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Joint Problem Causes and What You Can Do to Help

Written by Dr. Group, DC Founder
 
A group of women performing yoga

Introduction

As the connection between your bones, joints put in a lot of work each and every day. Because of this extraordinary amount of work, joint issues are extremely common. And it’s easy to see why joint complaints tend to increase with age.

In order to understand why you experience joint discomfort, it’s first important to understand the root causes behind the aches and stiffness.

That’s why in this articles, we will take a look at the most common causes of joint problems, as well as the symptoms you can expect with each. As an added bonus, we’ll go into the tips and tricks you can use to find relief from your joint issues, without the need for a prescription.

An Overview of Your Joints

Joints are responsible for ensuring the bones of your skeleton are capable of moving. They occur were the bones in your body connect. While there are between 250 and 350 joints in the human body, a few of the most well-known and most likely to suffer from aches and other issues are the:

  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Shoulders
  • Elbows
  • Wrists
Discomfort of these joints results in aching, stiffness, and soreness that can make it difficult to move or enjoy the things you love to do, like playing tennis, going for a jog, doing yoga, knitting and more.

What’s Behind Your Joint Discomfort?

The real question is… what causes discomfort of your joints?

Luckily, that answer might be simpler than you think.

That’s because the number one cause of joint problems is wear and tear. This simply means that joint discomfort is most often the result of long-term use that wears away the cartilage – or protective cushion – between your joints.

When this happens, the spacing between your bones shrinks and more stress placed on the rest of the soft tissues in your joints. Your joints then become stiff and your discomfort can increase over time.

Previous injuries to the joint can also accelerate this process, making joint issues more likely. Overuse is also a factor in this process, whether through repetitive stress, such as typing or through physical activities.

Joints can also suffer due to underlying conditions that irritate the joint structures.

Symptoms of Wear and Tear Joint Problems

Because wear and tear is the most common factor involved in joint issues, we’re going to focus on the symptoms you could expect from this problem. Common symptoms involved in wear and tear joint problems include:

  • Discomfort – Discomfort of joints during or after movement can indicate wear and tear issues.
  • Stiffness- Joint stiffness, especially when you first wake up in the morning or following a sedentary time period, is a sign of wear and tear of the joint.
  • Tenderness – Joints that have experienced wear and tear may feel tender to the touch, either on the joint itself or around it.
  • Loss of flexibility – With wear and tear, you may experience decreased range of motion of the joint.
  • Grating, popping, or crackling – When you move a joint that has been worn down, you can sometimes feel a grating type of sensation. It could also pop or crackle.
It’s possible to experience these issues in a single joint or in multiple joints of the body at a time.

Tips to Prevent and Soothe Joint Discomfort

The good news is that while it’s not possible to reverse the wear and tear that could be behind your joint discomfort, it is possible to find relief using some very simple tips and tricks.

#1 - Try Vitamins and Supplements

Certain vitamins and supplements have been shown to help reduce joint discomfort and may even help prevent your condition from worsening.

Ones to try include;

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Because omega-3s support balanced inflammation, they have been highly studies for joint health. In fact, studies have shown that when people take fish oil supplements (rich in Omega-3s), they suffer from less joint discomfort and stiffness and less morning stiffness 1 .
  • Turmeric/Curcumin - Turmeric and its main component, curcumin, also offers potent support for helping maintain inflammatory levels in the normal range.
  • Vitamin D - Essential for bone health, adequate vitamin D levels are important for overall joint function. Additionally, vitamin D is mood supportive to help reduce the stress that often goes hand in hand with joint issues.
  • Calcium - While primarily associated with bone health, calcium also plays a role in muscle function and may contribute to overall musculoskeletal health. Just be sure to look for one that offers an optimal 2:1 calcium to magnesium balance.

#2 – Make Small Lifestyle Changes

In addition to vitamins and supplements, small lifestyle changes can make a big difference to joint irritation and discomfort.

These include getting plenty of regular, low-impact exercise. In fact, whether you're an aging athlete, trying to stay in shape, or simply want to avoid joint and muscle pain, activities like yoga, walking and hiking are excellent for supporting joint and muscle recovery. These activities increase flexibility and mobility while promoting blood flow and circulation, which can accelerate healing.

Other lifestyle choices which support healthy joints include:

  • Maintaining a healthy diet and weight
  • Practicing good posture
  • Stretching before and after exercise
  • When combined these lifestyle changes can yield real results for your joints.
  • #3 – Put Topicals to Work for Your Joints

    Finally, a highly effective way to find relief from the aches and stiffness that plagues your joints is by applying potent topical oils to the affected joints. While not all topicals are created equal, there are a number that are known for their ability to provide targeted relief for joint discomfort.

    Coconut oil, for instance, offers an excellent natural solution for joint problems. That’s because like with the omega-3’s from fish oil that we talked about above, coconut oil is packed with healthy fats that help support normal inflammatory levels.

    Similarly, jojoba oil provides a natural source of moisture, and nourishes joint tissue with its rich vitamins and minerals, which may help relieve joint discomfort. Another potent joint reliever, arnica oil is known to be rich in sesquiterpene lactone, which like coconut oil can help maintain inflammatory levels in the normal range from reduced discomfort.

    Camphor can also be used to reduce discomfort due to wear and tear of the joints with its dual cooling and warming sensation that eases joint issues on contact. The oil is easy to apply, readily absorbed into the skin, and doesn't leave any greasy residue on clothes.

    Other oils that can be applied topically for joint ache and stiffness relief include:

  • Eucalyptus oil – This oil not only offers a relaxing effect to combat the stress and tension of joint problems, it also supports healthy, happy joints.
  • Juniper oil – Powerful against soreness, juniper helps support healthy joint tissues and relieves irritation.
  • Peppermint oil – With its cooling sensation, this oil provides relief for sore muscles and joints on contact, as its aromatherapy benefits go to work to ease tension and calm stress.
  • Wintergreen oil - Rich in methyl salicylate, this oil is a key ingredient to support healthy inflammation levels in the normal range and ease irritation and tension.
  • The best thing about these oils is because they are applied topically, you can get right to the source of your discomfort, so that you can start feeling better faster.

    Closing

    Although joint discomfort can be caused by a number of issues, the most common is wear and tear. Fortunately, when you take small steps at home, like getting regular exercise, making appropriate lifestyle changes, and putting the power of topicals to work for your joints, you can find real relief from joint problems, and possibly even prevent future problems down the road.

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    References (1)
    1. Do Omega-3s Help Arthritis? – Cleveland Clinic

    †Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.


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