Joints are the connections between bones and provide support and help you move. Any damage to the joints from disease or injury can interfere with your movement and cause a lot of pain.
Seniors can have some problems with joints, including osteoarthritis, arthritis, strains, and other injuries. About one-third of seniors report joint pain within the past 30 days. Knee pain was the most common complaint, followed by shoulder and hip pain, but joint pain can affect any part of your body, from your ankles and feet to your shoulders and hands. As you get older, painful joints become increasingly more common.
Joint pain can range from mildly irritating to debilitating. It may go away after a few weeks or last for several weeks or months. Even short-term pain and swelling in the joints can affect your quality of life. Whatever the cause of joint pain, you can usually manage it with medication, physical therapy, or alternative treatments.
As cooler weather approaches, now is the time to focus on preventing your joint health. With a few simple steps, you can reduce your pain and experience a more enjoyable winter.
1. Dress in layers
For seniors who want to venture outdoors for a walk, make sure to put on a sweatshirt, a coat, and some leggings. Joint pain can be exacerbated by cold winter temperatures and make you feel stiffer. Dressing for the weather will help keep your pain at bay and encourage you to brave the cool temperatures and enjoy some winter activities.
2. Eat Healthy
Many seniors do not take a healthy diet. They feast on junk food, however, a good diet is important no matter how old you are. Foods like nuts, oils and seeds, fiber, vegetables and protein will even out blood sugar, calm anxiety, boost your energy levels and reduce inflammation and joint pain.
3. Get Enough Sleep and Rest
One of the best ways of alleviating joint pain is to get plenty of sleep and relaxation. This will restore your strength & energy and allow your body to repair itself naturally. If you have joint pain, schedule periods of rest in your day where you just kick up your feet and watch television or read a good book.
4. Get a Massage
A massage therapy from an RMT can improve circulation and reduce pain in sore joints and muscles for people with all kinds of arthritis. The gentle kneading of the skin will increase flexibility and be wonderfully relaxing as well. Do your research before choosing an RMT. Find a good RMT that specializes in seniors and/ or joint pain.
5. Stay Active
Staying active is crucial during the winter months to not only manage your joint pain but to also maintain your flexibility. Seniors should do low-impact exercises that will increase blood flow and loosen stiff joints. Another positive aspect of exercising regularly is losing weight which will lower impact on joints.
6. Use Heat
If joint pain persists, consider applying heat. It can decrease pain and loosen up the joints. Apply a heating pad or hot water bottle, soak in a warm bath, or refresh your body with a relaxing shower. Be careful, however, when applying heat that you do not over-do it.