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Do You Know the Top Foods for Healthy Joints?

Do You Know the Top Foods for Healthy Joints?

Keeping our joints healthy is one of the most important things we can do to remain independent and active as we age. Life can become quite challenging for individuals who are immobilized by joint pain, since it can result in reduced physical and social activity as well as a higher risk of psychological and emotional problems.

When it comes to joint health, exercise is very important, but what you EAT also plays a significant part. Here are some of our favorite joint-friendly foods:

Water — Perhaps the single-most important “food” is water. This liquid is essential for maintaining every system within the body. Water helps in the elimination of toxins, including those poisons that can create joint pain. Water also helps in the delivery of nutrients to the various parts of the body and—like the oil in your car—is essential for joint lubrication. Drink plenty of water every day!

Fish — Cold water fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, white tuna, halibut and trout can deliver healthy doses of omega-3 from the fish oil in each serving. Omega-3 fatty acid is known to reduce inflammation that can cause or increase joint pain. Fish oil can also slow down cartilage degeneration. Cartilage is the rubbery substance between bones that allows for smooth movement. When this wears out, movement becomes extremely painful.

Dairy products — In addition to contributing to bone health, dairy products (and particularly low-fat ones) such as cottage cheese, yogurt and milk can also help eliminate painful gout symptoms.

Flax Seeds — Flax is another source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for great joint health. Flax seeds and flax seed oil are high in antioxidants, which help to prevent or delay some effects of aging. Flax also contains lots of fiber, which can help you feel fuller for a longer time, reducing the likelihood of snacking. Frequent snacking can lead to obesity—a condition frequently associated with joint pain.

Spices —Curry, ginger and cinnamon also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help your joints. Turmeric has been shown to be particularly effective in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis. With these spices in the mix, a joint-friendly diet certainly doesn’t have to taste bad or be bland.

Papaya —The Annals of Rheumatic Diseases published a 2004 study showing a strong correlation between low vitamin C intake and rheumatoid arthritis. Those with the lowest vitamin C consumption were 3 times more likely to develop the disease. Though orange juice has a good dose of vitamin C, papaya has nearly twice as much. Not only that, papaya also includes a good dose of beta carotene for even more anti-oxidant joint support.

Tart cherry juice — The anthocyanins contained in this juice are powerful anti-inflammatories that have been shown to reduce arthritis-related inflammation even better than aspirin. In addition, cherry juice is effective in reducing the painful symptoms of gout.

Bursitis Causes and Treatment Options

Bursitis Causes and Treatment Options

Bodily movement is assisted by over 150 fluid-filled sacs called bursae. Bursae help to cushion your bones, ligaments, and tendons as they move against each other. When in good health these bursae ensure that your joins have a full range of motion. However, these sacs can become swollen and irritated, creating a condition known as bursitis.

The most common cause of bursitis is overuse of the joint. Repetitive movements can irritate the bursae, leading to pain, swelling, and tenderness. Common movements that may lead to bursitis are extensive kneeling (scrubbing the floor or laying carpet, for example), lifting heavy objects (lifting a bag of groceries into the car), and athletic injuries (an aggressive tennis swing). These movements cause the sac to fill with fluids. The resulting swelling puts pressure on the tissue around the sac, causing pain and tenderness.

Other less-common causes of bursitis include gout and infection. Gout crystals can form in the elbow, causing pain and inflammation. Bursae in the knee and elbow lie just below the skin. This leaves them vulnerable to puncture injuries, which can lead to infection.

People become more susceptible to bursitis as they age. Because the shoulder is the most used joint in the body, it is the place where it is most likely to be felt. People over the age of 65 should be especially cautious when carrying out activities that put stress on the shoulder joint.

Treating bursitis begins with conservative measures. Because bursitis due to injury and repetitive movement often goes away on its own, these treatments focus on relieving pain and making the sufferer more comfortable. Treatments for this situation include ice packs, rest, and over the counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers (such as Aleve or Advil).

In more severe cases, a physician may inject a corticosteroid into the inflamed sac. He or she may also use a needle to draw fluid out of the bursae, relieving pressure and quickly reducing pain. In very rare cases of persistent bursitis, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove the problematic bursa.

Part of bursitis treatment is giving the body enough rest to heal the inflamed bursae. Patients should be careful not to overuse the affected area. Immobilization is best, as is getting plenty of rest. After the swelling and pain have receded, patients should be careful in how they treat the problematic area to reduce the chances of the problem recurring.

Bursitis can be painful, but for most people the discomfort will fade with time and rest. If the pain lasts for more than a week or two, or if it becomes so intense that you cannot carry out your daily activities, consult with your doctor.

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