Nearly 50% of Americans over the age of 18 are affected by musculoskeletal (bone and joint) conditions, including back pain, arthritis, traumatic injuries, osteoporosis and childhood conditions. These conditions can prevent you from doing activities you love, and while they can lead to severe long-term pain and physical disability, when possible, changes in lifestyle can help alleviate pain and improve quality of life.

In recognition of Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week, we've put together a list of ways to keep your bone and joint health in check now, so you can stay active in the future.

  • Lose weight - Losing as little as 10 pounds of body weight can help reduce pain by lessening the strain on our joints.
  • Stretch prior to exercising- Exercise-related joint pain can be caused by tendinitis, an inflammation or irritation of the tendons. This type of joint pain can be reduced or eliminated by stretching and warming up tendons before working them too hard, making them more flexible and able to handle the added weight or exercise loads we put on them.
  • Warm up - This allows our tendons to flex and become suppler, lets the muscles loosen and work better, and gets the blood flowing through our body.
  • Change exercises - Both avid and occasional exercisers should change up the exercises they do, from high-impact activities to lower impact such as yoga or Pilates.
  • Don't over exercise - Regardless of the type of exercise you do or how heavy the workout, someone who does hours of intense exercising daily will have more problems with chronic joint pain than someone who allows their body to recuperate.
  • Change positions - Sitting or standing all day, day after day, can cause joint pain. Getting up and moving around is helpful to break up a routine and keep our bodies in shape.
  • Shoe evaluation - Did you know that women who wear high heels are seven to 10 times more likely to develop joint pain and problems? It's a good idea to vary the heel height of the shoes you wear. It's also important that all shoes, including tennis and athletic shoes, fit properly.

Proper bone and joint care is vital to maintaining your overall quality of health and the ability to do the activities you love. For more information on Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center's joint health services, visit our website or call (208) 227-2777 to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.