Joint stiffness is often the result of low synovial fluid levels. Synovial fluid is a thick substance that reduces friction by lubricating the joints.
Low synovial fluid generally occurs with age and can lead to other joint problems, such as osteoarthritis.
Improving your synovial fluid levels can help people with stiff joints, as the fluid helps lubricate these joints to prevent them from rubbing against each other.
You’ll learn how to do this in this post, as well as what synovial fluid is, how to tell if your levels are low, and the changes you can make to increase these levels.
Signs Of Low Synovial Fluid
The only way you can be certain if you have low synovial fluid is if your medical provider carries out a synovial fluid analysis.
These tests will tell them what is happening inside your joints. You may be recommended synovial fluid analysis if your joints are:
- Different colored or red
- Warm when touched
In most cases, the medical provider will administer a local anesthetic to stop any pain at the site, then take out synovial fluid through a needle.
The analysis will look at the following:
- How the fluid looks, its thickness, color, and viscosity, as these can indicate inflammation
- Microscopic matter like bacteria (infection) or crystals (gout)
- The chemical composition to check if any changes are linked to a disease
These features will signal your medical provider if your synovial fluid needs improving, and may tell them some of the ways which can help you do this.
Exercises For Better Synovial Fluid
Synovial joints are joints that are movable. A sign of healthy joints is when the bones (see also “What Vitamins Are Good For Bones And Joints?“) can slide against each other without any pain or friction.
This occurs as a result of cartilage. Cartilage, also known as the synovial membrane or synovium, is a soft tissue that cushions the bones along with the synovial fluid.
Synovial joints are the shoulders, knees, wrists, hips, and elbows. Research has shown that exercise encourages nutrients in the cartilage and the synovial fluid to move around.
Analysis has also shown that there are fewer signs of joint problems and inflammation following physical activity.
Exercise cannot make the body produce more synovial fluid, but it can help it work properly and its overall quality. Some movements that are good for the joints include:
- Heel raises
- Knee flexion
- Strength training
- Quadricep squats
Remember to talk to your doctor or medical provider before beginning a new exercise regime.
People that have lots of joint pain or mobility issues may see an improvement by working with physical therapists.
Diet Changes To Increase Synovial Fluid
Eating nutritious foods which are good for the joints can help the body create more synovial fluid. This will ensure the joints stay healthy and may even decrease joint pain.
Examples of foods that can help synovial fluid output include:
- Nuts and seeds
- Foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids – flaxseeds, salmon, mackerel
- Foods high in antioxidants – berries, garlic, onions, green tea
- Leafy, dark vegetables
- Curcumin, a substance present in turmeric
Remember to consult your medical provider before implementing any dietary changes.
Supplements To Increase Synovial Fluid
Nutritional supplements may help the body produce more synovial fluid. These won’t cure joint problems, but they may relieve some pain.
Examples of these supplements are:
- Collagen, which the body needs to produce cartilage
- Omega 3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation, like fish oil
- Methionine, an amino acid that aids in healing
- Glycosaminoglycans, which keeps the joints lubricated and hydrated
Remember that some treatments, even natural ones, can lead to undesirable side effects.
Others may be safe for others, but they might not be safe for you, depending on your particular circumstances.
Always notify your doctor before taking nutritional supplements. You can also ask your pharmacist for advice on potential side effects from supplements.
Medical Remedies To Increase Synovial Fluid
Your medical provider may prescribe certain injections that can relieve joint pain or protect the joints.
These treatments will vary depending on the patient, but here are two common treatment options that are used for this issue:
A viscosupplementation injection contains hyaluronic acid, a substance that is important for generating quality synovial fluid.
The name is related to hyaluronic acid, as it makes synovial fluid viscous and sticky. Inflammation can lead to less hyaluronic acid present in synovial fluid.
Research indicates that replacing the fluid with injections directly into the joint, wherever it’s required, may relieve painful joints.
Injections may be delivered over a few months, though this will depend on how bad your pain is and how effective the treatment is.
PRP – Platelet Rich Plasma
PRP, known as platelet-rich plasma, is a different kind of injection that can relieve joint pain.
PRP is thought of as a regenerative treatment as it aids in the body repairing any damage.
Before the treatment begins, your medical provider will draw some blood and process it, retrieving a fluid called plasma that is full of platelets.
Platelets are important blood cells that the body needs for healing purposes.
The medical provider will then inject the plasma fluid directly into your joint. An ultrasound may be used to ensure the fluid is injected in the correct place.
This treatment sounds promising, but more research is required to ensure that the treatment is effective.
Earlier research has proposed that PRP works on osteoarthritis just as well as hyaluronic acid injections.
The Bottom Line
Joint pain (see also “How Long Does It Take For CBD Oil To Work For Joint Pain?“) is a normal part of life that can occur with age, but you don’t have to put up with it.
This discomfort can be the result of poor synovial fluid, a substance that lubricates the joints so they can easily move.
A lack of, or poor quality synovial fluid can result in joints that rub together and cannot move as well. If this occurs, the joints can become damaged, resulting in pain.
Lifestyle changes, like a nutritious diet, physical activity, and supplements can help increase and improve synovial fluid, lubricating stiff joints to relieve pain.
If necessary, your medical provider may administer medical treatments, like hyaluronic acid injections, for this purpose.
Remember to talk to your medical provider if you notice any stiff, painful joints. Treating the problem soon can prevent the damage from worsening over time.