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Cracking joints

Do you hear that cracking? That’s my knees!

A very famous old wives tale is that when you crack you joints you are more likely to develop arthritis, hehe! I believed it for quite some while. This cracking noise also known as grinding, popping and crepitus is not usually painful (and if it is you need to see someone if you have not yet). There are various reasons for it. A) Synovial joint fluid pressure changes, what these changes are, we are yet to uncover. Research has 2 conclusions, an earlier study indicated that it was the result of bursting gaseous bubbles inside the joint, however a more recent study proposed that it was actually that a bubble was being created.

Another proposition as to why cracking sounds occur is the noise that occurs as ligaments and tendons move over bones- I'm not sure about this one, there are a few flaws to this explanation. Such as the biomechanics of the theory.

As the say in Shrek “they’ll grind your bones to make his bread!”

Bone on bone grinding is quite uncommon and will only occur if your cartilage has degenerated (also known as osteoarthritis). Osteoarthritis is most common from middle-aged men and women onwards. It can be very painful causing the joint to lose its shape and motion fluidity over time.

Another joint condition is Rheumatoid arthritis.This is the result of the immune system attacking the tissue of the joints causing inflammation, malformation and may even make people feel sick.

Unfortunately arthritis cannot be cured, Once it has happened, it's there for good. But on a positive note there are ways to control the pain, improve joint function and achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Treatment is usually a combination of interventions:
  • exercise

  • weight control

  • nondrug pain relief techniques and alternative therapies

  • medications to control pain

  • surgery.

Here is where it gets to the good part! EXERCISE IS THE BEST TREATMENT!

It not only improved mood but reduces pain, increases joint function, maintains weight which is a problem when you have arthritis) and promotes general physical fitness.

Here are some examples of what to incorporate that is safe and effective:

  • Strengthening exercises: squats, lunges, deadlifts and other compound movements are great! These exercises strengthen muscles that support joints affected by arthritis. They can be performed with weights or with exercise bands or just your own body weight.

  • Cardio, Brisk walking, Swimming and cycling (low-impact aerobics) all  get your heart pumping and can keep your lungs and circulatory system in shape.

  • STRETCH (check out my stretching blog): These keep your joints limber and improves function.

  • Yoga, which helps with balance and agility exercises: These help you maintain daily living skills.

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