Could that joint stiffness be a sign of something more?
While the human body loses lean tissue, cell muscles and bone minerals as it ages, stiff joints may be caused by a combination of more serious health issues like bursitis, tissue disease and bone fractures.
“The most common cause of stiff joints is degenerate arthritis or osteoarthritis,” says Dr. Dennis Levinson, a rheumatologist at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. “The actual cause in a joint is probably a combination of disease or inflammation that affects the bone, the cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and the lining of the joints causing synovium.”
Systemic illnesses can cause arthritis as well as kidney disease, central nervous disease, psychiatric problems and blood problems, Dr. Levinson says.
Taking the right medicine, properly resting joints and exercising might help with arthritis symptoms, according to the National Institute on Aging. Daily exercise such as walking or swimming helps keep joints moving, lessens pain and makes muscles around the joints stronger.
Exercise can also help those with arthritis. A few which can be helpful include:
- Range-of-motion exercises like dancing, might relieve stiffness, keeps you flexible and helps joint movement
- Strengthening exercises such as weight training, keeps or adds muscle strength
- Aerobic or endurance exercises like bicycle riding make your heart and arteries healthier, helps prevent weight gain and also may lessen swelling in some joints
While stiff joints cannot be prevented, pain relief and improved flexibility are possible.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.