Joint health is an important aspect of overall health and fitness that often gets overlooked. Joints are the points where bones meet, and they allow us to move and perform everyday tasks with ease. However, certain habits can damage our joints over time, leading to pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility.
In this blog post, we'll explore some of the most common bad habits that damage joint health and provide tips for making positive changes.
Habits That Damage Joint Health
Sitting For Prolonged Periods
Sitting for prolonged periods is among the major causes of joint damage in the post-modern world. Sitting in the same position for long periods leads to stiffness of the joints and causes decreased mobility, particularly in the joints of the hips, knees, and ankles. Furthermore, sitting in the same spot for long periods can also lead to poor posture, which can put extra stress on the joints in the neck, shoulders, and lower back.
Try to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting by taking frequent breaks to stand up and stretch. You can also try using a standing desk or engaging in regular exercise to avoid this bad habit. Even simple exercises like marching in place or doing some ankle rotations or knee bends can help.
Carrying Heavy Bags or Purses
Carrying heavy bags or purses is another common yet overlooked practice among habits that damage joint health. Carrying heavy loads can put extra stress on your joints, and this is extra harmful when the load is carried in such a way that all the stress applies to one side of your body.
According to recommendations by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), a backpack should weigh no more than 10% to 15% of a person's body weight. So, for example, if a person weighs 100 pounds, then their backpack should weigh no more than 15 pounds.
To avoid unnecessary stress on your joints, try using a backpack, switching sides frequently, or using a bag with a comfortable strap that distributes the weight evenly.
To answer the age-old question of what causes joint damage, we often overlook the fact that our posture, a seemingly harmless factor, can cause joint damage. Slouching or hunching over, i.e., poor posture, can lead to joint pain and stiffness, particularly in the neck, shoulders, and lower back. Poor posture can also result in headaches, fatigue, and even breathing difficulties.
We recommend an overhaul of your workstation to support and enforce a better posture. Always try to sit with a straight spine, engaging in core strengthening exercises, and using a lumbar roll.
Lack of Exercise
Among the leading causes of joint damage is a lack of exercise. In the absence of regular physical activity, the joints can lose their flexibility, and any movement at these joints faces resistance. This can lead to uncomfortable and stiff joints making it more difficult to perform everyday tasks.
Exercise is encouraged for better joint health. Try integrating different exercises like swimming, cardio, and strength workouts into your daily routine. These activities, when incorporated, are sure to provide healthy functioning joints by improving their flexibility and strength.
Smoking And Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Any discussion about habits that damage joint health will be incomplete without mentioning smoking and alcohol consumption. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are both responsible for declining joint health. While the dehydration properties of alcohol can reduce joint lubrication and lead to inflation, smoking restricts the blood supply to your joints.
If you're a smoker, quitting smoking can help protect your joints, and limit your drinking intake to moderate levels. You can also use joint health supplements like DONA® to support joint health.
Treatment For Joint Damage
If you are experiencing deteriorating joint health either due to habits that damage joints or due to medical reasons, it is important to seek treatment to preserve your joint health. There are various treatment options available, depending on the cause and severity of your joint damage.
It's worth mentioning that there are also natural supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin, which are effective supplements for joint health. These supplements can help to reduce inflammation and improve joint mobility. While the authenticity of such supplements is not universally agreed upon, DONA® is a glucosamine joint health supplement backed by legitimate clinical research.
Medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can also be used to help reduce inflammation and pain. In some cases, a corticosteroid injection may be recommended to reduce inflammation and pain in a specific joint.
Physical therapy can also be beneficial for joint damage. A physical therapist can teach you exercises to help improve strength and flexibility, as well as proper body mechanics to reduce stress on the affected joint. They may also use techniques such as ultrasound, heat or cold therapy, and electrical stimulation to help reduce pain and inflammation.
If your joint damage is severe and non-surgical treatment options have been exhausted, surgery may be recommended. Surgery can help to repair or replace a damaged joint and can improve joint function and mobility.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
In addition to seeking professional treatment, it is also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and enough sleep. These can help improve overall health and protect your joints.
Joint health is an important aspect of overall wellness that often goes overlooked and certain habits that damage joints are adopted by most people without knowing their adverse effects. These habits include sitting for prolonged periods, carrying heavy bags, poor posture, lack of exercise, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption.
While joints can be saved from further damage by making positive changes and breaking these bad habits, there are supplements and medications you can use to even repair some of the damage done to your joints.
Remember that a healthy lifestyle, with a proper diet, regular physical activity, and enough sleep, can help protect your joints and allow you to live an active and fulfilling life.
Disclaimer: All of the information provided in this article is only meant for educational purposes. Any statement made within has not been evaluated by the FDA, and any advice or recommendation therein is not intended as a substitute of professional medical advice.
Any products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any diseases and should only be taken until adviced by your doctor.