Achy knees and throbbing back? You’re not alone. According to Dr Akhilesh Yadav, Associate Director & Unit Head Orthopaedic, Max Hospital Vaishali, a higher number of young and middle-aged people are now dealing with joint paint. “As per an estimate, around 20 crore Indians (especially above the age of 50 years) suffer from some form of knee-related problems,” he says. Some of the key reasons for joint pain include the following, he says: family history, age-related degeneration, obesity, physical inactivity, acquired infections like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis or nutrition deficiencies such as Vitamin D and B 12. And yes, there are reports that covid too wreaks havoc on the joints.
Also read: How to recover from a knee injury
Want to manage your joint paint? Here are some tips
Maintain an optimal body mass index
Carrying excess weight puts tremendous pressure on the joints, wearing them down. Dr Yadav points out that poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle are the biggest factors for weight gain. “It is thus advised to eat a healthy and balanced diet along with regular mild exercises to maintain the BMI,” he says.
Regular exercise is a must, believes Dr Yadav, suggesting any basic exercise for five days a week. Choose low impact workouts such as walking, the recumbent bike or elliptical and throw in a couple of strength training sessions. If your pain is terrible, water-based workouts like swimming or pool exercise can be beneficial. And yes, never skip your warm-up and stretching routine.
Follow an anti-inflammatory diet.
What you eat has a tremendous impact on your joints. Pain is often the result of inflammation, and an anti-inflammatory diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and some fish is best for you. Also, it may help to reduce consumption of processed food, red meat, sugary foods, gluten, some seafood, MSG, salt and alcohol.
Also read: How to stop eating your emotions
Several nutritional supplements are useful for the joints, including fish oil, curcumin, vitamin A, C, K and D and glucosamine.
Have a bath or use an ice pack
Yes, grandma was right. A warm soak in the tub or hot water bag can help relax stiff, achy joints and is great when you’re dealing with chronic pain. If the pain is acute, however, stick to an icepack.