The prevalence of joint pain is not new and uncommon these days, as a higher proportion of young and middle-aged population have been reporting this condition. Covid has been a major threat to overall health, and people afflicted with the infection have been immobilised for long either due to home quarantine or hospitalisation. The ill-effects of the virus have also triggered weakness in the muscles and joints.
Joint pain is attributed to a plethora of reasons, including family history, age-related degeneration, obesity, physical inactivity, acquired infections like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and other inflammatory ailments. In association with Covid complications, these can be triggering factors for the onset of joint pain. Nutrition deficiency including of Vitamin D3 and B12 severely impacts bones and cartilage that provide strength to the joints.
Those with pre-existing conditions have also been suspected to have an increased complication of joint pain, swelling, muscle and joint stiffness, difficulty in walking, etc, in the post-Covid condition. While the severity may vary from mild, moderate to severe, many patients have been coming up with complaints of severe and recurrent complications amid the lockdown.
One of the major reasons that is making professionals suffer from joint and muscle pain is work from home. While most of the working professionals always dreamt of working from home but amid the lockdown, improper posture and seeking a comfort zone while working are major causes of joint-related ailments.
Increased dependence on junk and frozen food are another reason for arthritis and debilitating joint pain. The bacteria that thrive on a high-fat junk food diet trigger inflammation in the body which causes our immune system to attack its own cartilage and cells in joints like the knee, which are subject to a lot of wear and are particularly susceptible.
Joint pain is associated with modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors such as obesity, lack of exercise, bone density, occupational injury, poor ergonomics, etc. The physical disability arising from pain and loss of functional capacity reduces the quality of life and increases the risk of further morbidity.
However, by maintaining an active lifestyle, such as performing regular exercises and following safe practices while sitting and bending, most of the problems can be prevented. An active lifestyle can be diminished during the Covid lockdown or infection and it has an impact on overall health. While working in poor postures or lying down to relax, with much reduced movements, the body is bound to become stiff. Keeping yourself active is the best way to avoid stiffness and associated complaints and for an overall healthy joint in the longer run. Stretching exercises can also prevent pain.
The writer is senior hip and knee replacement surgeon at Centre for Knee and Hip Care, Ghaziabad.