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JOINT HEALTH tool
  • neck

    Sit comfortably in a chair. Inhale and bend your head forward so that your chin touches your chest. While exhaling, allow the muscles in the neck to relax and hold for 5 seconds, then bring your head up.

    Next, while inhaling, tilt your right ear to your right shoulder. While exhaling, feel the stretch of the muscles on the left side of the neck. Inhale and bring your head back to neutral position. Repeat on the left side.

    Suggestions from Andre Panagos, MD

    Medication recommendations

    Acute neck pain often calls for prescription medication. Opioid analgesics are sometimes used briefly. Muscle relaxants, tramadol (Ultram) or tricyclic antidepressant medications may also be prescribed.

    Suggestions from MayoClinic.com

  • shoulders

    Anterior Shoulder + Chest Stretch
    With your back straight, place the palms of your hands onto your lower back. Try to bring your elbows together behind your back. Hold for 10-30 seconds

    Shoulder Circles
    While inhaling, bring shoulders forward in front of your chest, then continue raising them toward the ears. While exhaling, bring your shoulders back,trying to pinch your shoulder blades together, and continue exhaling as your shoulders make their way down to complete a full circle.

    Suggestions from Andre Panagos, MD

    Medication recommendations

    The most common medications for arthritis in the shoulders are anti-inflammatories such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, which stop the body from producing chemicals that cause joint swelling and pain. You may also need a prescription drug such as Celebrex.

    Suggestions from the American
    Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

  • hips

    Static Back
    Lie on your back with a chair supporting your lower legs. Place your knees at 90 degrees and your arms outstretched with palms facing upward. Hold for 5 minutes. This stretches the tight hip and lower back muscles.

    Suggestions from Andre Panagos, MD

    Medication recommendations

    The most popular treatments for hip
    joint pain are glucosamine/chondroitin supplements as well as anti-inflammatory OTC medicines such acetaminophen and ibuprofen. In some cases, an injection of a steroid medication into the joint can help relieve swelling and inflammation.

  • fingers

    An arm stretch will help with repetitive stress injuries, such as the constant grasping of medical devices. Place the palms of your hands together in front of your chest with your fingers pointed upward. Raise your elbows so your wrists are being stretched and hold for 10 seconds. This stretches the finger muscles.

    Suggestions from Andre Panagos, MD

    Medication recommendations

    The most common medications for arthritis in the fingers are anti-inflammatories such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, which stop the body from producing chemicals that cause joint swelling and pain. You may also need a prescription drug such as Celebrex.

    Suggestions from the American
    Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

  • knees

    Lunge
    pStart by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward with one leg, landing with the heel first. The knee should be at 90 degrees and be directly above the ankle. The motion is continued until you feel a stretch in the calf. Hold for 20 seconds. Return to the starting position by extending your front knee, and repeat on the other side. This exercise is great for strengthening muscles around the knee to lend greater support to the knee joint.

    Suggestions from Andre Panagos, MD

    Medication recommendations

    The most popular treatments for knee
    joint pain are glucosamine/chondroitin supplements as well as anti-inflammatory OTC medicines such acetaminophen and ibuprofen. In some cases, an injection of a steroid medication into the joint can help relieve swelling and inflammation.

  • feet & ankles

    Toe Rotations
    Sit down and pull your foot onto your lap. Hold the base of the foot in one hand. With the other hand, pull each toe out a bit and gently rotate at least five times in one direction and five times in the other direction. Follow with a foot massage, pressing up and down the length of the foot, paying particular attention to the arches. Repeat with the other foot.

    Point and Flex
    Either seated on the floor or in a chair, straighten your legs to hip-width apart. Point and flex both feet together, watching for symmetry and alignment. Start in parallel so that your toes point to the ceiling. Stretch the ball of the foot away from you, then curl the toes into a point. Curl the toes back so that you are reaching again through the ball of the foot and then pull back into a fully flexed position. Repeat 10 times and watch your feet. After that, rotate through the ankles 10 times in each direction.

    Suggestions from Pilates-based movement expert Stacy Sims of The True Body Project

    Medication recommendations

    Besides the anti-inflammatory OTC medicines as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, you may also be prescribed methotrexate, prednisone, sulfasalazine and gold compounds to help slow the spread of arthritis. In some cases, an injection of a steroid medication into the joint can help relieve swelling and inflammation.

    Suggestions from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

  • whole body

    The body is always happy when it can find its own equilibrium. Find a quiet corner and a hard surface (e.g., the floor) and lie in the "shavasana" pose from yoga, which means you will lie supine on the floor, letting the solid surface support your spine and gravity open up the constricted muscles in the upper chest and back, hips, etc. Try it with your palms up and your feet slightly splayed. Mainly, the goal is to surrender your weight in a supported, flat position and let your body readjust itself. Focus on your breath and see if you can let your thoughts slow down.

    Suggestions from Pilates-based movement expert
    Stacy Sims of The True Body Project