Painful and rigid joints: causes and solutions

Joints in our body connect bones and thus provide support and ensure the mobility of our body. Bones, muscles and joints with connective tissues enable us to carry out everyday activities without major concerns. They represent the largest part of our body (we have over 200 bones and 100 joints) which performs the function of movement..

Cartilage, which absorbs impacts, relieves strains, retains joint fluid and ensures the unhindered movement of the joints. A healthy cartilage has a smooth sliding surface that enables the fluid movement of joints. Collagen, which decreases in our body with age, is its important building block. This also impacts the process of cartilage tissue regeneration, which slows down and becomes less efficient with time. Consequences may manifest in difficult movement and pain when performing everyday chores, and may even occur when resting.
 

The most common causes of joint pain

Painful and rigid joints: causes and solutions

Joint pain is most often the consequence of ageing. The source of pain is most frequently related to overall health. However, joint health is not an issue of just the elderly any more. Healthy joints are an important factor for all ages, even for younger generations. Younger generations may feel joint pain in case of injuries when practicing sport or wear due to intense exercising.

Today, we are aware that for the general well-being in later years it is important what we do when we are still young and active.
 

1. (Osteo)arthritis and an astonishing statistics

Arthritis is the most common cause of joint pain. Arthritis is joint inflammation that may result in joint pain or deformation and can occur due to cartilage wear.
Symptoms usually develop gradually. Cartilage wear is a natural process, since with ageing cartilage breaks down more quickly and has less potential for regeneration. Pain can occur faster and suddenly. This happens in case of joint infection or damage. Chronic, constant joint pain is called osteoarthritis.

20% of adults show signs of arthritis. Osteoarthritis statistics show that signs may appear even earlier. The following groups suffer from osteoarthritis:
  • 30% of people aged between 44 and 54
  • 50% of people aged over 65
  • 80% of people aged over 75

Signs:

joint swelling, stiffness and pain, reduced joint movement, redness

Where is pain felt:

in large joints, such as hips and knees

Most frequently affects:

  • people over 65
  • women and overweight individuals

2. Injury

Joint pain may also be the consequence of a past injury. In case of injuries, the natural process of cartilage breakdown accelerates, consequently joint wear, stiffness and pain may occur earlier than it normally does. Moreover, active training sessions, such as CrossFit or other exercises that burden joints, may also accelerate cartilage wear.

Signs:

joint swelling, stiffness and pain, reduced joint movement, redness

Where is pain felt:

at the site of injury

Most frequently affects:

  • active people who perform intense everyday exercises
  • professional athletes

Painful and rigid joints: causes and solutions

3. Gout

Gout is the consequence of metabolic disorder caused by uric acid. It occurs due to the accumulation of uric acid crystals in joints and other tissues. The accumulation of crystals causes inflammation with intense localised pain. Gout was considered a disease of abundance and had spread to all segments of the population with changing eating habits..

Signs:

pain, swelling, redness

Where is pain felt:

big toe joints on feet, even knees, elbows and fingers

Most frequently affects:

  • men over 40

4. Infectious and autoimmune diseases

Joint pain may also be the consequence of various health conditions. Joint pain is frequent in some infectious diseases, such as gonorrhea, Lyme disease, mumps, chickenpox, hepatitis and similar diseases. Lupus is worth highlighting among autoimmune diseases, where joint pain is one of the first signs of the disease occurring.
 

5. Insufficient movement

Too much or too little exercise – both can be a problem. Joint pain may also be the result of insufficient movement, of sitting for long hours on a daily basis and of repeated movements through several years. In addition to this, the lack of movement impairs muscles near joints which increase mobility.

Signs:

rigidity and reduced mobility

Where is pain felt:

in various joints

Most frequently affects:

  • inactive individuals that often sit for a prolonged period of time

Painful and rigid joints: causes and solutions

Collagen breaking down extends the regeneration of cartilage tissue.

Solutions: what can we ourselves do in case of joint pain?

Good news is that often we can eliminate joint pain ourselves. Usually, pain is the result of our life style, this is why it is sometimes enough to make small changes which need to be maintained.


1. Maintaining body weight

The first and most basic rule is: a varied diet and more everyday exercise. This is probably not the first time that you have heard this. We are repeating this piece of advice because most issues truly begin and end with our laziness, lack of time or some other excuse that we make in order to avoid doing something so simple and healthy for ourselves.

Overweight persons fall among those individuals who most often suffer from joint pain, particularly in knees, hips and ankles. These joints bear most of our body weight and thus wear more quickly, particularly in overweight people.

Body weight can be regulated with a suitable and regular diet and a lot of movement. A regular and varied diet will make sure that our body gets used to times when it processes food. In this way we are able to most efficiently avoid our craving for chocolate and unhealthy snacks.

What can you do starting today?

Weigh yourselves, calculate your body mass index (BMI) and find out which group you belong to. One of the BMI calculators is available on the website Association of Diabetic Societies of Slovenia.

2. Regular exercise


Exercising accelerates blood circulation, our digestion, ensures our well-being and burns excess calories. And on top of that it also eliminates pain. Due to joint pain, we often avoid activities that cause such pain, e.g. various sport activities, which further negatively impact our health. As wear progresses, occasional or constant pain may also occur during resting, which may hinder our daily activities. When not moving, joints become immobile, and joint ligaments become weaker. By regularly exercising we thus maintain joint capability and mobility. And we also strengthen muscles which support joint function and which give us stability.

The most recommended form of exercising for joints is walking and swimming. Exercises available on-line may also help you in regularly exercising. There are numerous free exercise programmes on-line, which can be an excellent starting point. However, be sure to control the intensity of your training sessions and to choose exercises that are not too strenuous for you.

What can you do starting today?

Take some time for a 30-minute walk today, during which you can move a bit your rigid joints

Painful and rigid joints: causes and solutions

3. Targeted exercises for joints and physiotherapy

In case of injury it is necessary to first appropriately rest, then perform targeted exercises for the joint that was damaged or is subject to pain. When pain is the consequence of injury, it is especially recommended to consult your physiotherapist before performing any of the targeted exercises. You physiotherapist will tailor the exercise to your condition, since he/she will be able to assess what is appropriate and what not.

When wanting to regenerate as soon as possible it often happens that we want to quickly get back in shape and therefore choose exercises that are too intense. While others are afraid to burden their joints in areas where they felt pain in the past. Have a discussion with your physiotherapist about your fears and expectations. Based on these discussions, your physiotherapist will also determine the quantity and frequency of the exercises.

What can you do starting today?

Call your physiotherapist located near your home or on your way to work and schedule an appointment.

4. Hot and cold packs

Both temperature extremes, hot as well as cold, help resolving joint issues.

A rigid, inflamed and swollen joint may be cooled with an ice pack. Press a cold pack against the joint for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day. Cooling helps reducing inflammation and swelling and facilitates joint movement. Cooling alleviates pain as well.

Warmness also has a therapeutic effect on joints and muscles. You may use a heat pad or prepare a hot bath in order to relax muscles and increase blood circulation.

What can you do starting today?

  • swollen, sore knee: prepare a cold pack
  • cramped muscles and stiff joints: make yourselves a hot bath before going to bed

Painful and rigid joints: causes and solutions

5. Diet and food supplements

We have already mentioned in the first recommendation that a varied diet is key to success. We recommend food rich with antioxidants, since they decrease inflammation.

We recommend:

  • vegetables
  • fruit
  • herbs
  • fish
  • nuts

Painful and rigid joints: causes and solutions

Avoid:

  • fried food
  • food high in sugar
  • processed food
  • larger quantities of dairy products
  • larger quantities of meat


The key is always in moderation. The fact is that we are looking for increasingly more natural and sustainable constituents in our functional foods and supplements. We also have to pay attention to the confirmed efficiency of active constituents that we consume; therefore choose only verified and trust-worthy manufacturers whose products’ efficiency is supported by clinical studies.

COLLAGEN


Collagen as structural protein also forms cartilage, bones and tendons – therefore our joints. With age, the quantity of collagen in joints reduces, consequently joints wear out. Frequent injuries, high or continuous joint stress (e.g. when practicing sports, at the workplace, in overweight individuals) or certain arthritic diseases may also significantly contribute to faster joint wear. Without collagen, joints lose mobility. This is why after the age of 20 or in case of one of the above factors, it is reasonable to take preventive action by regularly taking hydrolised collagen. Fortigel® hydrolised collagen is collagen that was broken down to smaller peptides in the size of 2-4 kDa. These particles partially decompose and absorb in the intestine. In this way, they stimulate the formation of new collagen. Taking collagen is particularly recommended for active individuals who excessively and frequently burden their knees, elbows, ankles or other joints.

Our immune system, which attacks own cartilage tissue constituents (such as collagen) due to its excessive reactivity, may also contribute to joint inflammation. This results in discomfort and poor joint mobility, which increase with time. In case of progressing joint issues, when discomfort already occurs, during physical activity or when resting, we recommend taking type II native collagen. This collagen has a preserved 3D structure and its composition is identical to collagen found in joints. Native collagen has a different action mechanism than hydrolised collagen, this is why less of it needs to be taken in order to achieve the desired effect. Clinical studies have proven the efficiency of b-2cool native collagen already when taking a daily dose of 40 mg.
 

TUMERIC

Tumeric is not only a popular spice, characteristic of Asian cuisine, but also a medical plant that has been used for centuries in folk medicine. Its rich yellow root contains strong antioxidants – curcuminoids, the main active substances of curcuma, which however have very poor absorption properties. Curcuminoids from classic alcohol root extracts have very poor absorption properties (< 0.02%), for this reason larger quantities of extract need to be consumed in order to achieve appropriate effects.

It is therefore important that the food supplement contains curcuma extracts with high bioavailability, such as CAVACURMIN® which is obtained according to a special procedure that enables a 40-times higher bioavailability of curcuminoids. With a 200 mg daily dose of extract we can therefore achieve similar effects as if 6-times more classic, highly concentrated extract was consumed.
 

VITAMINS and MINERALS


Among the family of vitamins and minerals it is worth mentioning silicon, vitamin D, vitamin C and calcium. Silicon is important for the normal joint function. It is the third most frequent element in traces in the human body (immediately after zinc and iron), and it contributes to binding collagen fibres and maintaining their firmness and elasticity in joints. It is also very important for correct bone mineralisation. Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones and muscle function and to normal calcium and phosphorus absorption. Vitamin C contributes to the production of collagen for normal function of cartilage and bones. A sufficient calcium intake is also important for joint function. Calcium affects the development, structure and firmness of bones and muscle function

 

HYALURONIC ACID


Hyaluronic acid is, in addition to collagen, one of the key building blocks of joint cartilage in the human body. Due to its capacity to bind larger quantities of water, it acts as some sort of lubricant for joints to better slide, and contributes to cushioning impacts to joints during stress and movement. Hyaluronic acid, which has a broad spectrum of action, is especially beneficial, since it mimics the spectrum of naturally present hyaluronic acid in the body and enables a more comprehensive and efficient action.

What can you do starting today?

Check the composition of food supplements available in our on-line shop, and which can help you meet your daily intake of recommended nutrients and active ingredients.

Check food supplements for joints

6. Prescription medicines and visit to the doctor

If you need acute treatment, then visiting a doctor is necessary before taking any further step. In treating you, your doctor will provide an accurate diagnosis and when planning your treatment he/she will consider the duration and activity of the disease or injury. The doctor will also take into consideration the life style, gender and other circumstances of the patient. He/she will frequently prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, and in extraordinary cases even targeted drugs. Surgeries are not excluded. It is however important to trust your personal physician of choice in his/her decision. Your obligation is to responsible approach treatment and regularly inform your doctor about any changes.

What can you do starting today?

Call or write your personal physician and schedule an appointment.

When to see a doctor?

Seek medical assistance if pain is intense, if your joint suddenly inflames or deforms or if you are not able to use your joint at all any more. Call your doctor if you notice any of the symptoms below:

  • severe pain
  • fast swelling
  • joint deformation
  • inability to move joints
  • intense redness and hot to the touch


Painful and rigid joints: causes and solutions

Joint discomfort intensity

Not all forms of discomfort in joints are the same. Some occur rarely, usually during sport activities. And they may not disappear even when resting. Which food supplement from the Collagen flex line is recommended therefore depends on the intensity and duration of discomfort.

Painful and rigid joints: causes and solutions

Collagen flex for your joints

Collagen flex is a line of food supplements with collagen and support active substances, such as important vitamins and minerals. Choose Collagen flex products by Medex because:

  • their action is based on patented ingredients supported by clinical studies
  • they contain added support vitamins and/or minerals for the normal function of cartilage and bones

The Collagen flex line is recommended to
  • All those who need support action for joint cartilage and bones
  • Adults dealing with worn cartilage, joint pain and back pain in cases of mild osteoarthritis
  • All those who are experiencing joint pain in joints during and after physical activities (athletes)
  • For people with worn joints due to obesity

Discover individual products and read which can help your joints.

Kolagenflex for joints
Basic formula for regenerating joint cartilage of people with mild and occasional problems
  • instant beverage in sachets
  • neutral flavour
  • hydrolised Fortigel® / 10 g
  • vitamin C / 15 mg
Recommended to:
  • physically active people
  • athletes
  • elderly people for maintaining flexible joints
  • overweight individuals who are worried about their joints



Try Collagen flex

Kolagen flex + for joints
Advanced formula with double action for people with signs of cartilage wear and frequent joint issues
  • instant beverage in can
  • with orange flavour
  • hydrolised Fortigel® / 5 g
  • native type II b-2cool® / 40 mg
  • hyaluronic acid / 30 mg
  • silicon / 40 mg
  • vitamin E / 18 mg
  • vitamin C / 100 mg
Recommended to:
  • physically active people
  • athletes for reducing pain during exercise
  • elderly people for maintaining flexible joints
  • overweight people

Try Collagen flex +

Collagen flex curcumin
Anti-inflammatory formula for people with joint pain as a consequence of an arthritic condition or general joint wear
  • capsules
  • native type II b-2cool® / 40 mg
  • hyaluronic acid / 50 mg
  • curcuma extract
  • CAVACURMIN®/ 200 mg
  • silicon / 40 mg
  • vitamin D / 10 µg
  • vitamin C / 80 mg
Recommended to:
  • alleviate joint inflammation and pain in individuals with an arthritic condition as a supplementary or replacement analgesic therapy


Painful and rigid joints: causes and solutions
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