As we grow older, orthopedic issues, like joint pain, osteoporosis, arthritis, fracture, bone health deterioration develops like any other disease seen in elderly population. One may develop bone and joint issues that can worsen and might restrict movement and daily activities if ignored and not treated and taken care at the right time. Diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis, and osteoarthritis are clearly the most commonly faced problem among elderly population these days.
Ortho Problems In Senior Citizens:
In this regard, Dr. Himanshu Gupta, who is an MS. MCh Orth Specialized in Joint Replacement, Arthroscopy, and Sports Injury from AmiCare Hospital said, “Osteoporosis arises when bone mineral density and mass decrease or when bone structure and strength change. This can lead to a decline in bone strength, increasing the risk of fractures. In some cases, osteoporosis can destroy knee cartilage, necessitating the need of knee replacement surgery whereas arthritis is defined by biomechanical changes within a joint. If we talk about osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, it is characterized by the breakdown of tendons and ligaments as well as the deterioration of cartilage, resulting in joint stiffness, swelling, and deformity that necessitates medical attention and surgery.”
Dr. Himanshu Gupta also shared the main cause of these ailments.
He said, “The main cause of these ailments is lack of essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals that help in bone development and density maintenance. But as we age, our bodies require more protein, calcium, and vitamins like B12, D, and C. In addition to such checks, seniors are usually advised to consult an orthopaedic specialist on a regular basis to prevent ortho challenges.”
Diet To Prevent Ortho Problems In Senior Citizens
Sweedal Trinidade, who is the Chief Dietician, at P. D. Hinduja Hospital & Medical Research Centre, Mahim said, “It takes years of exercise, well balanced diet that prevents deficiencies to maintain strong bone health preventing ortho problems.”
She then went on to list down the factors affecting bone health:
1) Fad diets, food preferences, allergies, aversions to certain foods or poor eating habits are major causes of deficiencies like iron, calcium, Vitamin D3, B12 and proteins.
2) Also lack of sleep, stress, exposure to pollutants and processed foods consumption are major factors that contribute to pain, inflammation in body leading to lifestyle disorders and weight gain. Excess body weight further puts pressure on weight bearing joints leading to joint pain.
3) Age factor: In the younger age it is easier to make up for the deficiencies or have optimal body functions with macro and micro nutrient deficiencies.
Hence it is not only important to have healthy eating habits right from young age but also reinforce a discipline in lifestyle management.
Additionally, she also went on to suggest the necessary nutrients requirent to maintain bone health:
- Calcium requirement: Calcium estimated average requirements for an adult male is 800mg/d and Female is 1000mg/d. Include adequate dietary calcium by incorporating milk and milk products to reduce the risk of osteoporosis in later life.Best sources of calcium: Milk and milk products, ragi, soya, soya products, nuts
- Vitamin D: For calcium absorption Vitamin D3is needed Apart from sunshine, fish, nuts and seeds are good sources of vitamin D.
- Protein: On an average 0.8g to 1g/kg body weight is the protein requirement for proteins per day.
- Rich sources of protein: Sprouts, pulses, milk and milk products, meat, fish, chicken.
- Antioxidants: Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, turmeric, garlic are some of the examples of anti-inflammatory foods that reduce inflammation and improve bone health. Green tea is rich in polyphenols, antioxidants (epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) believed to reduce inflammation and slow cartilage destruction. Studies have shown that garlic may enhance the function of certain immune cells to help strengthen the immune system
Talking about the dietary guideline in arthritis, she said:
- Sugar and immunity: Sugar increase growth of bad bacteria in gut, hampers digestion, immunity and increases inflammation contributing to arthritic flares. Refined carbohydrates, such as maida and maida products stimulate inflammation in the body, thereby accelerating the process of Ageing.
- Fried foods: Ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 is very important in reducing inflammation- restrict over consumption of fried foods as they have pro inflammatory effect. Include omega-3 fatty rich foods in your diet, like oily fish, oilseeds, canola oil, walnuts , pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, or foods that are fortified with omega-3s
- Vitamin C and Inflammation: It is common belief that citrus fruits causes acidity and increase pain in arthritis however, citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C have shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits in many cases.
- Exercise: Stay active, Keep your weight in check to reduce pressure on weight bearing joints.
- Avoid pro-inflammatory foods, processed foods and alcohol: Bedside headache post alcohol consumption and hangover symptoms can also include sore muscles and joint pain. No matter how many studies support consumption of alcohol, the side effects can never be ignored in advanced age!!!
The Incredible Power Of Yoga For Ortho Problems In Senior Citizens:
Yoga is the most popular form of exercise in India and is steadily growing in popularity across the world. There are many different types of Yoga, and each asana comes with its own list of health benefits. Senior citizens (or anyone at all) with orthopaedic issues must first understand their body’s limitations through consultations with an orthopedic doctor. Your doctor will identify and brief you about your specific condition, before recommending which asanas are safe to practice.
In this regard, Dr Syed Imran, who is an MBBS, D ortho, DNB orthopedic surgery, and has fellowship in Joint Replacement, Fellowship in Revision Joint Replacement (Germany ), is a Consultant Orthopaedic, Arthroscopy and Joint Replacement Surgeon said, “Yoga is a wonderful form of exercise and rehabilitation for the body and mind. It is safe for all to practice unless you have a specific injury or orthopedic problem that causes you a lot of pain or discomfort.”
“Yoga instructors will always ask you about any conditions you might have before starting sessions. If you attempt yoga without informing your instructor about your existing conditions, you can do more damage than good to your body. And to know about your existing conditions and body’s limitations, you need to inform them about your diagnosis from your ortho.”
There are, however, some Yoga poses that are relatively safe and risk-free, even for those with back, knee, and other joint and ortho problems.
Here are some asanas that he suggested to practice under the guidance of an expert:
1. Spine Twisting:
- Lay flat on your back, and slowly bring your knees to your chest. Wrap your arms around your legs – like you’re hugging your legs, and take a few deep breaths.
- Next, extend your arms in a T shape, placing your palm flat on the ground, or on your bed. Gently shift the weight of your legs to your left and bend your knees towards your left elbow while looking to the right.
- Maintain the stretch while holding the stance for at least 5 seconds.
- After that, slowly return your knees to the middle, and then repeat the exercise on your right side while lowering your knees to the right. Look towards your left while maintaining this stretch. Repeat these exercises three to five times on each side.
2. The Cat-Cow Pose (on knees):
- For this exercise, you will need to get down on all fours, placing your hands on your yoga mat directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips.
- Once you are comfortable in this stance, take a deep breath and then exhale as you bend your head down until your chin touches your chest. Gently push your back and spine upwards towards the ceiling, making it into an upward C-shape. This is called the cat pose.
- Next, while inhaling your breath, you will bend into the “cow pose”.
- As you inhale, slowly lift your head up and look straight ahead of you, while gently arching your spine and stomach downwards, towards the floor. Maintain this stretch for a few seconds while breathing deeply.
- Repeat this exercise about 5 to 10 times, making sure to inhale while moving your head upwards, and exhale while moving your head downwards.
- For those of you who are unable to put weight on your knees, don’t worry, there is a standing version of this exercise you can do with the help of a chair!
The Cat-Cow Pose (standing, with chair support):
- Instead of getting down on your hands and knees, stand up and place a chair infront of you.
- Bend forward, keeping your knees straight, and rest your hands on the seat of the chair.
- In this bent-over standing position, as mentioned above, take a deep breath and then exhale as you bend your head down until your chin touches your chest.
- Gently push your back and spine upwards towards the ceiling, making it into an upward C-shape.
- Then, as you inhale, slowly lift your head up and look straight ahead of you, while gently arching your spine and stomach downwards, towards the floor.
- Maintain this stretch for a few seconds while breathing deeply.
- Repeat this exercise about 5 to 10 times
4. Pelvic Tilt:
This seemingly simple move is actually an extremely effective exercise for those with back muscle and spinal issues.
- Lie down flat on your back, with your feet on the floor, and your knees bent upwards.
- Our back has a natural arch that tends to leave a gap between your spine and the surface below it while lying down.
- We need to close this gap for 10-second intervals by following the below instructions.
- Once you feel comfortable, take a deep breath, and suck your tummy in, pulling your belly button inwards towards your spine. Then, push your spine towards the floor, making sure there is no gap between your back and the floor.
- The objective is to engage your abdominal muscles in order to flatten your back downward against the hard, flat surface of the floor.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds while looking up and the ceiling and breathing deeply.
- Now relax and release your muscles, while still maintaining deep breathing.
- Repeat this exercise 5 to 10 times as per your comfort level.
[Disclaimer: The information provided in the article, including treatment suggestions shared by doctors, is intended for general informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.]
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