Health: A few simple ways to keep joint pain at bay

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Research suggests many Brits are ‘soldering on’ with muscle, bone and joint pain – but there’s lots we can do to prevent musculoskeletal issues developing.


Aches and pains, particularly when it comes to muscles and joints, aren’t always a sign of something sinister.

But these common complaints can develop into heftier problems, especially if left untreated.

A whopping 31 million work days are lost every year in Britain as a result of such musculoskeletal issues, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), with it being the number one cause of workplace absence.

Despite this, nearly one-third (30 per cent) of Brits do not see these conditions as a serious problem.

In fact, a recent survey by Bupa found that we’re all being a bit blasé when it comes to our everyday muscle, joint and bone aches, with many people resigned to “soldiering on in silence”.

Women in particular, were less likely to seek help from their GP about muscle, bone or joint pain, with more than a quarter (28 per cent) saying they would wait a month or more to see a doctor about these conditions, compared to 18 per cent of men.

Katherine Cran, physiotherapist at Bupa, says musculoskeletal issues are frequently the result of bad posture and a lack of movement – often due to people working in desk-bound jobs, but also from sitting anywhere for too long.

The physiotherapist says: “It’s worrying that so many people are affected by muscle, bone and joint pain.

“While most pain can be managed through rest and light exercise, if the pain is severe, you’re worried or if you are also suffering from other symptoms, always seek medical advice.”

“We could all benefit from a few simple actions to help 
keep joints supple and pain at bay.”

Katherine suggests incorporating these activities into your day:

In the morning and afternoon, reach your arms across your body to stretch out your shoulders and to keep your shoulder blades moving – this will help your posture.

Help keep your joints mobile and prevent stiffness by doing some simple exercises and stretches throughout the day such as gently rotating your ankles, lifting your knees and extending your legs.

Avoid sitting for too long – try a mixture of standing and sitting throughout the day, such as standing while taking phone calls, or by suggesting standing or walking meetings to your colleagues.

Try to increase the amount of physical activity you do during the day, whether it’s during your commute and walking a little bit further to work, walking around the block at lunchtime or using the stairs, rather than the lift.