According to the Global Burden of Disease Study in 2010, musculoskeletal conditions (related to muscles, bones and joints) were the second highest contributor to global disability. Researchers estimate that a 60-year-old woman with osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, will endure lived 30% of her life with impaired function and pain.
Inflammation is believed to be the cause of most musculoskeletal disorders. Joint pain, for example, can be due to injury, overuse or inflammation arising from any part of a joint but it is most often caused by arthritis, characterized by inflammation of the joint.
Joint pain ranges from mild to severe discomfort which can contribute to even limited movement, particularly bearing weight, extremely painful. Joint pain may subside after a few weeks (acute), or last for several weeks or months (chronic). Chronic pain, especially joint pain, have a significant impact on the quality of life. Despite having a toll on your life, joint pain is often not linked to serious conditions. There are practical measures that can help to reduce the level of inflammation and managing your pain effectively.
1. Take some medications
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including aspirin, ibuprofen and diclofenac are commonly prescribed for inflammation related to arthritis. There are more than 50 different NSAIDs available. If you did not get pain relief from one, you might benefit from another.
However, all NSAIDs have side effects, particularly in older women. It is estimated that NSAIDs are responsible for the deaths of between 1,200 and 2,500 older patients every year in the UK. Hence, the risks and benefits of treatment must be weighed when considering medications to reduce inflammation.
Simple painkillers such as paracetamol/acetaminophen which might be effective and safer for older patients with osteoarthritis. Consult your healthcare provider for suitable medications in order to treat your condition.
2. Eliminate processed food
The Western diet is characterized by the high intake of saturated and omega-6 fatty acids, less omega-3 fat intake, overuse of salt, and too much refined sugar. Processed food contribute significantly to such dietary pattern.
Processed foods are part of the diet that promote inflammation. The association between trans fat consumption and inflammation is making a substantial finding across a number of studies. Research on diet and disease prevention also revealed that a reduction of fried and processed foods such as fried meats or prepared frozen meals can help reduce inflammation. It also helps in the restoration of the body defence mechanism. Hence, cutting down on the amount of fried and processed foods in your daily meals and consume more vegetables and fruits will reduce the risk factors of getting the inflammation that at the end can be the cause of joint pain.
3. Choose healthy cooking methods
AGE which stands for the advanced glycation end product is a toxin produced when foods are grilled, fried, toasted or pasteurize at high temperatures. AGEs are also formed when protein or fat combine with sugar in the bloodstream, which can be determined by an increased level of AGEs as we aged. AGEs lead to inflammation, arthritis or joint pain.
Excessive consumption of AGEs at a given time may cause accumulation, as the body has become less effective in reducing it. Hence, consume fewer foods that are cooked at high temperatures, and opt for a much healthier cooking method. This includes boiling, steaming, broiling or even stir frying with moderate amounts of oil.
4. Eat anti-inflammatory foods
Adding fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines to your diet help to increase omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for its anti-inflammatory function. If you don’t savour fish, you can substitute it with fish oil supplements.
Fruits with rich anthocyanins such as tart cherry, raspberry and blueberry can also help your body fight inflammation. They also contain a large amount of polyphenols (antioxidant compounds) that is known in reducing the risk of infection.
Other anti-inflammatory foods include tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables and nuts like almonds and walnuts are also on top of the list that is beneficial to your body. A daily diet combining nuts, fish, leafy greens and grains are popular and staple in the Mediterranean. It is proven that this meal combination can help avoid inflammation in at least 6 weeks.
5. Opt for different proteins
According to a review published in Public Health Nutrition, a vegetarian diets help in reducing inflammation. Individuals who observed a vegetarian diet for at least two years have lower levels of C-reactive protein, a biomarker of inflammation, in comparing to those with a normal diet.
Researchers believed that this is due to phytosterols and dietary fiber found in the fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. If you would like to subscribe to such diet, you can try to take protein from alternate sources like vegetables and seeds. Broccoli, tofu, chickpeas, beans, lentils, and quinoa are some of the choices available in the market.
6. Reduce salt and sugar
Excess sugar and salt intake can contribute and exacerbate inflammatory conditions through increasing levels of inflammatory mediators in the body. Besides eliminating processed food, you should control your sugar and salt intake from other food products. Read the label when buying foods. Foods that contain little to no amount of preservatives and additives should be your best options.
When dealing with joint pain, exercising may not seem to be a comforting option for you. But exercise does not necessarily mean vigorous and intense physical activities. Yoga, for example, can offer some beneficial pose exercise for low back pain.
According to a study, therapeutic exercise provides a short-term benefit that is sustained for at least two to six months after discontinuation of treatment among people with knee osteoarthritis. The effect is even said to be comparable with the intake of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.10
8. Loss some weight
According to John Hopkins Medicine, men who are overweight are five times more likely to develop osteoarthritis than men with healthier BMI. This is due to the fact that, the more weight that you carry, the more pressure exerted on the knee joint. Consequently, this leads to the occurrence of wear and tear, eventually inducing inflammation and joint pain. Weight loss can be very beneficial for you with each pound of weight loss is said to reduce the load on the knee joint by 4 pounds.
9. Physical therapy
Physical therapy programs have been proven to be effective in reducing inflammation. Some of the options include manual therapy such as soft tissue and joint mobilization that help to combat inflammation by movement while reducing pain and encouraging blood flow.
10. Use cool pack
Cold therapy may help to relieve inflammation to the affected joint. It also slows down the signal of pain from your nerves to your brain and has a numbing effect on the affected joint.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: February 11, 2019 | Last Modified: November 29, 2019
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