Behind the scenes of joint pain
3/29/2017 2:24 PM
Pain and stiffness are the tell-tale signs of joint issues, and they present most often in the elderly. According to Stuart Shapiro, DO, there is one important thing everyone can do to preserve joint health and stop the problems before they start.
“Keep moving,” he said. “Motion is the key to keeping joints in good shape. Joints get the majority of their nourishment through the environment of the joint capsule, and motion allows the joint fluid to circulate around the joint which aids in function, recovery and repair.”
While physical activity is important, mobility can be a challenge for patients experiencing joint pain. High impact exercise is not a good idea when a joint issue is present, but walking, cycling, swimming or using an elliptical machine are effective low-impact activities. Another important factor to joint health is diet. Shapiro says ongoing research links gluten-containing foods to joint agitation.
“Studies show there is a direct correlation between what we eat and the wellbeing of our joints,” Shapiro said. “Certain foods cause joint inflammation. Studies show gluten causes a direct release of inflammatory proteins, which causes long-term damage to the joints over time.”
“Obesity is also dangerous for joints, not because you’re bearing extra weight, but because it causes the same inflammatory response,” Shapiro said.
For a person suffering with joint pain, it is important to get a proper diagnosis from a medical professional. Hip and neck pain are often the result of a back problem.
In his practice, Shapiro most commonly sees patients with hip and knee issues. Conservative treatments—such as diet and activity modification, medication and physical therapy—are his go-to approach. If those fail, surgery may be considered.
“Take care of your joints,” Shapiro said. “I see a world of difference in my patients who have lived a healthy lifestyle.”