Back and joint pain has long been the punchline of jokes about getting older, but this type of discomfort isn't reserved for senior citizens. For people who stay moving, whether you climb mountains in your free time or just work an active job, joint and back pain can be a reality earlier than you may think. Here are a few ways to start caring for these parts of your body before it becomes an issue.
A healthy weight range varies depending on the person. But in general, keeping off the extra pounds will help keep your joints and back functioning better. This will ease some of the repetitive pressure on your body that comes from just moving around throughout the day, and that can help significantly to prevent joint problems down the road. Talk with your primary care provider about what a healthy weight looks like for you and what you can do to reach or maintain it.
Your core muscles connect your whole body, providing support for your spine that you can't fully harness without a strong core. This is an area of your body to spend some time working out, and those core muscles will help with posture, lifting, and the health of your back overall for years to come. Training your core can be as simple as following a YouTube video workout or as personalized as seeing a physical therapist or trainer for recommendations.
Your back and joint health start from the ground up, at your feet. Properly supportive shoes will help keep your body aligned properly, which in turn will help keep the stress and strain off of sensitive joints. The right shoe choice can help ease existing pain, and it can also prevent problems from developing down the line.
We have all heard that you should lift with your legs, not your back, but that can sometimes be easier said than done. Spend some time warming up your muscles beforehand, maybe with some light stretching. When you're ready to lift, bend your knees and keep your back straight with your core engaged to keep from straining anything in the process.
While a physical job might not give you much choice as far as how much stress you exert on your joints, you do have some control over what happens in your free time. Whenever you can, choose joint-friendly exercises like swimming and cycling instead of distance running and deep squats.
Though you may be active all day in your job or free time, general activity doesn't always translate into strength in the areas you need to protect your joints. You can discuss exercises with your provider to target areas around your knees, hips, shoulders, or spine to help support back and joint health. Strong muscles in these areas support and assist ease of movement, and mobility training can also help.
Each person is unique, which means that each ache and pain, weakness, and strength are different. By working with your primary care provider on preventative care strategies, exercises, and lifestyle changes now, you can help ward off problems down the line.
With the benefits of preventative care directed by the staff at Community Health Partners (CHP) and a few modifications to your lifestyle, you can be well on your way to preventing premature arthritis and other issues. Get connected with your nearest CHP clinic to make an appointment, and start being proactive about your joint health.