Joint Health 101: Understanding Holistic Joint Health
Maintaining healthy and discomfort-free joints is key to living an active, flourishing lifestyle, but how proactive are most people in this endeavor? Before we can be proactive, however, it is important to understand what a joint is, common causes of joint pain, and natural ways that support proper joint health.
Not surprisingly, healthy joints are often taken for granted because when they're pain-free they are rarely given a second thought. But when a joint becomes inflamed, it can be painful to the point that it's debilitating. And when the body relies on its joints for smooth and easy movements, the health of the joints can become quite a concern.
What Are Joints?
A joint is the location where the ends of two bones meet. While most people associate joints with highly moveable parts of the body like the knees, shoulders, feet and fingers, in reality, anywhere two bones meet is considered a joint, even when they don't form a moveable part. An example of this is the fixed bones in the human skull.
Which Joints Are Most Associated With Discomfort?
Joint discomfort generally does not affect fixed joints as much as it does free moving joints. With that being said, some of the most common types of joints that are susceptible to repetitive motion injuries and other types of joint discomfort include:
- Ball and socket joints like the shoulder and hip
- Condyloid joints like that found in the wrist
- Gliding joints like those found in foot and spine
- Hinge joints like those found in the knee and the ulna part of the elbow
- Pivot joints like that found in the neck
- Saddle joints like that found in the thumb
What Causes Joint Discomfort?
Joint discomfort can be caused by a wide range of factors and you should always consult your physician for treatment, but common sources of joint pain include past injuries, repetitive motion injuries, dislocations, broken bones, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, bursitis, tendonitis and certain infectious diseases.
The risk of experiencing joint discomfort is also thought to be increased by a variety of others that you may have little to no control over such as age, weight and genetics.
Foods that Promote Healthy Joints
Certain foods have been shown to be beneficial in helping reduce or prevent serious joint pain, although your experience may vary. Two types of foods frequently cited are ones that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids and foods with healthy portions of Vitamin D. Some examples of foods that have these elements and promote joint health include salmon, olive oil, onions, leeks, green tea, cherries and broccoli.
Joint Health Supplements
Many people also choose to use joint health supplements as part of their healthy living strategy. One commonly used supplement to support joint health is Astaxanthin, which is a powerful antioxidant with unique properties not found in most other antioxidants.
Adopting a Joint Health Friendly Lifestyle
Fortunately, you can take steps to protect against future joint health issues today. Like most health regimens this begins with evaluating your diet and limiting any inflammatory foods like soda, fried foods and trans-saturated fats. Incorporating more fresh whole foods that are high in Omega-3s and Vitamin D is also a common practice.
Many people also praise a low-impact exercise program to help maintain a healthy weight, which reduces stress and strain on certain joints. If you use a certain joint frequently, make sure it gets adequate rest so it does not become overworked. Lastly, consider adding antioxidant supplements like Astaxanthin into your daily regimen.
Interested in learning more about joint health? Continue reading through our Joint Health 101 section; the next article is Common Joint Discomfort Causes.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns about your health. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of something you have heard or read in this article or the internet.