Joint pain in old age is a significant concern that should not be ignored. Most of us suffer from knee pain or back pain after a certain age. If we follow simple measures in our daily routine, then most of these conditions can be prevented.
Knee joint pain and backache especially in the lumbar region is a widespread problem. Almost everyone suffers from these problems in life either because of an unhealthy lifestyle or some disease. These are preventable and treatable in most cases, but most people have a disability and pain due to a lack of knowledge. After the fourth decade of life, bone density will decrease due to hormonal changes in men and women. As a result, they are more liable to fractures, backache, and knee joint pain. Females suffer more due to lack of estrogen after menopause, and hence the bone loss is more than males. Also, in our diet, we usually do not take sufficient amounts of calcium and vitamin D.
As you age, some nuisance pain emerging from physical wear and tear is natural. The cartilage that cushions your joints can deteriorate over time, and the discs that cushion the vertebrae in your spine can lose water and become thinner. So some loss of suppleness is to be expected.
Untreated chronic pains can worsen over time, but how much it affects is unpredictable and depends upon many unknown factors. Most chronic pains can result in loss of function of the spine, joints, or extremities.
When you stop using your neck, back, arm, or leg due to pain, it can lead to loss of functioning of the affected joints, muscles, and surrounding structures. When not in use, the reduced blood supply to the area can lead to arthritis, which will further increase your pain and discomfort. Conversely, activity can restore circulation, and can help the joints to move with less pain.
To preserve optimal function and maintain vitality, activity levels should be increased progressively through a rehabilitation program. The main goal of living with chronic pain is not to rectify it but to manage it.
Joint pain can occur in one or more joints, and people with joint pain will experience pain in their joints. This dramatically affects daily living and quality of life negatively.
Joint pain can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. It usually occurs in multiple joints and may affect any joints in the body.
Joint pain, a form of joint disorder, is characterized by inflammation, leading to coronary artery disease in the joints. This disease can affect the cartilage, which is formed as a cushion between the joints to prevent a collision when moving. However, cartilage acts as vicious lubrication for the bones. Injury or overwork, and sometimes the process of natural degeneration itself, can cause the cartilage to break and wear away. These can cause pain and swelling in the joints, which lead to joint pain.
The leading causes of joint pain are:
Degeneration: The cartilage layer present in the joints will get degenerated and corroded. This condition will usually occur in older individuals because of the degeneration of their cells.
Job: People who often carry heavy loads or work hard are more likely to get joint pain.
Injury: Accidents and injuries like falls, collisions, etc., are the common causes of joint pain.
Gout: Abnormal metabolism related to gout can also lead to joint pain.
Genetic, Infectious, or Unknown Causes like rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus can lead to joint pain.
Pain In The Joints:
Pain is present in the joints, even at rest. This frequent and continuous pain can cause trouble sleeping at night.
Joint pain can cause swelling around the joints and make you feel pain when touched, especially at night.
Creaking Sound From The Joints:
Creaking noise can be heard while moving the joints. However, there may not be any pain in some cases, but it does not mean that the joints are entirely healthy.
Joint pain can usually make you feel very uncomfortable when waking up early in the morning. This is due to the hardening of the joints, and there will be a cracking sound as you move. There may also be stiffness in the joints while sitting.
The muscles around the joints can get weaker and weaker, especially the muscles around the knees.
Difficult Or Unable To Exercise: The injured joints will lose their movement due to swelling, redness, and inflammation.
Most people believe that joint pain occurs only in older people. Still, it usually happens to people over the age of 40 or below, especially those with osteoarthritis. In addition, people with joint deformities, obesity, malnourishment, or people who have suffered from joint injuries are more likely to suffer from joint pain.
Excess weight can put stress and pressure on the weight-bearing joints, like knees.
Smoking, which is harmful to the body, can contribute to chronic pain, including joint pain.
The risk of developing arthritis can increase with age and people under the age of 40 will rarely experience arthritis-related problems.
Injuries due to work apart from athletic activity can put an individual at risk of joint pain.
Stress and Dissatisfaction With Life:
Stress can cause inflammation in the body, which can lead to pain and swelling in the joints.
Hard Physical Labor:
Physical labor involving repetitive action can cause joint pain over time.
When there is severe injury or degeneration in the muscular tendons near the joint area, you should visit a doctor for a direct examination and counseling. Likewise, if you have symptoms of joint pain even after some home therapies, you should see a doctor. If the knee pain does not fade, the health care provider may recommend surgery to reverse the damage.
In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, if you fall into a state of mild fever, fatigue, pale and dry skin. You must see a doctor immediately. This is because you have likely been exposed to rheumatoid arthritis.
For reducing disability and pain in old age, some measures are essential that every person should follow:
It would help if you get exposed to sunlight for at least 10-20 minutes daily.
Take a sufficient amount of calcium in your diet. Take one glass of skimmed milk per day or milk products.
Take calcium and vitamin D supplements if your bone density is low.
Strengthen your quadriceps muscles with simple exercises to reduce the disability. For example, after sitting on the chair or bed, elevate your leg, hold in the same position for 10 seconds and then leave; repeat this 5- 10 times a day. Also, repeat it with the other leg. You can sit on the floor or bed and stretch your legs together. Now, press a small towel by putting it under your knee, alternatively 5-10 times a day.
Remain active, avoid a sedentary lifestyle which will also improve your bone health.
Manage your weight.
Protect your joints from injury.
The following are various methods by which you can prevent joint problems:
- Drink plenty of milk, since milk is a rich source of calcium and can ensure strong bones.
- Get adequate exposure to the mid-noon sun to enhance calcium absorption.
- If you are overweight or obese, your weight can significantly impact your joints, so reduce your extra weight.
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid all possible injuries that can affect your joint.
Various studies have proved that certain foods are highly efficient in preventing joint pain and inflammation. They are as follows:
- Omega-3 fatty acids or fish oils.
- Seeds and nuts like walnuts and almonds.
- Brassica vegetables.
- Colorful fruits.
- Olive oil.
- Lentils and beans.
- Garlic and root vegetables.
- Whole grains.
The following methods can be followed in order to relieve an episode of ongoing joint pain:
- Usage of topical pain relievers in cream formulations or oral intake of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Paracetamol in order to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation.
- Stay physically active as much as possible unless the pain is so severe or acute. You can restrict physical activity when exercises are advised to be restricted by your healthcare provider.
- Do stretches before starting to exercise in order to maintain a good range of movement in your joints.
Acute pain in multiple joints is most commonly due to inflammatory conditions, gouty arthritis, or a flare-up episode of a chronic joint disorder. Chronic pain in multiple joints is most commonly due to a condition termed as osteoarthritis or an inflammatory disorder like rheumatoid arthritis. In children, the most common cause is noted to be juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
Yes, bananas can help in relieving joint pain. The reason behind this is that bananas and plantains are a rich source of magnesium and potassium. These minerals are highly effective in increasing bone density. Magnesium is also noted to alleviate arthritis symptoms.
The following are the very popular natural remedies that can help a person suffering from joint pain
- Aloe Vera.
- Green tea.
- Thunder god vine.
The following are the leading causes of inflammation at joints:
- Sugary foods such as desserts, pastries, chocolates, sodas, and even fruit juices are noted to cause inflammation at the joints.
- Saturated fats such as pork, beef, and lamb, etc.
- Trans fats such as baked pastries, fried foods, coffee creamers, etc.
- Omega 6 Fatty Acids.
- Refined carbohydrates such as white rice, pizza dough, white flour, etc.
- Gluten and casein foods.
Joint pain is one of the prominent health issues in older people above the age of 60. The following is the list of methods that can be used to treat joint pain in old age:
- Correction of posture.
- Maintenance of healthy body weight.
- Eating healthy foods and avoiding foods that might trigger joint pain and inflammation.
- Intake of plenty of water.
- Quit smoking and alcoholism.
The primary treatment involves the administration of over-the-counter pain medications, like Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, or Naproxen sodium. It can help in symptomatic relief of occasional pain that is usually triggered by activity. Secondary treatment involves various modalities such as physiotherapy and surgical correction of the affected joint.
The following are the drinks that can help in relieving joint pain.
- Fresh juices.
- Red wine.
The following are the most common and best medicines used by medical practitioners all over the world to treat joint pain.
The supplement that is recommended for joint health and overall musculoskeletal health by doctors is vitamin D3. Vitamin D is a pro steroid hormone. Most people who cross the age of 50 are noted to have low vitamin D levels when tested. Patients affected with joint pain should be started with 1,000 to 2,000 units of vitamin D per day.
The following are the essential oils that can be used in the treatment of joint pain,
- Eucalyptus oil.
- Frankincense oil.
- Lavender oil.
- Evening primrose oil.
- Ginger oil.
- Turmeric essential oil.
- Basil oil.
In a patient who is affected with lupus, the pain is noted to occur bilaterally on the body at the same time of the day. This pain is particularly noted in the joints of the wrists, hands, fingers, and knees. The joints appear to be inflamed, and it feels warm to the touch. But unlike rheumatoid arthritis, lupus is not noted to cause permanent joint damage.
Last reviewed at:
18 Jun 2021 - 5 min read
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