The human body is a network of connections with billions of parts working together to allow you to survive. Taking care of the cells, tissues, bones, organs, and organ systems is a complicated but necessary process. This is what pursuing health is all about.
A crucial part of the structure of your body is your joints. There are hundreds of joints in your body, though you probably only think about a few of the main ones like knees, hips, elbows, and wrists. When bones come together and pivot around each other, this connection is known as a joint, and taking care of these connections is crucial to maintaining physical health and mobility as you get older.
Joint pain is a common issue faced by older adults and physically active individuals. Those who play sports or do a lot of physical activity often have to deal with joint pain because of the extra stress that is put on these connections, while older adults often see the results of decay attack their joints first. No matter how old you are or what your lifestyle is like, here are five signs to watch out for that might indicate you need to take extra care of your joints going forward.
Occasional stiffness is a side effect of many conditions that can affect your joints. If you wake up often experiencing occasional stiffness in particular areas, then this could be a sign that your joints could use extra support. Occassional stiffness usually means that the cartilage and tendons of your joint are not being maintained well, causing them to stiffen and fail to remain flexible. A diet of fatty fish with omega-3 fatty acids, paired with some joint health supplements, could go a long way toward combating this occasional stiffness.
Well-lubricated joints are completely silent. This demonstrates that the parts surrounding your joint are working together smoothly, as they are supposed to. However, if you start to hear noises whenever you are using your joints, this could be a cause for concern. Noisy joints might create sounds like snapping, popping, cracking, or grinding. The problem with noisy joints is that they do not always hurt when they make these sounds. It would be a mistake to ignore the issue simply because there is no pain. Unnatural sounds mean that the parts around your joint are not interacting correctly, so the issue will likely exacerbate over time if you do not see a doctor quickly.
Movement of the human body is impossible without your joints. Your fingers, arms, legs, feet, neck, and other parts of your body can only move because you have a functioning joint connecting two or more bones. If the joint starts to break down or becomes compromised in some way, you may have a more difficult time with that particular movement. For example, if the cartilage in your shoulder joint is breaking down, then it may become difficult to rotate your arm through a full range of motion. Keeping your joints healthy requires multiple steps, including regular exercise and the right diet. If you are careful with these practices, then you will maintain better movement with your joints.
This symptom is the most obvious, and often most common, sign of compromised joint health. Your joints are meant to work smoothly and efficiently. Pain and swelling are signs that this is not the case. It could be inflammation due to a breakdown of the cartilage, causing the bones themselves to grind against each other. Pain can also make tasks more difficult, which should be an immediate warning to see a doctor and try to address the problem.
Pain is not the only side effect of inflammation in the joints. In fact, another potential outcome is nerve compression, which can cause a lack of sensation in the joints. Tingling is another potential side effect of this inflammation. Since inflammation is such a big problem in terms of arthritis and other joint issues, it is important to recognize the various symptoms that can result so that you know there is an issue.
Don’t Wait to Accept Treatment
The biggest mistake you could make if you notice the signs of joint health decline is ignoring the issue. Joint problems are not going to go away if they are ignored, and action needs to be taken quickly once an issue is discovered. Whether you experience pain, swelling, numbness, stiffness, or difficulty moving, these could be indicators that you are facing long-term problems with your joints.
Schedule a visit to your doctor if you notice any of these signs. Addressing the issue quickly is your best chance of reducing the effects of arthritis or other joint problems as you get older. Plus, your quality of life can be drastically impacted by pain in your joints.