Did you know that almost half of Americans age 18 or older are limited by a bone-related disorder like back pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, sports trauma, or fractures?
That’s why October 12-20 has been designated as National Bone and Joint Awareness Week. The goal is to raise awareness of various bone disorders so that the public is more informed, and health care practitioners can focus on prevention.
National Bone and Joint Awareness Week began as an initiative of the global Bone and Joint Decade program. Healthcare industries, government agencies, and physicians are working together with the goal of improving the prevention of disorders of the bones.
Let’s take a look at two bone and joint disorders that affect many Americans, with a focus on education and prevention.
Osteoporosis is the most common disorder of the bones in the United States. It affects almost one in four men and one in two women. The condition is progressive and debilitating. It can greatly restrict one’s freedom and range of movement, leading to high rates of spine and hip fractures. In turn, these injuries tend to make an already fragile person more sedentary.
Another way to prevent osteoporosis is through weight-bearing exercise. The body responds to this type of exercise by building bone mass to support any additional muscle and the force generated by that muscle. This may sound like a daunting task, but you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to see benefits from this type of exercise.
Moderate lifting with some small hand weights is all that is required. Be sure to start with weights you can handle and add weight very slowly. Always listen to your body and rest between exercise days to allow your body time to recover.
Arthritis is a common disorder of the joints, which causes pain, inflammation, and limited range of motion in the joints. A joint that is swollen can be damaged over time. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis related to aging.
Medications are typically prescribed to treat arthritis. Anti-inflammatory drugs help reduce the swelling and can reduce pain. Pain killers are also sometimes prescribed to helps manage the pain.
In addition to Vitamin D, getting adequate exercise is important. Maintaining a healthy weight eases the burden on knees. Glucosamine Chondroitin supplements help many arthritis sufferers. Another great supplement is hyaluronic acid. These supplements help build and maintain cartilage that helps cushion joints.