Is your weight the reason behind an occasional twinge of joint pain you experience when you climb stairs or go for a walk? It is not a commonly known fact. But, yes! overweight (a BMI of 25 to 29.9) or obese (BMI 30 or higher) raises the risk of arthritis, and in some cases, obesity makes arthritis worse.
And what may hurt you more than the day-in, day-out aches is how the joint pain affects your ability to perform daily activities like a weekly tennis game with a friend or playing tag with your niece. One simple step toward prevention of arthritis is to check your weight.
Before getting into how to maintain a healthy weight for healthy joints here is what you need to know about, how weight plays a part in causing Joint pains?
Carrying extra pounds on weight-bearing joints increase stress and could hasten the breakdown of bone-cushioning cartilage which causes your ligaments to become strained and, as a result, you find yourself in constant pain.
Did you know? “Every pound of excess weight exerts about 4 pounds of extra pressure on your knees”, which means a person who is 10 pounds overweight has 40 pounds of extra pressure on his knees.
That is why people who are obese are at higher risk of developing arthritis. And once a person has arthritis, the extra pounds cause even more problems on already damaged joints. But it’s not just the extra weight on joints that cause damage. The fat itself is active tissue that creates and releases chemicals which promotes inflammation. Hence maintaining a healthy weight is essential to keep arthritis at bay.
Proper weight management benefits your joints in various ways which include:
- Reduces joint pain
- Reduces pressure on joint
- Improves joint functioning and overall health
- Eases pain and Inflammation
- Enhances good night’s sleep
- Makes breathing easier
- Cuts the risk of various chronic health conditions
- Lowers the risk of heart diseases and stroke
How to protect your joints?
There are different approaches you can try to boost your overall joint health. It may take a couple of weeks for you to feel the change, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t notice the difference instantly.
Here are a few ways that can help bring you one step closer to a healthier and pain-free life.
- Manage weight: Shredding weight helps take the pressure off your joints. Losing as less as just 10 pounds reduces about a 30-pound load on each knee with every stride.
- Exercise regularly: Go for gentle movements, low-impact activities, such as walking, aerobics or swimming or strike a yoga pose to help you manage your weight, which causes joints have a less overall force to bear. It also helps strengthen muscles around your joints for improved mobility.
- Plan for inflammation-fighting foods: Adding the right foods (i.e anti-inflammatory foods like salmon, sardines, tuna, soybeans, walnuts, flaxseed, and olive oil) to your diet especially omega-3 fatty foods that actually bring relief from arthritis symptoms like joint pain and stiffness, and reduces inflammation.Note: Talk to your rheumatologist, whether you’re getting enough nutrients from your diet. If not, a fish oil supplement can help fill the gap.
- Try massage therapy: Studies have shown that people suffering from chronic joint pains enjoy relief in arthritis symptoms with regular massages. Massage is also a proven method to lower stress and anxiety, which may help you lose weight.
- Consider herbal remedy: Some natural treatments have been shown to be effective anti-inflammatories that can help ease joint pain.
Weight loss is a tough endeavor and may seem like an impossible task when you have sore joints, but no single action can provide as many positive effects on the body as weight loss. The sooner you get started, the sooner you will get to your target weight.
It is always advised to consult a rheumatologist regularly to keep a check on arthritis.
Book an online appointment with our best rheumatologists at Apollo Hospitals.