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Did you know there are approximately 360 joints in your body? Our joints are an integral part of our body system. A joint is defined as the connection between two bones. Smooth tissues known as cartilage and synovia, together with a lubricant called synovial fluid, help cushion the joints to prevent bones from rubbing against each other.

However, stresses, ageing, injury or improper postures can cause degeneration of your cartilage. This often results in joint pain and stiffness, also known as arthritis or inflammation of the joints.

Lin Ying Ying, Senior Occupational Therapist from the Department of Occupational Therapy at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group, shares some simple adjustments to your daily routine to prevent joint pain.

2. Avoid prolonged static positions

  • Change your posture frequently as holding your joints in a single position for extended periods of time can result in fatigue and pain. Take frequent rest breaks when engaging in activities.

3. Prioritise, organise and use tools to accomplish tasks

  • Develop realistic expectations of what you can accomplish then prioritise those tasks.
  • Plan your workspace for maximum efficiency and avoid repetition during activities.
  • Keep frequently-used items nearby.
  • Use adaptive devices for difficult tasks you often do, for example jar openers to open tight jars.
  • Get long-handled versions of tools such as dustpans and shoehorns to minimise bending.

4. Balance rest and exercise

  • Stop an activity and rest as soon as you notice signs of fatigue and pain.
  • Balance rest with exercise as it is equally important to maintain movement and strength. Consult your Occupational Therapist for an exercise programme that’s right for you.

5. Follow the programme recommended by your doctor or therapist

  • Splints can help to manage joint pain or deformities and provide support to your joints. Follow the splinting programme that your Occupational Therapist has designed for you.
  • Heat and cold compress can help to manage joint pain and stiffness. Use cold compress to decrease swelling and pain when your joints are acutely inflamed and very swollen or painful. Use heat therapy to relieve stiffness and aching in joints that are not acutely inflamed. Consult your Occupational Therapist if you are unsure whether to use heat or cold.

Ref: R14​