Have you ever joked about squirting some WD-40 into your creaky knee or stiff hip?
There is actually some truth to it though, because our joints are like hinges.
In a door frame, the hinge attaches the swinging door to the frame and allows it to open and close with ease. If the hinge gets rusty or starts to wear down, the door will creak, scratch, get stuck, or even jammed.
Over time, your joints can experience wear and tear that results in dis-ease of movement. Our knees can start making funny noises when we go up the stairs, we can have trouble straightening our hips after sitting for a long time, or not be able to quite reach up as high as we used to because of pain in our shoulder joint.
When our joints feel like rusty hinges we start to do less and as we do less, the “rust” and stiffness just gets worse. Then, the less we can do because of pain and the cycle continues.
How do we break the cycle of “rusty” joints and continue to move with ease?
When two bones come together at a joint, there is cartilage that provides cushion and synovial fluid that provides lubrication. This reduces friction from the bones rubbing against one another and allow smooth movement.
However, due to age, injury, or normal wear and tear, joints experience loss of synovial fluid and damage to the cartilage. The joint no longer moves with ease and we can start experiencing pain, swelling, stiffness, or decrease range of movement.
Fortunately, there are a few steps we can take to keep our joints lubricated and moving with ease at any age and even after injury.
Motion is lotion for our joints. When we move, we pump lubrication into your joints and release more water into our lubricating fluid so it spreads over the surface of the cartilage.
Regularly moving our joints through the full range of movement, especially first thing in the morning, helps cover the cartilage with fluid (kind of like a squirt of WD-40).
We know it’s important to overall health, but staying hydrated specifically helps lubricate and cushion our joints.
Aim for half your body weight in ounces per day – that would be 75 ounces of water for the average person weighing 150 pounds.
Prioritize Healthy Fats
We hear a lot about Omega 3 fatty acids improving heart health, but did you know that they also help keep your joints lubricated? You can get omega-3s from fish such as salmon or trout, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocado.
Many of us need a little extra through supplementation when we aren’t eating fatty fish on a regular basis, because although the plant sources are good they aren’t utilized as well.
Getting into a state of deep sleep helps the body to recover and rebuild. It’s not just the hours that you log in bed but the quality of the sleep that matters as well.
Our body can rebuild bone and replace lost cartilage in deep sleep states. Melatonin, which promotes deep sleep, is shown to help bone building during sleep..
Increase Hydrochloric Acid
Injecting hydrochloric acid into painful joints is a common yet invasive treatment. Fortunately, by consuming collagen you can help trigger your bodies own production of hydrochloric acid, which helps lubricate and hydrate connective tissue in the joints.
Collagen can be consumed through home made bone broth or quality supplements. Our pick is Collagen+ due to ingredients that boost it’s absorption to get to the joints.
Glucosamine sulfate is a normal component of our cartilage and synovial fluid in healthy joints. Choosing the sulfate form, not the less effective hydrochloride form, is important to getting the results we are looking for.
This supplement can support the body’s natural joint lubrication and help with the retention of fluid in the cartilage.
From first thing in the morning, all the way until you go to bed at night (hopefully early enough to get a good nights rest) you can take steps to help keep your joints lubricated and moving with ease.
In summary, the best course of action for healthy joints is to get some gentle movement in first thing in the morning, drink plenty of water through out the day, and supplement as needed to support your body’s natural joint cushioning.
It’s also important to develop a unique “joint health” plan to meet your body’s needs. There is never a “one size fits all” solution. If you are looking for a “prescription” for better joint health we encourage you to discuss your concerns and goals with a healthcare provider.
If pain and lack of mobility is your primary concern, request a FREE call from a doctor of physical therapy by clicking the link below and we can help you with a more specific game plan.
If choosing the best foods, getting quality sleep, or picking the right supplements for you is a top on your list, then click the link below to speak with a movement and nutrition specialist to point you in the right direction.