For those who observe Christian traditions, this week marks the beginning of Lent, a time of reflection and sacrifice in preparation for the Easter holiday. Many, regardless of faith, see this forty-day period as an opportunity to better themselves physically, spiritually, and/or mentally. What New Year’s resolutions were made and broken before this time may be renewed.
If you are living with joint pain and finding management of it a challenge, this is a good time to consider what you can give up for Lent to help reduce stiffness and improve flexibility. It may be as simple as a few lifestyle changes, or perhaps more vigilance and care through your physician. Consider these common resolutions and see if they apply.
The more you sit up straight, bend properly when lifting and moving items, and stand without slouching, you put less stress on bad joints. Bad posture forces your legs, knees and back to work harder, and over time the discomfort may increase. Use this time to check yourself when you sit down to work or eat, or stand in line.
It’s well known that cigarette smoking can have negative effects on one’s circulatory and respiratory system, but the potential for damage doesn’t end there. According to OrthoInfo, smokers are more likely to experience issues with bursitis, lower back pain, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Smoking can also reduce a body’s calcium content, making bones more susceptible to fracture.
Hydration is important for maintaining healthy joints. Excessive alcohol intake can dehydrate the body and cause issues with joints in the long run. If you are prescribed medication to help with pain management, drinking alcohol may put its effectiveness at risk.
It’s said all great journeys begin with a single step, and motivation is the key in order to feel better and improve joint health. Keep a record of your exercise and make yourself accountable. Track water intake and record the days you refrain from bad habits. In time, you may develop better ones that improve your quality of life.
At Bon Secours Virginia Orthopaedic and Spine Specialists, our physicians and staff are here to provide minimally invasive treatments for joint pain and bone fractures. Contact us today to learn more about our programs and to schedule an appointment.