Take a Load Off – Help Avoid Back Pain, Knee Pain, and Stress on Joints

March 15, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

Could all of that extra weight you are carrying around be stressing your joints? The answer is YES, and in more than one way. You need to be aware of what you are doing and some of the simple causes of joint pain. In today’s world, it is easy to find yourself gaining weight as calorie counts increase in our meals, we eat less fresh food and opt for the convenient and often unhealthy prepackaged foods, and we find ourselves falling into a sedentary lifestyle consisting of TV, Internet, and video games. Not only does that weight play a major factor in stressing our joints, but so does carrying around all of our extra gadgets. Carrying handbags or heavy objects without the weight distributed properly not only can lead to shoulder pain, but also can lead to knee pain and stress on other joints.

Get Fit!

How can I lose weight? Follow the weight loss tips below to help you to get in shape and therefore reduce the amount of weight and stress on your joints:

1) Write down your goals. By writing down your goals, you are more likely to follow through with achieving them. Review your goals often and make sure that you are on track for success. List one or two specific goals such as losing 10 pounds of fat or completing your first triathlon within a year.

2) Plan your workouts. By planning your workouts ahead of time, you are less likely to skip a workout or come up with an excuse to do something else. Put your workouts on paper or in your calendar to make sure that you stay committed. Also, finding a good workout partner can be effective and put you in a position to be held accountable.

3) Keep a workout log. Write down your workout including the number of reps that you perform, the distance or amount of time you jog, the weight that you use, or your total exercise time. This will give you tangible numbers in which you can compare and improve on as you progress. The goal is to make progress, but not at the expense of sloppy form or extra stress on your body.

4) Stay motivated. If you feel that you are hitting a plateau and you see that you are no longer getting the results that you were during your workout, change it up. It is important to change your workout routine often to continue to challenge your body and keep from getting bored. If you stop seeing results or you dread working out, you are not likely to stay motivated.

5) Abs are made in the kitchen. Actually diet and exercise are both important components of becoming fit. However, do not underestimate the power of a healthy, well-balanced diet. It is no secret among trainers and workout guru’s that diet is just as important as exercise. You can workout faithfully each week, if your diet is not under control you will be negating your efforts.

Stop carrying heavy bags!

Now that you have a plan to keep you on track for dieting and exercise, be sure to reduce the weight that you are carrying around in your bag. According to new research by the British Chiropractic Association, 50% of women suffer pain from carrying heavy bags and now men are suffering as well. “Carrying heavy weights is detrimental to the knees just as weight-lifting and doing squats. The excessive pressure on the cartilage during the movement of getting up from a squatting position creates a grinding down-effect bio-mechanically across the articulating surface (i.e. the cartilage), between the tibia femur and the patella which constitutes the knee joint,” says Dr Sanjay Agarwal, Chief of Surgery, Head- Orthopaedics and Traumatology, PD Hinduja National Hospital.

“Extra weight (carried in bags), often poorly distributed across the knees, magnifies the forces across the knee and other joints and is therefore detrimental in the long-term, and can accelerate arthritis,” says Dr. Agarwal. When you carry a heavy bag, it can throw the alignment of your body off. Your head often compensates for the load by leaning in the other direction causing tension in your neck. Your back muscles become affected as the shoulder bearing the load tends to be rotated backwards and raised all of the time. This also affects the muscles in the upper back, the shoulder blades, and those supporting the spine. The arm carrying the bag often remains static and the nerves in the arm often become irritated.

Even wearing high heals often can put strain on your joints. Your knee goes into a forward bent position in order to maintain balance, thus increasing the pressure on your knees. Also, people who have long commutes should get in the habit of regularly stretching in between travel time.

By losing some extra weight, you can significantly reduce the amount of stress on your joints. Be careful that you are not putting undue strain on your joints when exercising by jogging on hard surfaces or wearing improper footwear for example. You should also be cognizant of the weight that you are carrying around in bags and how it is distributed. Carrying a backpack is a better alternative. You are likely to be going about your normal day carrying around objects without even thinking about how the weight is being distributed.

Before starting any exercise routine, talk to your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough for exercise. For more information on joint health and what you can be doing to reduce stress on your joints, contact Dr. Webb and Associates.

Filed in: back pain, chronic pain, fitness | Tags: , ,

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