How Do I Keep Joints in Good Shape?
Friday, January 30, 2015 09:32 PM

The movements that you perform on a daily basis are critical to long-term joint health, as are proper nutrition, a healthy exercise regimen, and a healthy lifestyle.  Moving a joint through its full range of motion is important. Joints are not supplied directly with blood like other organs in the body, so the saying, “Use it or lose it” applies to joint function.

Most joints in the body are lined with cartilage—a firm but pliable tissue that covers the surfaces of the bones that make up the joint. Cartilage within a joint is nourished by synovial fluid, which is “forced” into the joint cartilage through a process called imbibition. The pressure within the joint that provides nourishment to the cartilage occurs only when the joint moves. And this is why movement is critical to joint health. Grinding of bone on bone without a cartilage covering leads to degenerative joint disease, or DJD. This condition tears up the bones and creates cysts, bone spurs, and excess bone production.

A spinal disc is made up of two parts: a larger, outermost, ligament-like portion called the annulus fibrosus and an inner gelatinous portion called the nucleus pulposus. These two structures are primarily fluid- or water-based. They also rely on movement and imbibition for their nourishment. Therefore, movement in the spine is also critical to the health of the spinal joints.

Proper diet and nutrition contribute to joint health by providing the joints with enough healthy nutrients for long-term stability and resistance to wear and tear. A healthy lifestyle free from tobacco products and other toxins helps ensure proper blood supply to tissues surrounding joints and speeds up healing of joint injuries when they occur