Orthopedic care is intended for people experiencing health concerns caused by problems with the musculoskeletal system. For example, back or joint pain typically stems from complications in this area. Issues with the musculoskeletal system include:
- Joint pain – such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout
- Bone deterioration – such as osteoporosis, osteopenia, fractures
- Muscle pain and decline – such as sarcopenia
- Spine, back, and neck pain or stiffness
- Chronic inflammation
- Body system dysfunction or disorders
If you or your loved one is recovering from orthopedic surgery, or may be looking for ways to help manage back or joint pain, there are some helpful practices and methods to employ to help alleviate pain and stiffness.
Symptoms of Orthopedic Conditions
Since orthopedic health problems span such a wide spectrum, symptoms will vary depending on the source and nature of the affliction. Some symptoms to be aware of include:
- Joint pain or swelling
- Joint deformity or peculiar appearance
- Chronic fatigue
- Limited range of motion
- Stiffness and inflexibility
- Muscle weakness
- Numb or tingling sensations
- Redness or feelings or warmth on the skin
- Pain may be dull or acute
These symptoms may be sporadic or part of everyday life. It is critical to begin treating and managing these issues as soon as possible to help maintain independence and mobility.
Risk Factors for Orthopedic Conditions
There are general risk factors that may make people more vulnerable to developing orthopedic problems, such as:
- Weight – obesity puts added pressure on bones and joints
- History of physical injury
- Years of intense physical activity
- Improper exercise techniques
- Existing health conditions
- Unhealthy habits – smoking, excess alcohol consumption, poor diet
- Profession involving repetitive tasks
- Sedentary lifestyle
Causes of Orthopedic Conditions
While age and lifestyle certainly play a role in the development of orthopedic concerns, it is often acute or chronic trauma that is the source of these musculoskeletal problems. A serious joint or bone injury is a good example of acute trauma. Repetitive motions or forces placed on a joint over time is an example of chronic trauma.
Degenerative changes to the body with age are also a very common source of orthopedic health issues. It is important to take an active approach to combat this deterioration.
Orthopedic Care Practices
Establishing a regular care routine is a great way for seniors dealing with orthopedic issues to help systematically manage health conditions to develop consistency. Orthopedic problems tend to worsen with age and can be a serious detriment to carrying out daily activities.
However, seniors with orthopedic complications can still lead an active lifestyle, and the following strategies can help achieve this. Suggested practices include:
- Maintain a nutritious and well-balanced diet
- Get regular exercise
- Home safety
- Ensure medications are taken properly
- Take helpful supplements
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is always a key recommendation when it comes to taking preventative measures to protect your health. It is also suggested for those recovering from injury or illness. I’m sure it comes as no surprise then, that a nutritious diet is urged for those with orthopedic problems.
Diet becomes even more important for seniors with orthopedic health concerns. Lots of vegetables, fruit, grains, and protein are the major groups to focus on. Foods rich in vitamin D and calcium are also recommended for orthopedic patients.
Try to avoid processed foods high in fat or sugar which offer little nutritional value and can actually aggravate existing health problems, contribute to inflammation, and lead to other health concerns.
Consistent physical activity is also a crucial aspect of orthopedic care. Without regular exercise, affected joints can tighten up, causing stiffness that can make movement painful and laborious.
Low impact activities like Tai Chi and yoga are excellent for the joints, while at the same time increasing muscle and bone strength.
The home is filled with potential hazards, that can increase the risk of falls and other injuries. Searching the house for possible risk factors, and eliminating them, is the first step towards making the home a safe environment. Things to look out for include:
- Loose rugs and railings
- Slippery stairs
- Inadequate lighting
- Awkwardly placed cords
- Poorly organized space
Clearing the house of any loose rugs, and tightening up loose railings or grab bars, are good practices for fall prevention. Also, keeping the house well lit and free of clutter can make getting around easier. Make sure there are spacious walking paths, free of any cords or trip hazards.
Constructing a daily schedule of what time medications need to be taken, and how they should be administered, is a good way to ensure medications are being taken effectively.
Seniors, especially those with orthopedic issues, will likely have an assortment of medications that need to be taken daily. Improper timing and administration of medications can lead to further health issues, as well as the medications being rendered ineffective.
Calcium and vitamin D supplements can help improve bone strength in seniors with orthopedic problems.