Aches and pains are a common phenomenon that so many people experience as they mature.
The reasons why our bodies feel a bit achy, sometimes stiff and thankfully less frequently sore are due to several factors. Arthritis is present in approximately 22 percent of the population and affects females (23.5%) more than males (18.7%).
The good news and a very important fact to take from this blog is that Arthritis does not automatically mean you will have aches and pains. Firstly let’s talk about the things we can take control of in our day to day lives. The first point to highlight is that our joint health is very important.
We can help maintain optimal joint health by ticking a few boxes. The important factors to keeping our joints in the best possible health are lifestyle related. So by maintaining a healthy weight, a balanced diet and taking regular exercise in various forms you are giving your joints the best chance.
The things we cannot influence and must work with are the impacts of having had previous joint injury or surgery and indeed genetic factors.
The main reason for joint aches, pains and stiffness is Arthritis, which is more commonly referred to as ‘wear & tear’. This occurs where the surfaces of the joint (cartilage) become worn and in some cases can become sensitive and painful.
The body may respond in a manner that results in the formation of more bone tissue and an X-ray or MRI report would list-off very frightening words such as hypertrophic changes, degenerative changes, bony spurs, thinning cartilage and the rest.
To a person in pain, these words are hardly music to the ears and more likely could make a person think that the game is up!. Thankfully this is untrue. There is plenty of room for hope yet.
The second thing to take away from today is that having wear & tear or Arthritis does not mean you will have pain. We see this in several studies where healthy people between 50- 80 years of ages with no history of knee or hip pain have several wear and tear signs such as those listed above.
Large percentages had varying degrees of Arthritic change in their joints but had no pain. They did have stiffness but they learned to manage this by keeping mobile, active and ticking all the boxes (above) to the best of their ability.
Of the list above being overweight is the largest contributing factor to wear and tear. This is due to the joints being under a constant load. As one study on knee pain relating to arthritic change highlighted, ‘for every kilo of excess weight on the body, the knee experiences four times that when bending or going up and down stairs’.
This is one of the reasons why maintaining a healthy weight and exercising is so important along with the other health reasons such as cardiovascular health, blood pressure, stroke risk and reducing cancer risk.
So that’s all good to know because once we understand something then it is much easier to make better decisions and implement better habits in our life that will have a positive impact but why should I not take anti-inflammatory instead?
In short consistent use of anti-inflammatory comes with its own complications, such as gastric issues and reduced capacity for normal tissue healing. So the take home advice today is to get moving and stay moving.
Your overall emotional and physical health will benefit. Don’t let the diagnosis of Arthritis take control of you. If you would like to ask our physiotherapists any questions on where to start please contact us. Take a moment to listen to John Ahern who shares his experience with APC’s funtional rehab classes.
If you have any other queries or you are not quite sure where to begin, feel free to contact us online here, via email, or over the phone.
You can also avail of a free 15-minute physio consultation in the clinic with one of our physiotherapists if you’re not sure where to begin.
You can book online here. Or Give us a call on 02535015 Fermoy Main Office or APC Cork, Club Vitae Clinic calls can be made to 085 7740559 today to talk through any questions and concerns you may have. Thanks for reading!