5 Ways to Ease Joint Pain

As I have got older I have started to make noises when I move. You know the kind of thing - oops and awws and arghs as you feel discomfort in all of your joints and some muscles you didn't even realise you had until they began to give you grief.

My husband is exactly the same and we catch each other out acting like old codgers and laugh. He'll be clutching his back as he gets up from a seat and I'll issue a sharp intake of breath as something twinges.

I'd like to say we have these aches and pains because we are both incredibly sporty but my issues are related to an autoimmune condition and my husband's are from a lifetime of doing a hard physical job.

Luckily there are ways you can either improve the way your body feels or avoid the effects of ageing for a while longer.

1. Diet. Eating a healthy diet can really improve joint movement and reduce inflammation and pain. A Mediterranean high in plant based foods and "healthy" unsaturated fats like olive oils is beneficial for many people with much of the protein coming from nuts, poultry, seafood and eggs rather than red meats.

2. Supplements. Many people swear by a daily dose of cod liver oil but up to date advise deems glucosamine to be the best to take for joint pain. Glucosamine occurs naturally in your body and helps maintain cartilage, the rubbery tissue which cushions your joints. As we age however the glucosamine compound levels decrease which is thought to contribute to joint pain.

There are no foods you can eat to replace glucosamine so taking a supplement is the only way to add this naturally. There are topical creams and gels available containing glucosamine but the jury is out as to the efficacy of these topical products.

3. Exercise. Although some people's joint issues are caused or exacerbated by sports it's vital to continue with some form of exercise to prevent them stiffening up altogether. Lose it or use it the saying goes and on the whole this is true. The only exceptions might be if you have a health condition like arthritis or physical injury which could be made worse by unsupervised exercise which hasn't been approved in advance by a healthcare provider.

4. Physiotherapy.  A consultation with a good physiotherapist could prove life-changing. Physiotherapists use a variety of techniques and therapies to treat and rehabilitate people affected by physical problems caused by stress, illness, ageing or injury. Ask your GP for a recommendation or ask friends and family if they can recommend someone they have used.

If time is precious or you prefer a really private consultation you could opt for a service where the Physio comes to your home. Some people find it very convenient to have a physio who can provide advice and treatments in the home, especially if they are recovering from surgery or have small children.

5. Attitude. You are only a old as you feel they say and attitude plays a big part in ageing gracefully (or disgracefully if you prefer!). Start each day thinking about the positive aspects of your life rather than focussing on what hurts today.

You may discover that negatively thinking about the knee which hurt yesterday will make it twinge anew today. Focussing on what you can do, even with your physical ailments, rather than what you can't do will make your life brighter. Pace yourself if you must but don't let life slip past you altogether while you sit gloomily feeling sorry for yourself.

Often laughter is the best medicine as proved by this picture of me and my lovely friend Sue - between us we have enough health conditions to keep medics very busy but we still know how to have a good time.

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