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Putting your bone and joint health first

Putting your bone and joint health first

When juggling work and family, many find themselves putting their health on the back burner. For others, they will attend their regular well visits, but ignore the aches and pains that come from daily life. However, with a few mindful habits, you can put keeping up with your health, from head to toe, at the front of your to-do list:

Consider a Diet Change

For many, inflammation might seem like a part of life. Joint pain and arthritis can take a significant toll on day-to-day activities. However, many have seen relief and lessened flare-ups by changing the way they eat. Often referred to as the anti-inflammatory diet, the basic rule is to load your diet up with water and leafy greens. Though vegetables are encouraged, some might find that certain nightshades can increase flare-ups and lead to more pain. Nightshade vegetables include:

  • White potatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Bell peppers
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Paprika

Ultimately, it's about trial and error. If you notice pain occurs on days when you eat specific foods, eliminate that food so you can learn if it’s a trigger or not. Some other foods that you might want to avoid or could lead to flare-ups include:

  • Sugary Beverages: Water should always be your first beverage of choice. This is because your joints, just like the rest of your body, need to stay hydrated to keep you feeling your best. Your bones and cartilage need the fluid for lubrication, and the more fluid they lack, the harder it is on your joints to move with ease. Your discs will be dehydrated and your joints will undergo more stress, ultimately leading to inflammation.
  • Sugar: Ingesting sugar encourages your body to create cytokines, which are inflammatory messengers. Avoiding added and natural sugars can help prevent inflammation.
  • Processed Food: Processed foods loaded with preservatives are linked to overeating — when we overeat, we often gain weight. An unhealthy weight leads to stress on your joints and increased inflammation.

Think Fruits and Vegetables

One of the easiest ways you can help your body fight inflammation is through a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Kale, leafy greens, berries, fatty fish, and fresh herbs and spices are all good meal choices. Try to fill most of your plate with leafy greens, and the rest with lean proteins and whole grains.

Practice Better Prevention

Not only does what you put in your body matter, but what you do to it makes a difference, too. Whether you are an avid runner or an occasional gym visitor, how you keep active can make a difference. For starters, rest days are needed. Working out or playing sports puts a lot of pressure on your muscles and joints, making rest days necessary. A rest day helps your muscles to build and recharge so that you can be at peak performance. From your ankle to your hamstrings, many sport-related injuries could have been prevented with the right care, here’s how:

Ankle Sprain

Often caused by turning too fast or the wrong way, ankle sprains are very common, but the best prevention is through strength training. By seeing a sports medicine doctor, you can not only heal and cope with your injury, but you’ll be provided with the tools you need to practice proper form.

Hamstring Strain

When a hamstring injury occurs, healing can be difficult due to the location, making re-injury very likely. However, with proper warmups and cooldowns, you can decrease your chance of a hamstring injury.

Knee Injury: ACL Tear

If at any point you suspect an ACL injury, you should see an orthopedic doctor as soon as you can. If not, a complete tear can occur and, if it does, surgery will be necessary to live an active life.

For all minor injuries, always remember RICE:

  • Rest and stop an activity
  • Ice the area
  • Compress the injury with a bandage to reduce swelling
  • Elevate whenever possible

Know Your Risk Factors

When it comes to your future joint health, women have a higher chance of certain types of arthritis than men. Although there is no exact reason why women’s risks are higher, there are several factors that could lead to it.

Hormone Levels

  • Estrogen: Once a woman hits menopause, her estrogen levels start to decrease. Your hormone levels help fight inflammation, so when they decrease, your risk for arthritis might increase.
  • Testosterone: For men, testosterone help build muscles. With stronger muscles comes better support for your joints. When your muscles and joints have the strength and support they need, the risk of arthritis is lower.

Focus on Recovery

If you have taken steps to get your strength and mobility back, and have recently undergone surgery, or are planning to, you'll want to be fully prepared to make the most of your recovery. Here’s what you’ll want to know:

Don’t Stay in Bed

Sitting or lying down for a prolonged period can harm your blood flow and veins, and could lead to clotting. If your doctor asks you to get up and get moving after surgery, it’s in your best interest.

Attend Your Appointments

Follow-up appointments are a critical part of your healing. It will allow your doctor to see how your progress is going, identify any setbacks or infections, and more. Any missed ones could set you back in your recovery process.

Control Pain

Pain can be a sign that something is wrong, and if your pain is leading to a lack of mobility, your recovery process could be halted. It’s essential to contact your doctor if the pain becomes too much or you find that you’re not improving.

Are you looking to get optimal joint and bone health? Powder 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 and are back to a happy and active life in no time.

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.