The bones are creaky and you’re feeling a little stiff
There are approximately 44 million people living with osteoporosis in the United States—a condition that causes bones to be so brittle they can fracture from even the most innocuous of events. A fall, a sneeze, a book falling from the shelf; even these can cause painful fractures that can leave some elderly people permanently disabled. Other Osteoporetic conditions can cause chronic pain in the joints and limit ease of movement.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the five common conditions that affect the bones and joints. We will also discuss natural ways to protect against the condition before concluding with strategies you can take to help manage pain and build and maintain strong, healthy bones.
Common Health Conditions of the Bones and Joints
The most common bone condition by far, and it is most prevalent among post-menopausal women. Most people with osteoporosis begin to experience symptoms of the condition around the age of 40-55. Symptoms may include back or neck pain, bones that fracture easily, a hunched posture, and loss of height. Over time, the fear of breaking a bone causes people immense anxiety, and this can ultimately affect a person’s mental health and quality of life.
A degenerative disease, meaning that it worsens over time. The condition is characterized by a gradual breakdown of the cartilage that protects bones from rubbing against each other, resulting in chronic joint pain. An estimated 32.5 million adults have osteoarthritis in the U.S. and the condition most commonly affects the knees, hips, neck, lower back, and hands. Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are new treatments that can help. New research in a variety of types of stem cell regeneration is demonstrating wonderful outcomes. Still, protecting your bones in the first place is the best way to prevent the condition’s development.
Another common condition may come in the form of episodic attacks of one or more joints at night. This condition is actually caused by a buildup of uric acid from certain foods and drinks that many people consume. Most notably, alcohol drinks of any kind contain uric acid, along with certain types of fish, including shellfish, anchovies, sardines, mussels, and codfish. Bacon, turkey, veal, and venison are also known sources of uric acid that can contribute to gout. This condition causes people to have painful, red, and inflamed joints, especially the big toe. The best way to prevent gout is to eliminate foods and stress which can elevate an acidic environment in the joint capsules.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term, chronic auto-immune disease that can happen at any age. For the most part, the diagnosis is usually noted in middle-aged people. Those who have rheumatoid arthritis experience pain and inflammation in their joints and the tissues surrounding them. It is common for people with RA to wake up in the morning with painful, stiff joints that they must carefully stretch before beginning the day. The hands, feet, and wrists, in particular, are known to be affected. Unfortunately, experts have yet to pinpoint a cause, and many medications for RA are controversial due to severe side effects.
The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that provides a cushion between your joints, muscles, and tendons. These sacs are all over the body, but when they can become swollen and irritated due to overuse, trauma, rheumatoid arthritis, infection, and sometimes another unknown cause. Unlike several other bone and joint conditions, bursitis can resolve over time with rest, ice, and pain relievers. The key to preventing it from developing is taking care to reduce pressure on your joints, having a proper technique for sports and exercise activities, and stretching often.
Natural Ways to Promote Bone and Joint Health
Some conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are believed to have a genetic component. In other words, sometimes you cannot completely prevent a condition from developing. However, regardless of any genetic vulnerabilities, there are additional ways to protect your bones and joints and manage pain naturally.
Eat a healthy diet
A diverse, nutritional diet is essential. Make sure to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and calcium-rich foods. Dairy products like milk and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium. If you are lactose sensitive, dark leafy greens, white beans, chia seeds, are nice alternatives rich in calcium.
Studies have found that Osteoporosis, Gout, and RA may be related to an acidic environment. Learn more about Alkaline diets at https://draxe.com/nutrition/alkaline-diet/
Venture into the sun
The sun is our critical source of vitamin D. Oh, and here’s a fun fact: vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin. It’s a hormone that is synthesized in your skin when you come in contact with the sun. Without vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium and maintain healthy bones. Children who don’t get enough vitamin D can end up with rickets, whereas adults can have brittle, miss-shapen bones (osteomalacia).
Detox from alcohol and tobacco
The National Osteoporosis Foundation advises against consuming more than 2-3 drinks per week, as alcohol decreases bone density and impairs calcium absorption. Smoking also impairs calcium absorption and restricts oxygen from reaching and repairing your bones.
Although bone is living tissue, we don’t always think of it that way. When we are younger, exercise is essential for building strong bones. As we age, it’s important for us to keep exercising to maintain our strength. The more we exercise, the denser our bones are, and the more we can protect our bones from growing brittle over time. Regular exercise also improves our balance and flexibility. Falls happen in an instant and regular exercise helps the proprioceptors in our body be more in tune with sudden slips and balance recovery. Aquatic therapy is a great way to benefit from balance and flexibility exercises while reducing the chance of injury due to falls. A good place to find a class would be your local YMCA.
Massage with Essential Oils
- Reduce Inflammation with Lemongrass. The combination of Peppermint and Thyme reduces inflammation and cools warm joints.
- Marjoram is often used for spasms and stiffness. A blend of marjoram, lavender, and mandarin helps to relax muscles and improves relaxation for a good night’s sleep.
- Simply mix 10 drops of the essential oil with 1 teaspoon of coconut, jojoba, or olive oil to get a safe mixture for a wonderfully soothing massage just before going to sleep or the next day before a morning stretching routine.
Discover more wonderful blends and information about essential oils and pain relief at Nourished Essentials.
Local Businesses in Wilco that Promote Bone Health
If you’re not sure how to reform your diet, we recommend scheduling an appointment with one of the many, wonderful dieticians or holistic practitioners nearby. Learn about nutrition counseling with Terri at Eat 4 Health, and for young moms look to Fuel For Life to start your diet transformation.
No matter your age, it’s never too late to begin exercising. If you are looking to begin working out for the first time in a long time, consider scheduling a visit with your doctor for a physician to ensure there are no health issues that could impede progress. Your Doctor may advise starting with a medical health professional such as Physical Therapy or Occupational therapy. These licensed health care providers can help educate you on a range of motion and weight-bearing safe exercise programs. They can also assist with ADL items to help with everyday activities. Find a great professional team near you.
Here in Williamson County, we have a number of yoga and pilates studios, opportunities for cycling both indoors and outdoors, and even Tia Chi and walking groups for encouragement. Wherever you are on your health journey, it is always helpful to find a supportive community to motivate and encourage you. Fortunately, there’s no better community than ours for keeping fit, eating nutritious, and meeting like-minded individuals along your health journey.