Your body has over 230 individual joints (many more if you get really technical about it). Each one of these joints are fairly simply constructed – two cartilage capped bone ends, bathed in protective and lubricating synovial fluid, wrapped in a connective tissue bag called a joint capsule – that’s it!
Keeping these simple structures healthy is also pretty simple as well. Let’s discuss.
Move Well, Move Often – Full range of motion is extremely important for joint health. Moving your joints helps keep them free of restrictions, and helps the entire surface area of its cartilage get nutrients to keep it healthy and resilient. When joints don’t move well, their surfaces get worn unevenly and become stiff which can lead to osteoarthritis which can range from being mildly annoying to completely debilitating.
Eat Right – Not all inflammation in your body is created equal, and the type of inflammation that your body creates is largely dependent on your diet! Anti-inflammatory diets (promoted by people like Dr. Andrew Weil, whose True Food Kitchen recently opened here in Denver) are a great place to start when trying to find a way to eat which promotes the production of non-destructive, restorative inflammatory chemicals which help our tissues fight off infection and repair themselves after injury.
Supplement – There are a whole lot of supplements out there that are great for supporting and promoting joint health. Among them, glucosamine sulfate tends to have some of the best research supporting its use for the management of osteoarthritic knee pain. If you have questions about other supplements which may be beneficial for any joint pain you have then please ask at your next visit and I’d be happy to discuss options available to you based on your particular condition.
Strengthen – Keeping the muscles on either side of a joint strong and flexible ensures that your joints are both stable and mobile, which can protect them from every day wear and tear and the occasional slip, twist, fall or bump.
Protect and Prevent – If you participate in any activities which expose your joints to the possibilities I listed in the last point then you need to take extra precautions to protect them. There are a wide variety of pads, sleeves and wraps which can help and should be seriously considered!
Preventing joint degeneration with regular chiropractic care is a great way to ensure that all of your joints are moving fully. Adjustments can help free up any restrictions which may be causing uneven wear and tear on your joints, and getting the knots regularly worked out of your tight muscles can do the same!
Exercising and moving frequently does the same for your joints as flossing and brushing does for your teeth and getting treated occasionally (like going to the dentist for a cleaning) can go a long way to ensure that your joints are functioning well and staying healthy so that they can last you a long time.
Bottom line – Take care of your joints, and they will take care of you.