Most individuals experience some level of muscle soreness and joint pain and stiffness in their day to day activities (see our What is Inflammation blog post). It is important to design a regiment to manage those symptoms to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Even with certain conditions, such as osteoarthritis and other muscle and joints injuries, following the below tips can greatly help reduce pain, and improve function.
- Load management: Often people seek physical therapy due to overuse injury. Muscles and joints are highly responsive to physical load. It is best to pace your exercise and physical activities in a gradual fashion. For example, if running 3 miles causes joint pain. Then assess if a regiment alternating walking/jogging/running feels better on your joints. Often you can build back up to desired level of activities once you ease into exercise in a gradual fashion. This, not only applies to duration of exercise, but to weight, impact on joints, intensity of interval. Always assess what is a comfortable base line and increase load in 10-20% increments.
- Ice after exercise if you are experiencing an acute muscle or joint soreness. Ice is generally underutilized as a tool to manage inflammation. Professional athletes are aware of its benefits and they ice several times a day. It works. Give it a try 1-2/day and enjoy the relief.
- Integrate mobility and movement into your day. Sitting for 6-8 hours per day will in itself cause joint pain. Must get up and move, do the steps, walk out to get a drink or lunch.
- Some supplements have been shown to improve muscle and joints function and ease pain. Modern western diet may not provide adequate daily dose of vitamins and minerals. Calcium, Magnesium, and Vitamin D are extremely important in healthy bone and joint function. It would be wise to take a supplement that provides a daily dose of these vitamins and minerals.
- A gentle stretching regiment should be a part of your daily activities. It can be a simple set of 4-6 exercises that you would do daily that maintains mobility in your joints and prevents load imbalance on the musculoskeletal system. Will go over a simple stretching regiment in a future blog post. Stay tuned.
- Sleep. Nothing more to add there.