Can you imagine what the 1980s would have been like with our apparently newfound intense affinity for physical fitness? It can be a bit tricky to picture this kind of behavior back then because at the time, physical fitness used to be seen as a very niche pursuit, with a stereotype quickly emerging that the only people into exercise were either aerobics nuts or bodybuilders. Indeed the very fact that there are labels associated with these pursuits should be a clue as to the prevailing treatment of fitness and exercise and general. No, it’s an interesting thing to think that the way we view physical fitness and health in the modern day has come about because of long-term, subtle shifts in culture.
Then again, while it’s helpful to consider the developmental processes that have taken us this far, it’s also profitable to look at what we can practically apply from it. For instance, one thing that comes with this modern fitness and health mindset is a better understanding of the human body and how it works – and how one can deal with issues and ailments that may come about to bother it.
Osteoarthritis, for example, is a common form of arthritis that is experienced by millions the world over. This is mainly characterized by the deterioration of cartilage in the joints, which is seen to led to pain in the joint due to the increased friction between the bones. The grinding of bone on bone without the resilient cushioning material can cause enough pain to impede our mobility. Osteoarthritis is common in the hands, hips, spine and knees, and tends to escalate once it has appeared. The affected joints will have painful movement, accompanied by a grating sensation or even grating sound. Bone spurs are also a possibility.
People can suffer osteoarthritis due to a number of factors:
- Age. People of advanced age are at greater risk of osteoarthritis, largely due to the fact that this develops over time.
- Sex. Science is still looking for the precise reason why, but the tendency seems to be for women to be more susceptible than men.
- Weight. Obesity is a risk factor for osteoarthritis for obvious reasons – the more weight the body has, the more stress is put on the joints. The more weight the joints are made to support, the more the cartilage wears down overtime. Furthermore, the fat tissue itself also contributes to joint inflammation thanks to the proteins that the tissue produces.
- Genetics. There are certain people who are simply genetically predisposed to eventually suffer osteoarthritis. Other cases involve birth problems that result in malformed joints or perhaps deformed cartilage.
Other factors can contribute, such as sustaining other joint injuries that can damage the structure of the joint or give it cause to weaken over time. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and it comes about due to a variety of factors. Fortunately, there are many options available when it comes to treating the pain of osteoarthritis as well.
- Pursue exercise and weight training. With your doctor’s clearance, you can shore up your body’s strength in order to take some of the work away from your joints. Weight training and aerobic exercise can strengthen the muscles around the joints in order for them to be able to absorb some of the shock that would otherwise entirely be taken up by, say, your knee. If you’re feeling like experimenting a bit, take a dip in the pool – aquatic exercise allows you to build strength without putting the weight on the joints since you’re floating.
- Lose some weight. Less gain, less pain. As obesity or being overweight contributes to the likelihood of osteoarthritis, so does moving in the opposite direction. Weight control helps minimize the symptoms of osteoarthritis and can even slow its progress. Should the osteoarthritis be severe enough to need surgery, keeping your weight down may even contribute to surgical success since your body’s in better shape. Eat healthier and count calories, and get some exercise.
- Try thermotherapy. Icing an inflamed joint is the usual remedy for inflammation for two major reasons – the cold will reduce the swelling and the cold will numb the nerves in the area, reducing the sense of pain. However, heat, properly applied, helps improve circulation in the area and relax the muscles.
- Consider trying supplements. While the jury is out, scientifically speaking, on conclusive evidence of supplements working, it can’t hurt to add to your body’s stock of healing elements. Some supplements boost your supply of glucosamine and chondroitin, which in some cases have been shown to help with inflammation.
- Choose helpful foods. Many foods contribute to either reducing inflammation or helping the body deal with it better. Fish like salmon, mackerel and herring are rich in omega-3 fatty aids, while certain oils for cooking like walnut oil or extra virgin olive oil have heart-healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids that also help fight inflammation. Other foods that can help fight inflammation are celery, pickles, parsley, mustard, and rose-hip tea.
- Try acupuncture. Again, one’s mileage may vary here. Some controlled clinical trials, however, have shown some effectiveness in terms of how acupuncture contributes to relieving pain from osteoarthritis and to improving the functionality of joints.
- Try massage therapy. As with heat thermotherapy, massaging the joints and the muscle groups nearby can contribute to stimulate blood flow and relax the aching muscles. These muscles can also be soothed with the motion of the massage. However, make sure to get a doctor’s referral to a massage therapist who has experience in treating osteoarthritis patients so they know how to handle sensitive arthritic joints.
- Go for a hydrotherapy dip. Aside from aquatic exercise, going for a soothing dip in a hydrotherapy pool can help relieve joint pain. Some spas offer heated pools con
- taining minerals, or perhaps mud baths that are rich in sulfur – either of which can contribute to the relief of arthritis-induced pain. Taking the time to soak can often relieve joint pain and help you regain your range of motion.
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