Suffering from joint pain can be an isolating experience. Usually difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat, joint pain often leaves doctors completely stumped and their patients left to deal with their pain and its effects on their own. However, whilst joint pain may seem incurable, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. By strategically counteracting your symptoms one by one, you can learn methods to reduce and even completely overcome your pain, allowing you to regain your usual range of abilities and live life to the full once more.
Before beginning to tackle the pain itself, you must pass through an important stage – acceptance. Pain is our body’s way of communicating to the brain that something is wrong. However, most joint pain is caused either by wear and tear of the cartilage within the joint or by excess pressure being placed on the joint, or by a mixture of these two; either way, this is not a ‘useful’ pain. In other words, your body is sending you messages that do not require a response. Once you have established that your own pain is not symptomatic of something more serious or of something requiring treatment, you can begin to accept what your body is trying to tell you before putting it to one side and getting on with your life.
Steps to the Elimination of Pain
Having accepted your pain psychologically, you can then begin to go about eliminating it in a calm and controlled manner. The first and most important step in the elimination of joint pain is exercise. For many sufferers, the instinctive reaction to joint pain is to become as inactive as possible, moving the joint as little as possible. Unfortunately, inactivity will actually make the pain much worse in the long run.
The only real way to overcome joint pain is to strengthen the muscles around the affected joint, thereby allowing the body to place less pressure on the joint itself. Of course, the only way to strengthen muscle is through exercise! Committing yourself to participating in gentle exercise such as swimming, walking, physiotherapy, regular stretching, yoga or cycling will be painful at first but will in time significantly decrease your pain to much more manageable levels or may even eliminate it completely! Which specific muscles are most in need of strengthening depends on the site of your pain. You may wish to discuss this with a physiotherapist before formulating your own exercise regime.
Another step towards the elimination of pain is to eat a healthy and joint-friendly diet. Joint pain is often linked to being overweight, either because excess weight places too much pressure on the joint or because pain discourages sufferers from being as active as they once were. If you are overweight, cutting down on what you eat and focusing on achieving a healthy, balanced diet can significantly reduce your pain.
Even if your weight is already healthy, you can still use dietary methods to reduce your pain by choosing foods and supplements proven to prevent joint degeneration, such as wholegrain foods, low fat foods or foods high in omega 3, vitamin D or glucosamine.
A final, perhaps surprising step towards the elimination of pain is the elimination of stress. This can be a difficult one to master, as pain is often the cause of psychological stress! Strange as it may seem, studies have shown that stress can have a very real, physical effect on the body. Through meditation and breathing exercises, you can learn to master your stress and thereby overcome your pain.
Post by Tony, a UK based blogger on behalf of Reebok Fitness.
This web page is for information and support only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment! Nothing on this web page should be construed as medical advice. Please check with your own physician about any information that concerns you.