If you currently suffer from joint pain—or hope to prevent it—don’t be tempted by ads and fads. Beyond taking any medications recommended by your healthcare provider, there are steps you can take to ease pain and protect joints, according to Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.
What Works. To protect your joints, be careful at work and at play. Sports- or work-related injuries to joints can increase the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis. Wear protective equipment and appropriate footwear, and avoid repetitive motion to minimize or prevent joint damage. If you already have arthritis, physical activity is a simple, effective, non-drug way to reduce pain for many people. “In our research, patients with knee osteoarthritis began to see reduced pain and increased function four to five weeks into 12-week interventions with either Tai Chi or physical therapy,” says Chenchen Wang, MD, MSc, director of the Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine at Tufts Medical Center. “Our results indicate individuals with knee osteoarthritis will likely benefit from mind-body exercise therapy regardless of pre-intervention activity levels.” Low-impact activities like the traditional Chinese mind-body exercise Tai Chi, walking, bicycling, and swimming do not put too much stress on the joints or involve twisting and have a low risk of injury.