Use Your Head
The best way to protect your joints when using them is to use your head first. If you're constantly bending over to work in your garden, can you create a raised flower bed instead? Instead of picking up an object from one end of a table to put it down on the other end, can you slide it instead?
Another "joint-smart" approach is to back off when your joints start reacting badly to a certain activity. It's smarter to put the activity on hold and rest your body (or check your e-mail) before returning than it is to power through the activity at the expense of your body.
Plan your day and arrange your activities so they're not all grouped together. If you have several projects, schedule a more intensive one between two simpler tasks to allow your joints plenty of rest. Don't overestimate how much your joints can handle. If you're pulling, grasping or carrying an object, change positions frequently if you feel stiffness coming on. Affix easy-grip pads to handles and knobs to help you turn or grasp them.
Decide if the task at hand is worth the toll it may take on your joints. Can you hire someone or call in a favor to get the task done? If you can sit comfortably instead of standing during a task, do it.
Your joints will thank you for thinking of (and for) them.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Arthritis Foundation. "10 Ways You Can Protect Your Joints." (March 11, 2009) http://ww2.arthritis.org/conditions/tips_jointprotection.asp
- Arthritis Today. http://www.arthritistoday.org/treatments/self-treatments/joint-health-2.php
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. "Working in a Sitting Position: Overview." June 19, 1998.http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/sitting/sitting_overview.html
- Cleveland Clinic. "Posture for a Healthy Back." (March 21, 2009) http://my.clevelandclinic.org/healthy_living/Back_health/hic_Posture_for_a_Healthy_Back.aspx
- Downs, Martin F. "Arthritis: Therapy in Motion -- Stretching." (March 20, 2009) http://arthritis.webmd.com/features/webmd-presents-arthritis-therapy-in-motion-stretching
- Engebretson, Julie. "Massage Found Effective for Chronic Hand Arthritis." Massage Today. Dec. 2006. http://www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=13519
- Harvard Health Publications. "Arthritis: Keeping Your Joints Healthy." (March 20, 2009)https://www.health.harvard.edu/special_health_reports/arthritis
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. "Rheumatoid arthritis pain: 7 ways to protect your joints." Feb. 9, 2008. (March 10, 2009) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/arthritis/AR00015
- MedlinePlus. "Joint Pain." April 24, 2008. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003261.htm
- NPR. "Study: Acupuncture Helps with Joint Pain." Aug. 21, 2006. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5683790
- Page, Carol, PT, CHT. "How to Protect Your Joints." (March 19, 2009) http://www.hss.edu/conditions_14300.asp
- University of Maryland Medical Center. "Omega-3 fatty acids." (March 19, 2009) http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/omega-3-000316.htm
- U.S. News & World Report. "Light Stretching Improves Range of Joint Motion." Aug. 6, 2008. http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/healthday/2008/08/06/light-stretching-improves-range-of-joint--motion.html
- Weatherall, Vic, MD. "Correcting faulty posture." (March 20, 2009) http://www.advancechiro.on.ca/posture_nf.htm
- WebMD. "Acupuncture for Arthritis." (March 20, 2009) http://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/guide/arthritis-acupuncture
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