Ways to Decrease Joint Pain
By Kim Bertonica, RN
Our joints carry the weight of our bodies. The chance of developing arthritis in your joints is strongly associated with your body weight. The more weight your body carries, the harder it is for your joints to work and the more difficult it is for your body to bear the weight. According to an article from Surgery for Obesity and Related Disease (2019), a five year study was completed that showed there was a statistically significant improvement with relief from joint pain, stiffness, and physical function when a 5%-10% excess weight loss was achieved. In addition, there was also a significant improvement in the functioning of joints when completing activities of daily living.
Small weight changes make a big difference because the joint force within the hips, knees, and ankles increases by about three-times your extra body weight with just normal walking. This means 15 pounds of extra body weight puts a 45 pound force on the knees. Don’t believe it? Try a simple test of carrying 15 pounds of weight around while doing your normal daily activities. Studies have shown a weight loss of 10-15 pounds can decrease the risk of developing knee arthritis by up to 50%.
Losing weight may not reverse the damage that has been done to a joint, but research has shown then even moderate weight loss can have a dramatic effect on the relief of joint pain. Exercise is important when you have joint pain and arthritis and there are ways to exercise with joint pain. The key to exercising when you are experiencing joint pain is to find low-impact activities such as biking, swimming, and aerobics. These cardiovascular activities raise your heart rate while not placing increased demands on your joints. Bariatric surgery is a reliable method to lose weight and maintain weight loss, reduce joint pain and stiffness, and improve function in individuals who have osteoarthritis and carry an excess amount of weight.