How to Help Stiff Joints
Stiff joints are a painful and frustrating experience for anybody, but especially for those that are active individuals. Pain and inflammation often accompany stiff joints, which can make everyday movements such as walking and standing painful.
The remedy to help stiff joints
If you’re experiencing mobility problems because of stiff joints, it is important to figure out the cause of your stiffness and to start finding a treatment method.
Most associate stiff joints as a sign of old age, but there are actually a number of different causes.
Causes of joint stiffness
Old age, medical conditions, and lifestyle choices are all factors that contribute to stiff joints.
Old age is a common cause of stiff joints. As we age, our ligaments shorten and lose flexibility. Older individuals that aren’t active may also experience shrinking and stiffening cartilage. These factors reduce joint mobility and make joints feel stiff.
Another common cause of joint stiffness is obesity. Excess weight can cause extra pressure on joints, which can eventually lead to inflammation and sore joints.
Medical conditions that cause stiff joints include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, lupus, and bursitis. It is a common misconception that only the elderly can develop rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, but that isn’t the case.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks certain parts of your body, including your joints. Osteoarthritis is caused when your cartilage, which normally protects your joints, wears away.
Lupus is similar to rheumatoid arthritis because it is an autoimmune disease that attacks your body (including your joints).
Bursitis is caused when tiny fluid-filled sacs called bursae (which normally cushion your joints) become inflamed.
When to see a doctor
If joint pain develops suddenly, doesn’t go away after five days, is severe, or is accompanied by a swollen joint or a joint that won’t move at all, seek medical attention.
Your doctor will perform a physical exam, refer you to a specialist for any diagnostic tests, and develop a treatment plan.
They’ll also be able to provide some personalized tips on how to treat the pain.
Depending on the severity of your pain and stiffness, your doctor will either tell you to take an OTC medication or will prescribe you a steroid. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are all common anti-inflammatory OTC medications.
Steroids are typically prescribed when there is inflammation or swelling in the joint.
Physical therapy and exercise can also help relieve pain and stiffness if done correctly. If your doctor recommends this route, ask for a referral to a trained physical therapist.
A trained physical therapist will help to make sure you don’t further damage your joints while you exercise.
Most of the time, you’ll need to manage the pain using home remedies on top of whatever treatment plan your doctor describes.
A common home remedy is using hot and cold compresses. Extreme temperatures can benefit stiff joints. Cold compresses can be applied several times a day to reduce inflammation, which can help ease the joint into movement. Cold compresses also numb pain receptors so you’ll temporarily feel less pain.
A heating pad or a hot bath can help relax your muscles and joints, which can then make moving your joints easier.
Supplements can also help with stiffness and pain. Fish oil, flaxseed, glucosamine sulfate are all supplements that have been proven to help with joint stiffness and other health-related concerns.
If you decide to try a supplement, please check with your doctor. Certain supplements may not be compatible with other medications.
Massages can also help reduce stiffness and improve your range of motion. You can schedule regular meetings with a massage therapist or work with a physical therapist to learn how to self-massage. A physical therapist might tell you to purchase a body massager with infrared. Infrared rays can penetrate deep into tissues, muscles, and bones.
They then help relax muscles and joints. The warmth from the rays helps to stimulate blood flow. Other benefits of an infrared massage include improved blood pressure, healing of sports-related injuries, and an enhanced immune system.
Some also practice meditation. Mindfulness meditation can help reduce stress and help you cope better with pain.
Less stress reduces inflammation, which reduces swelling and pain, which helps with joint stiffness.
When it comes to how you can help stiff joints, it might be time for a lifestyle change or it might be a sign that there’s something serious happening within your joints.
If your stiffness is severe or doesn’t go away on its own, call a doctor so that they can help you develop a treatment plan.
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