His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. No, it’s not one of Eminem’s hit songs. It’s you feeling nagging joint pain and unable to get through your day comfortably. From the stay-at-home mom to the CEO of a Fortune 500 to the college student hitting up their intramural tennis practice, most of us will experience joint pain or discomfort at some point in our lives. Stay with us for our top five biohacks for better joint health.
Top 5 Biohacks for Joint Health
1. Supplement With Glucosamine
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Glucosamine is a natural compound found in cartilage — the tough tissue that cushions joints.” If for some reason, you’re dealing with inflammation, breakdown, or loss of cartilage, science widely considers glucosamine as one of the most effective supplements for joints.
Note that you can find multiple kinds of glucosamine in joint supplements, namely glucosamine hydrochloride and glucosamine sulfate. While some research suggests that glucosamine hydrochloride doesn’t do a whole heck of a lot to improve joint pain that’s a result of osteoarthritis, other research says that glucosamine sulfate might be a smart choice.
2. Add Chondroitin to Your Supplementation
Ah, yes — another word you’ve likely heard if you’ve poked around Google looking for help with your joint pain.
Similar to glucosamine, chondroitin is an important building block of cartilage. Indeed, some research suggests that supplementing with chondroitin can help prevent the breakdown of your cartilage and perhaps even encourage the repair of what’s already experienced damage.
For instance, one study found that 53% of the participants who took chondroitin experienced a 20% improvement in knee pain, if not more.
What About Combining Glucosamine and Chondroitin?
These two supplements are often combined into one; but to be very clear, research suggesting that this is effective is still inconclusive and shaky. In fact, Harvard Health Publishing referenced one 2016 study that found that in a pool of 164 patients with knee pain, those who were given a combination of the two actually experienced their symptoms worsening.
Now, this isn’t to say that a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin won’t be the right move for you. However, with any supplement, bear in mind that the effects — positive and negative — aren’t guaranteed, and you should always try them under the guidance of your doctor or another medical professional.
3. Use Electric Muscle Stimulation
Thus far, we’ve covered a couple of ways to improve your overall joint health through supplementation. However, there’s another method we wouldn’t want to dismiss: electric muscle stimulation (EMS).
What is electrical muscle stimulation, exactly? You can accomplish EMS using a device like PowerDot that sends electrical impulses to your muscles. This, in turn, triggers muscle contractions. More specifically, neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) causes both slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers to contract.
You might also see EMS referred to as TENS — transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.
Electric muscle stimulation offers multiple benefits to joint rehab, including improved mobility, faster recovery and reduced pain, injury prevention, improved strength and endurance, and better blood circulation. While you can use it at rest, you can also apply electric muscle stimulation while performing various movements, like squats or push-ups. In this way, PowerDot can directly impact the quality of your movements in a positive way.
In the past, it was more common for elite and pro athletes to be walking about the gym with their TENS unit. However, these days, PowerDot has made electric muscle stimulation more accessible and affordable to athletes of all ages and skill levels. And all stand to benefit from it equally, in ways that are the most advantageous for them.
We’d like to point out that electric muscle stimulation is an excellent addition to healthy and regular physical activity. However, it should not be treated as a replacement for activity, nor should it be used as a bandage for poor form. Electric muscle stimulation will not fix a faulty back squat — something that could leave you in pain and even injured.
Proper form and dedication to strength-building should always be a top priority.
Also worth mentioning is that electric muscle stimulation should never hurt.
4. Cook or Supplement With Turmeric
You’ve probably already heard of turmeric thanks to the vast array of benefits it supposedly offers. These are largely attributed to a chemical compound it contains, called curcumin.
A growing body of research suggests that curcumin can fight inflammation, and inflammation often plays a big role in joint pain. While more research is needed, some science currently believes that curcumin (read: turmeric) can effectively battle joint pain and might even do so better than drugs, but without the negative side effects.
If you’re researching supplements for joints, turmeric might be a good one to try. As always, be sure to closely read labels and do your due diligence in researching the supplement brand itself. This will help you find a higher-quality supplement to take.
5. Incorporate Daily Foam Rolling
Foam rolling might look like a lot of flopping around like a fish, but science agrees that when done properly, it can offer many benefits.
Let’s back up for a minute, though. Much of the discomfort and pain we experience is due to muscle tightness. For many of us, this can be traced back to excessive sitting, but we’ll save that for another blog.
The point is that over time and for a number of reasons, your muscles tighten up. This can lead to all sorts of problems, some of which can make their way to your joints.
Thus, you need a way to loosen and release those tight muscles. That’s where foam rolling comes in. Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release technique — meaning that you’re encouraging fascia to chill out a bit.
Because foam rolling helps to increase your joint range of motion, it can be incredibly beneficial for joint rehab.
We often don’t think of our joints until something goes wrong, but it’s always better to be proactive than reactive. Invest in your joint health today to ensure a healthier and happier tomorrow.
Check out this blog post for all the nitty-gritty on electric muscle stimulation.
Shop PowerDot’s collections today.