rises. When it drops, it triggers sleepiness and could reset your sleep cycle—leading you to better-rested nights. Lack of sleep has been known to lead to stress and more mental fogginess.
  • A Natural Energy Booster: With physical activity, you get a release of endorphins—a natural hormone your body produces to give you energy. The more you work out, the more your endorphin levels can increase, providing you with the power you need all day long. The better you feel, the more likely you are to continue your active lifestyle.
  • It Can Relieve Muscle Tension and Joint Pain: One of the leading causes of muscle tension is prolonged sitting. A sedentary life can do a lot to you physically and mentally. When you regularly warm and work out your muscles and joints, you gain flexibility and reduce pain all while increasing your mood.

Getting and Staying Active
The more active you are in life, the better you’ll feel. When it comes to muscle mass, remember that if you don’t use it, you lose it. As you age, muscle mass decreases, making it vital to continue with strength training.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t start later in life; it just depends on how you do it. For most, full high-impact workouts won’t be the best place to start. They can increase your chance of injury. You’ll want to work up your resistance and strength, slowly. If you are getting active later in life, here’s what you should know:

Decide Your Workout Plan
If you suffer from joint damage, pain, or injury, you’ll want to talk with your doctor about the best workout for you. Just remember to start slow and think low impact like water aerobics or brisk walks. Listen to your body and slowly build up to more extensive strength training.

Start Building Muscle Mass
If you’ve already noticed a decrease in muscle mass, it’s not too late to work on regaining it. It just might require some physical therapy and some dietary changes.

Don’t Forget Hydration
Our overall health depends on our hydration. When your body lacks proper hydration, you can see side effects in every aspect of your body, including your joints and muscles. If you have joint pain, here’s how dehydration could be causing some other issues:

  • Higher Chance of Inflammation: Your body needs water to flush out toxins that can lead to swelling and inflammation. Furthermore, your cartilage needs that water to move and support your joints as they should.
  • Better Joint Function: Joints act as cushions for your bones. Without them, your bones would constantly be rubbing against each other, causing pain and damage. When you are properly hydrated, so are your joints, and they can freely move and bend as they should. Just like a dry sponge, dehydrated joints can't bend or move around freely.

Water also helps blood flow freely throughout your body, including your joints — allowing for better circulation and less pain and stiffness.

Conditioning Your Body for Prevention
Many typical summer and fall injuries occur because of improper conditioning. Whether it’s from a lack of warming up or incorrect form, many of these injuries could have been avoided. Not only that, when injuries go ignored, they can worsen over time, leading to further damage and prolonged pain. That’s where sports medicine comes in.

What is Sports Medicine?
The main focus of sports medicine is to help improve your athletic performance. Sports medicine physicians are medical doctors who diagnose and treat exercise or athletic-induced injuries. This means they can help those recovering from a sports injury and those with past injuries improve mobility and capability, regardless of skill level. If you’re athletic or involved in sports, you can benefit from seeing one of our sports medicine specialists.

Prevention is Key
As we stated above, many injuries can be avoided with some strength and knowledge. A Sports Medicine Specialist can work with you on a better exercise program so that you are making the most of your results. You can also increase your mobility and capability for a more active lifestyle. Other reasons to see a sports medicine specialist include:

  • Head injuries
  • Chronic or acute illnesses that can affect performance (such as asthma and diabetes)
  • Nutrition

By taking charge of your health, you can enjoy summer at your full athletic ability.

Does a recent injury or joint pain hinder your daily activities? Power River Orthopedics & Spine (PROS) is here to help in Gillette, Wyoming. We can evaluate your options, so you can rest assured that you get the best possible outcome.

Call the PROS at 307.686.1413 or visit www.cchwyo.org/PROS to learn more.

PROS is a Campbell County Medical Group Clinic with Campbell County Health.