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Bad Habits That Cause Joint Pains

Being Overweight or Obese

People who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop arthritis. Research has shown that for every pound that you weigh, your knees have 4 pounds of stress on them. Extra weight also burdens joints in your hips, back, and feet. Additional weight places increased strain and wear and tear on your joints. In addition the physical stress that increased weight places on joints, fat secretes inflamto matory chemicals that may also cause joint pain and increase the risk of arthritis and other chronic conditions. Some types of inflammatory molecules may promote the development of osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), two conditions that affect joints. Osteoarthritis is the so-called "wear-and-tear" type of arthritis where cartilage is damaged in the affected joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks and damages joints.

Extra weight strains joints, increases inflammation, and may lead to arthritis.

Cracking Your Knuckles

Some people develop a bad habit of cracking their knuckles. The sound results from ligaments that snap against bone or from fluid bubbles that burst around the joints. It is a myth that cracking your knuckles causes arthritis, but it is still a bad habit that you should stop. Results of one study suggest that cracking your knuckles may cause hand swelling and it may even weaken your grip. The best way to break a bad habit may be to replace it with another, healthier habit. Instead of cracking your knuckles, squeeze a stress ball to strengthen muscles in your hands and develop increased grip strength.

Knuckles crack when fluid-filled bubbles in your joints burst.

Carrying Heavy Backpacks or Bags

Carrying a heavy load on your back, whether it is a backpack, purse, or messenger bag, can place a lot of stress and strain on your neck, shoulders, and back. When you carry a heavy load, it affects your balance and even the way you walk. This is especially true if you like to carry your backpack or bag on only one side. The result is that it stresses muscles and joints on that side of the body and overworks them so they experience more wear and tear. You may experience muscle pain, joint pain, and other symptoms. Lighten your load! Avoid lugging around unnecessary objects. Carry just what you need. Use a backpack over both shoulders to distribute the weight you carry more evenly. If you do carry a purse or messenger bag with one strap, switch sides to avoid placing undue stress on just one side of your body.

Lighten your load to avoid symptoms like muscle pain and joint pain.

Skipping Stretching Is Bad

Regular stretching improves flexibility and eases joint pain. If you do not warm up or stretch before work outs, now is the time to start. It will strengthen muscles and tendons, lubricate joints, and boost your ability to have normal range-of-motion. Ultimately, strong muscles support joint stability, so stretching is a good way to maintain your joint health. Warm up before exercise by doing dynamic or active stretching. This involves doing movements that are similar to those used in the activity or sport that you will be doing. Active stretching boosts blood flow, increases muscle temperature, and gets muscles ready for activity.

Stretching improves joint range-of-motion.

Neglecting Strength Training

After the age of 40, bones begin to become a little thinner. They are also more likely to break. Strength training, or resistance training, increases bone mineral density by approximately 1 to 3 percent. Working out with weights stresses bone and triggers the growth of new bone. It also slows the rate of bone loss. The combination of strong muscles and dense bones leads to increased joint stability. This, in turn, makes it less likely that you will suffer injuries. Check with your doctor before starting a strength training program for the first time, especially if you suffer from arthritis pain, knee pain, or back pain. You want to make sure you have medical clearance from your physician before beginning an exercise program.

Strength training may help minimize symptoms of painful joints.

Getting Insufficient or Poor Quality Sleep

The vast majority of people who suffer from arthritis, approximately 80 percent, have difficulty sleeping. When your joints ache or you are experiencing joint inflammation or stiffness, it can make it harder to sleep. Researchers have found that the opposite is also true. If you suffer from sleep problems, they can actually make joint pain (arthralgia) and joint symptoms worse. Sleep difficulties trigger inflammation, which may make joint pain and inflammatory conditions such as some kinds of autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, ankylosing spondylitis, idiopathic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, grout, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis worse.

Make good-quality sleep a priority to decrease inflammation and joint symptoms.

Having Poor Posture

Your mother always told you to stand up straight. She was right! Having poor posture throws your spine out of alignment and increases stress on muscles and joints. It may also decrease your range-of-motion and flexibility and may throw off your balance. Having poor posture may inhibit your ability to do things for yourself. It also increases the risk of falls. The basics of good posture are simple. Stand up tall with your shoulders back and your head held high. Tighten your abdominal muscles and keep your core strong. If you work at a desk, make sure you have a good ergonomic set up (for example, an adjustable chair) that promotes good posture.

Poor posture may trigger joint pain symptoms.

Sitting Too Long at the Computer

Sitting for too long while working on the computer may lead to pain in your neck, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and back. Bad posture is one culprit that can produce pain. Working too long while sitting in one position is another problem. Muscles become overworked and sitting for long periods of time also increases stress on discs in your back. Use supportive measures to take the strain off your body. Invest in an ergonomic desk chair. Use cushioned gel pads under your forearms and wrists when you type, write, or use a mouse. Set an alarm and get up and move around for at least a few minutes every hour. Sitting too long is not just bad for your joints, it is a risk factor for increased mortality.

Ease arthritis pain by taking precautions while on the computer.

Being a Stomach Sleeper

You may snore less when you sleep on your stomach instead of on your back, but the rest of your body may suffer. People who sleep on their stomachs have to twist their heads and necks to the side. This, in turn, places stress on nerves. It also compresses your spine, leading to awkward spinal alignment. You want to sleep in a neutral position so that your head and neck are in a straight line with your spine to reduce the risk of strain on your back, neck, and muscles. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Switch to sleeping on your side or back. Look for special pillows for side sleepers and back sleepers that promote healthy spin  alignment.

Stomach sleeping may lead to symptoms of back pain and neck pain.

source: WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. 

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