People are being brought to their knees by a tsunami of joint problems, and this epidemic of pain is set to get worse because so many people are failing to future-proof musculoskeletal health. That’s according to a new report – Be Prepared to Future-Proof Your Joint Health – commissioned by Deep Relief – the topical pain relief specialists and makers of a Deep Relief Actiflex Patch, a new drug-free patch to cool and soothe.
The findings come hot on the heels of predictions from a health think-tank that England alone will need 40,000 more hospital beds to care for ageing baby boomers. The health policy experts advise we must find ways to strengthen community care and relieve pressure on hospital beds.
Commenting on the issues of joint health and the need to future proof our musculoskeletal health, GP, Dr Gill Jenkins and an advisor to the topical pain specialists, Deep Relief says: “Healthy joints are essential for a healthy life, and while some deterioration is inevitable as we get older, there is a lot we can do to protect our joints and minimise issues as we get older. Stiffness and muscle and joint pain are often one of the first signs of age-related decline that we notice, and musculoskeletal problems make up a huge part of the growing health burden associated with an ageing population.”
The real-world research commissioned by Deep Relief and detailed in the ‘Be Prepared to Future-Proof Your Joint Health Report’ – shows that 78% of those questioned wished they had done more to future-proof their muscles and joints. But almost half – 42% – admitted they did not know where to start to look after their joints.
Dr Gill Jenkins adds: “Musculoskeletal health is being undermined by multiple challenges including obesity, sedentary lifestyles, poor diet, and systemic inflammation. But knowing what is driving these problems also provides a blueprint for protecting joint health.”
Dr Gill Jenkins says: “It is never too late to improve the health of your joints and muscles, and it’s never too soon to start. Taking steps to reduce weight and inflammation, and improve activity levels and posture will not only help to protect and future-proof your joints, they will also lead to noticeable improvements in health and wellbeing across the board. It can be a struggle to stay active when you have an injury or experience chronic pain from arthritis and other joint problems. Effective pain relief is vital for maintaining mobility.” The Deep Relief portfolio of pain-relieving products provide fast-acting and long-lasting analgesia. Deep Relief Joint Pain Gel and Deep Relief Anti-Inflammatory Gel contain two active ingredients with a triple action:
- Levomenthol acts on the nerve endings in the skin, giving a soothing, cooling effect, while its counter-irritant activity stimulates the nerves that perceive cold and depresses those that perceive pain.
- Ibuprofen penetrates the skin to help relieve mild to moderate pain and inflammation, by blocking the production of prostaglandins via inhibition of the cyclooxygenase (COX) pathway.
Both are formulated in an aqueous gel, which adds to the soothing and cooling effect when applied to the affected area.
Deep Relief Actiflex Patch is a non-medicated complementary therapy which provides soothing pain relief for up to 12 hours. The fast-acting patches can be worn under clothing and are ideal for shoulders, hips, backs, elbows, knees, wrists, and ankles.
TOP TIPS TO BE PREPARED TO FUTURE-PROOF YOUR JOINTS FROM PERSONAL TRAINER, CHRIS RUXTON FROM DEEP RELIEF:
1. Be weight wise: Manage your weight, aiming to have a waist circumference that’s ideally less than half of your height. Small sustainable changes are better than a rapid weight loss that won’t be maintained.
2. Beat inflammation: Eat a diet that’s full of anti-inflammatory foods – including 5-a-day colourful fruit and vegetables, a weekly serving of oily fish, nuts and seeds, and healthy cooking oils like olive oil – and keep keeping sugary, high-calorie snacks to a minimum.
3. Perfect your posture: Whenever you work at a screen, remember to practice good posture, and ensure your desk and chair are at the right height. Take frequent breaks to walk about and stretch.
4. Don’t ignore joint discomfort: Early intervention can help prevent pain and discomfort getting worse. Try a topical gel, like Deep Relief Anti-inflammatory Gel and Deep Relief Joint Pain Gel which incorporates two pain killers with a triple action. There is also the new drug-free Deep Relief Actiflex Patch which provides cooling and soothing relief for up to 12 hours and can be conveniently worn under clothing or while sleeping.
5. Get into the move: Whatever exercise tickles your fancy, make sure it’s regular with a decent warm-up and cool down. To keep joints mobile, stretch in the mornings and after prolonged desk work or driving.
Top-10 joint challenges
Deep Relief’s Be Prepared to Future-Proof Your Joint Health report highlights the top-10 of factors which undermine the health and strength of our joints and muscles:
- Age: Failing to manage joint health in your 20s, 30s and 40s increases the risk of pain problems in older age. A third of survey respondents think this decline begins in our forties, but a quarter believe it starts in our thirties. It becomes so prevalent that almost a quarter (26%) of over-60s have experienced muscle strain or pain.
- Biological sex: Women are more likely to report poor joint health, particularly around menopause: 68% of those surveyed suffered from aches, 54% experienced stiffness and 27% had problems with pain. But men are at higher risk of gout, an arthritic driven by inflammation.
- Occupation: Jobs which involve repetitive knee bending and squatting are associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. Long hours at a desk lead to more generalised aches and pains
- Bodyweight: Extra weight at any age increases the risk of joint problems because it stresses weight-bearing joints and accelerates wear-and-tear. Fat tissue also releases pro-inflammatory compounds. Two-thirds (63%) of people in the UK are overweight or obese and 43% of survey participants confirmed they worried about their weight.
- Smoking: Tobacco impairs delivery of oxygen rich blood to the joints, muscles, and bones. This escalates degeneration, particularly in spinal discs which have a limited blood supply. As a result, smokers are nearly three times more likely to suffer lower back pain than non-smokers.
- Sleep: Two-thirds of those who took part in the Deep Relief study said sleep problems make joint pain worse.
- Metabolic health: Joint problems are common in people with metabolic health issues such as diabetes and high blood sugar. Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid which form crytals in joints. There has been a 29.6% rise in gout between 1997 and 2012, with prevalence highest in the North-east of England and Wales.
- Diet: Processed foods which are high in sugar and fat increase inflammatory markers in the blood. Heavy alcohol consumption also drives inflammation. An anti-inflammatory diet based on vegetables, fruits, beans, pulses, and oily fish can help to damp down inflammation.
- Joint injuries and repeated stress: Previous joint injuries, even those which occurred many years ago and have seemingly healed, increase the risk of osteoarthritis. Keeping injured joints as mobile as possible is vital. A job or sport which involves repetitive stress on a joint can also lead to osteoarthritis.
- Physical activity: Exercise is essential for joint health, with walking and swimming both particularly useful if pain is already a problem. Sitting for hours damages posture and discs in the back as well as shortening the hip flexors. Of concern is data from the Deep Relief showing that six in 10 people don’t make a habit of getting up to stretch at regular intervals. Fewer than half (44%) of survey respondents exercises regularly.