When I watch my kids move all I can think of is Gumby; you might remember that green, flexible fellow from years ago. If you don’t know Gumby don’t worry it probably means you do not need to read this blog post because you don’t have stiff and achy joints. My kids are bendy and move with such grace and ease. I remember when I moved like that and the freedom I felt within my body. Now after years of contact sports and intense training followed by years of decreasing activity and finally minimal exercise because of work and raising kids even your physical therapist gets achy joints.
I have had a lot of people ask me what I do for my stiff and achy joints. I thought I better write a blog about this topic because it comes up a lot in conversation. So be ready for some simple tips, some you may know and others you have not thought about.
Jump in a hot shower or take a nice warm bath (add Epsom salt). Throw a heating pad on an achy body part. Get active with some light exercise to warm your body up. These are such simple ways to get muscles to relax and loose joints take pressure off of joints.
Put an ice pack on a painful or achy joint for 10-15 minutes or until numb. Cold showers and baths reduce systemic inflammation but be sure to progress yourself slowly. Ice baths are an effective way to reduce the body's inflammation, but it is best to consult an expert before attempting.
Perform gentle stretching or enjoy a yoga class. Increasing flexibility is a great way to reduce stress on your joints.
Get stronger. Muscle tension is often a result of weak muscles that surround the joint. If the brain thinks the joint does not feel stable it will tighten up around the joint.
Moving our bodies in new ways improve our flexibility and mobility. This does not mean you have to go a class, just turn on some music and move your body in any way it feels good.
Let your body relax and jump, bounce, or wiggle yourself while letting your arms, trunk, and legs move freely. Don’t worry if you look funny because the funnier you look the more fun you will have.
Foods that cause inflammation can make stiff and achy joints feel worse. Sugar is the number one thing to remove from your diet. It is common for people with joint pain to exercise and do other activities to reduce their pain, but it is not until they change their diet that the pain subsides.
8. Sing and Hum
This may sound silly, but singing and humming stimulates the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is in charge of your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). When the body is in rest and digest tension is taken away from the large muscle groups. Reduce muscle tension and decrease joint stiffness.
There are so many ways to reduce tension in your body and get those joints to feel less stiff and achy. If you have tried these tips and are still suffering from stiff, achy joints then it might be time to see an expert who can figure out why those joints won't loosen up. Give us a call at Body Evolution to talk with a PT who can help you get back to your active, non-achy lifestyle.
I'm just a guy helping active adults and athletes frustrated by nagging aches and pains naturally return to a healthy lifestyle.