Many of us who suffer from chronic joint pain prefer to either postpone surgery or avoid it altogether. Fortunately, there are nonsurgical ways to improve joint health and regain an active lifestyle:
If your joints ache, the last thing you may want to do is exercise. But movement is one of the best remedies for joint pain. Here are some joint-friendly activities that can boost strength and improve your mood:
• Low-impact activities like walking, cycling and swimming • Exercises that strengthen the muscles around your hips and knees • Core-strengthening exercises • Light weight training, yoga and Pilates
If you do require surgery ...
... You will likely use assistive devices such as a cane or walker for a short period of time afterwards while your lower body recovers. Strengthening and conditioning your upper body beforehand can make it easier for you to use these devices.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Weight issues not only contribute to chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, but it can also contribute to joint pain. Every additional pound on our bodies is the equivalent of roughly four pounds of pressure on our hips and knees. The good news is that this math also works in reverse. Losing just 10 pounds can reduce 40 pounds of pressure on your joints!
Lose weight quickly and safely ...
... Has your doctor told you to lose weight before a joint replacement? If so, it’s important to have the right medical team supporting you every step of the way. Wake Forest Baptist Health’s Pre-Hab Weight Loss plan is designed to safely accelerate weight loss, allowing you to qualify for orthopaedic surgery. Learn more: Call (336( 716-6099.
Did you know ...
... 1lb. in weight = 4 lbs. in pressure on your hips and knees.
Focus on Nutrition
Healthy eating can reduce joint pain by decreasing inflammation in the body.
• A diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, with a balance of lean proteins and complex carbohydrates. • Taking supplements such as multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3s. (Check with your doctor first to find which ones are best for you.)
Go for color: The pigments that provide color to fruits and vegetables are powerful antioxidants that reduce inflammation in the body. Fill your plate with a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, such as: • Greens: Dark leafy greens, broccoli, green peppers • Reds: Berries, tomatoes, eggplants • Yellows/Oranges: red/yellow/orange peppers • White: Cauliflower
Optimize Your Omega-3s ...
... • Incorporate 3-4 oz. servings of fish high in Omega-3 twice a week for the most benefit • Use walnut oil and vinegar as a salad dressing • Add chopped almonds to oatmeal • Cook with olive oil instead of butter.
There are things you can do at home to tend to or limit joint pain: • Use braces (e.g. a knee brace) • Apply ice packs to joints after activities and in the evening • Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Aleve, Advil, Motrin)
For more help in managing your joint pain, call (336) 716-WAKE (9253) and schedule an appointment with one of our Orthopaedic experts, or visit WakeHealth.edu/Orthopaedics to find a location near you.