Aches & Pains: What Your Body is Trying to Tell You

Aches & Pains: What Your Body is Trying to Tell You

Maybe your knees complain when you climb the stairs, or your hip feels a bit sore after a long walk or run, but you’re too young for arthritis, right? One in three New Zealanders will be affected by joint degeneration or inflammation during their lifetime.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Symptoms generally show up in men and women aged 40+ but it can affect younger age groups too.

Traditional theories state that osteoarthritis (OA) is caused by the wear and tear that comes with aging. As joint cartilage breaks down over time, bone rubs against bone and causes inflammation and pain. Sports and related joint injuries can sometimes do the same damage, especially if you’ve spent years playing a high-impact sport or if you’ve been a runner. A more recent theory says that OA can also be caused by chronic inflammation resulting from other health related conditions like obesity, hormonal imbalance or allergies.

Regardless of your age or whether your pain is related to OA, you can help prevent or treat joint pain. Here are some helpful tips:

1.     Eat foods that aren’t acidic
Believe it or not, sometimes pain and stiffness in the joints is caused by an overly acidic body. An acidic diet makes you more prone to inflammation, which is what causes your body pain. Most foods can be divided into acidic or alkalising groups. Many fresh fruit and veges tend to be more alkalising, while some foods like meat, coffee, alcohol, soft drink, cocoa and processed foods (white flour and foods that contain sugar) tend to be more acidic. Try reducing some of the more acidic foods in your diet; see what happens to your pain and stiffness. 

2.     Work with your body, not against it
If you love exercise but know that it’s actually causing you pain, stop and get assessed by a professional. A good physical therapist or bodywork practitioner can help you change entrenched patterns of movement and poor alignment that can cause joint pain. It could also be as simple as getting new shoes or giving your body a rest and trying another type of exercise until your body has a chance to recover. 

3.     Save high heels for special occasions
Wearing high heels regualrly can be hazardous to your health! By increasing the pressure on the balls of your feet, you also increase the pressure on your knees and push your hips and spine out of alignment. This can result in foot pain, back pain and calf muscle pain. Next time you don your 5-inch heels, just remember, fashion comes at a price! 

4.     Don’t be a couch potato 
When exercising, it’s important to strike the right balance. Increasing your heart rate and circulation will help to dislodge toxins, but too much exercise can cause joint strain and injury. On the flip-side, not exercising enough leads to weakened muscles and joints. The solution? Do low-impact, joint-friendly exercises like walking, swimming and cycling, and look after your body to help ease inflammation. Add in stretching or range-of-motion exercises like yoga and tai chi; include strengthening exercises into your routine, and always take two full days off from all activity whenever you feel joint pain. Treating inflammation doesn’t have to be a chore, either. Get a massage once a week or pour yourself a nice hot bath with some epsom salts added to it, to assist with muscle relaxation. 

4.     Watch what’s weighing on your joints
Extra body fat causes greater strain on all joints, particularly the weight-bearing ones in the knees, hips and ankles. Since these joints absorb concentrated pressure, they are most vulnerable to cartilage erosion and OA. Excess weight can also produce inflammatory compounds that worsen pain. American research suggests that for every pound you lose, you protect your joints from four to eight pounds of extra pressure!

5.     Explore natural, drug-free options for pain and inflammation

·       Glucosamine and Chondroitin play a key role in the production, maintenance, and repair of cartilage. Glucosamine stimulates the production of glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans, two essential building blocks of cartilage. Glucosamine and Chondroitin are ideal supplements for athletes and people with arthritis as they work to soothe sore joints, maintain joint flexibility, stimulate the production of synovial fluid, maintain the health of existing joint tissue, and assist in rebuilding healthy, new cartilage.

·       Green Lipped Mussels were traditionally used by Maori for joint health. Today, Green Lipped Mussel extract remains a popular choice for anyone with joint pain.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to higher rates of OA, as well as chronic pain and disability. A simple vitamin D blood test will determine whether you are low in the “sunshine vitamin”. If you’re deficient, a daily vitamin D supplement and around fifteen minutes of direct sunlight every day will help. 

Turmeric contains the active ingredient, Curcumin which is best known for its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. Many anti-inflammatory ingredients only work on one or two inflammatory pathways but Curcumin works all on pathways, making it a popular choice for inflammation in any part of the body, including joints and digestive health.


Related Product(s)

Showing 1 - 3 of 3 items
Good Health Club
Receive informative articles, health advice, promotions & more.