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Strong bones help healthy growth
Physiotherapy and massage therapy are among beneficial options to treat chronic conditions, and relieve aches.

Keep yourself fit and flexible with these simple tips

By Natalia Ahmed

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Published: Mon 16 Dec 2019, 1:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 16 Dec 2019, 3:07 PM

Flexibility and stamina are often underrated and ignored by adults and children alike, resulting in adverse effects later on. Joints, and their surrounding structures, are cushioned with cartilage and synovium, and a lubricant known as synovial fluid.
These help prevent bones from rubbing together, making it easier for us to perform daily activities. However, with older age, injury, or extra weight, your cartilage can get damaged, leading to damaged joints, and arthritis, among other conditions.
One of the most common causes for joint pain is arthritis, though many other conditions can affect your joints, from gout, to infectious diseases like the flu, to strains and sprains caused by physical activity or accidents. Joint pain can range from mild to acute, and can last from anywhere between a few hours to several weeks or months. 
There are two types of arthritis; osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage gets broken down, and tends to affect older patients, particularly in the wrists, hips and knees. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an immune disorder, where the immune system mistakenly attacks your joints. Pain is caused when the joints become inflamed and fluids build up in the joints, as part of the body's immune response. 
There are a number of tips that you can keep in mind to protect your joints and ensure your body remains ache-free and fully functional. One major factor in joint pain is weight. Joints like your knees, hips, and your back carry your body's weight, so losing weight helps reduce pressure on these joints.
A mix of diet and exercise are necessary to maintain your joints, as staying in one position for too long can lead to stiff joints. For those looking to start exercising, it is important to go slowly, build stamina, and let your joints get used to the added strain. Building up the surrounding muscles, too, will help prevent joint pain.
Aquatic exercises are extremely useful, as the water provides resistance, but the buoyancy helps relieve pressure off your joints. Yoga, too, is a useful exercise as it helps focus on correct posture and proper alignment of the body.
Since yoga is not a strenuous exercise, it can help loosen your body, stretch stiff muscles, and help relieve any stress on the joints to keep your body light and flexible. 
One useful tip for those beginning an exercise routine is to do 'hot and cold' therapy after the workout. Heat therapy helps boost circulation and can soothe stiff joints, whereas cold therapy slows circulation, reduces swelling, and numbs pain.
Cold treatments can include ice packs, or submerging the joint in ice water. When it comes to cold treatments, make sure to restrict the treatments to 20-minute sessions.
Sprains and strains on the muscles and joints are common when playing sports or taking part in physical activities - even a twisted ankle while running or walking can cause acute joint pain. 
For joint pain, it is important to see a doctor if the pain persists over a few days, if you have a fever but no other symptoms of the flu, or if the joint is swollen and warm to the touch. Doctors will perform a physical exam and get an X-ray to see the full extent of any damage caused. 
Though joint pain can be caused by everyday activities, it can also be a sign of arthritis. There is no permanent cure for arthritis, as it is a chronic condition. However, there are ways to manage the pain and alleviate the tension.
The first thing would be to stay physically active and keep stretching to keep your body flexible, and maintain your body weight within a healthy range. Topical balms for pain relief are also useful, as they help reduce swelling and inflammation.
Another useful option is massage therapy - massages are particularly relaxing, and help boost serotonin levels and lower the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body. Physiotherapy is also very helpful in alleviating tension and relieving pain, be it acute or chronic. 
Joint pain is one of the most common complaints by patients around the world - be it a light sprain, or a more serious injury, joint pain can adversely affect your life and can cause long-term damage that is not easily reversible. However, there are a number of easy ways to take care of your body, and keep your joints flexible, strong, and resilient, even to arduous exercises.   



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