By: Dr. Darin Stokke, DC Lifestyles Healthcare Group
A need for strength makes our bones rigid, but if our skeleton consisted of only one solid bone, movement would be impossible. Our Creator has solved this problem by dividing the skeleton into many bones and creating joints where the bones intersect. Joints, also known as articulations, are strong connections that join our bones, teeth, and cartilage of our body to one another. Each joint is specialized in its shape and structural components to control the range of motion between the parts that it connects. To ensure healthy and pain-free movement of our joints into our later years, we must take daily steps to protect our joints and the supporting soft tissues each day. Here are 10 tips to ensure joint protection and healthy movement:
- Protect the wrists. When turning knobs, faucet handles, and when opening jars, the left hand should always turn clockwise and the right hand counter-clockwise.
- Posture and fatigue are directly related. When you are tired you will automatically begin adopting poor posture patterns which can damage the joints. Pace yourself and check your posture often throughout the day.
- Heavy objects should be carried with two hands on the bottom of the object. Keep your fingers as straight as possible. Lift with the object close to the body.
- Protect the elbows and shoulders. When dusting or washing windows, use large circular motions towards the thumb side. Hold the cloth against the furniture or windows with the fingers fully extended. Clicking or popping in the shoulder even without pain means to stop.
- Protect the fingers and hands. When doing dishes, use a large sponge to keep fingers extended and hand flat. Use a bottle brush with a handle for glasses.
- When performing any activity, always concentrate on using the larger joints and muscles rather than the small joints of the hand, wrist, and elbow if possible. As an example, use a shoulder strap for carrying a purse rather than holding the handle and close dresser drawers with your hips rather than with your hands.
- Before lifting or moving, ensure that the spine is in the most neutral position possible with the core engaged before attempting the lift.
- Avoid over activity or strain. Use pain as a simple guideline. You should not have increase pain longer than one hour after an activity, if so, cut down or stop doing that activity and get examined by a professional to access for possible joint disease.
- Move. The joints of the body are created to move so to be healthy, strong and stable, the joints of our body need to move often and in pain-free ranges of motion. Inactivity actually causes joints and the surrounding tissue to break down, weaken and degenerate.
- Ensure all joints are aligned properly. Injuries, bad posture, inactivity, and general life activities can often cause joints to become misaligned. Like car tires being out of proper alignment, joints will also wear down unevenly. Get checked by a health professional that specializes in the biomechanics, posture, functional movement and alignment of the body such as a chiropractic physician.
Most importantly, get out and enjoy life each day. Getting up with a purpose, moving your body, staying positive and happy, and enjoying healthy relationships all help to ensure your body remains healthy and strong for a lifetime.
A simple thing to always keep in mind is to Move Well and Move Often! If you’re having pain or problems with a joint or in the spine, don’t fight through the pain, find a joint specialist and get to the underlying cause. If you suffer from degenerative joint disease there is now hope to reverse that with new, cutting edge regenerative medicine. Once you restore the health of the joint and regain proper movement so you are moving well, it’s now your turn to move your body often to maintain health and to live out the lifestyle you desire!