Preserving your joints
Osteoarthritis (OA) is known to be the most common form of arthritis and is also one of the most common causes of disability in adults. The symptoms of OA usually appear in middle-aged adults and affect both men and women, equally. This form of arthritis tends to run in families and is easily acquired through obesity, long-term athletics, and physical injuries.
Dr. Raj, Beverly Hills based double board certified orthopedic surgeon and fitness expert, has seen multiple cases of OA in his athletic patients, performers, and elderly, and says that weight has a tremendous affect on the way your joints hold up."When someone is 10 pounds overweight, it adds 50 pounds of pressure while walking, an increase of 5 times the original amount which leads to the unnecessary tearing and stressing of your body's natural scaffolding," Dr. Raj explains.
Aside from genetics and being overweight, the environment and the way you exercise can also cause symptoms of OA.
Dr. Raj recommends stretching before and after workouts to get a full range of motion in your joints and to strengthen the muscles around your joints. By doing so, your joints will become more stabilized and less force will be exerted on them. Also, know when to protect yourself from injury when the weather is hot or extremely cold.
OA is somewhat difficult to avoid as your body constantly uses its joints on a regular basis. "As a doctor, the body parts I've seen most affected by OA are the hips, knees, and back," says Dr. Raj. This is because most of our weight is supported by these joints and they hardly ever get time to rest. That is why Dr. Raj agrees that good posture is crucial and affects your joints tremendously. By standing up straight, loads of excess weight are taken off of your back and distributed throughout the other supporting areas of your body. It is best to develop good habits at a young age so prevention can begin early. By taking the proper steps of prevention, your body will be less susceptible to arthritis or any other joint-related disorders.
To Wii or not to Wii
It has been rumored that the Nintendo Wii can be therapeutic and good for the joints. With all of its new technology and the various games being introduced, some health experts have stated that the Wii can be beneficial in that way. Dr. Raj disagrees. "The Nintendo Wii is just another way to prevent children from being more active, naturally. There is nothing better than the good old-fashioned way of pushing your children to engage in outdoor activities. They will become more athletically inclined, rather than sitting in front of a television screen, and will thank you later."
The bottom line is, strengthening the muscles around your joints and maintaining a sturdy core will decrease your chance of osteoarthritis and any other form of the joint disease. Not only will consistent physical activity protect you from heavy stages OA, but it will also keep you fit and give you energy for anything that comes your way.
Dr. Raj, is based in Beverly Hills, California, specialises in hip, knee, and joint replacements, arthritis pain, sports injuries, fractures, and additional focuses on providing top alternative, conservative, and surgical options for any joint, bone, or muscle pain.