When Exercise Is A Problem
Many people with arthritis know exercise is good for them and they want to be more physically active than theyre able to be. Tien Sydnor-Campbell, 48, knows this firsthand.
In high school she was a competitive swimmer and rode her bike 22 miles round-trip to work she kept up with biking and swimming recreationally throughout her adulthood. In fact, Sydnor-Campbell was training for a triathlon in her late thirties when she first noticed a series of strange and seemingly unrelated symptoms jaw pain, pain that caused her knees to lock, flares of pain in her wrists that ultimately led to her being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 40.
Sydnor-Campbell still tried to go to the gym right after she was diagnosed, but her pain levels were high. Those early days at the gym did not go well. She struggled with one activity after another couldnt use the usual weight machines she did for arm exercises, even when she dropped the amount of weight from 20 pounds down to five. Same issue when she tried a machine to work the quadricep muscles in her legs. The last straw was when she found herself struggling to even wriggle into her bathing suit, let alone swim her usual laps in the pool. She felt too weak to lift her arms over her head.
Benefits Of Exercise For Osteoarthritis
Get exercise tips for arthritis and learn why physical activity is the best, non-drug treatment for improving pain and function in OA.
While you may worry that exercising with osteoarthritis could harm your joints and cause more pain, research shows that people can and should exercise when they have osteoarthritis. In fact, exercise is considered the most effective, non-drug treatment for reducing pain and improving movement in patients with osteoarthritis.
What Exercises Work Best for Osteoarthritis?Each of the following types of exercises plays a role in maintaining and improving the ability to move and function. Walking and aquatic exercises are particularly good for most people with osteoarthritis.
Exercises for Osteoarthritis
Range of motion or flexibility exercises
Range of motion refers to the ability to move your joints through the full motion they were designed to achieve. These exercises include gentle stretching and movements that take joints through their full span. Doing these exercises regularly can help maintain and improve the flexibility in the joints.
These exercises strengthen the heart and make the lungs more efficient. Aerobic exercise also reduces fatigue and builds stamina, while helping control weight by increasing the number of calories the body uses. Examples of this type of exercise includes walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming or using the elliptical machine.
Don’t Want To Be One Of The Over 16500 Americans Who Unnecessarily Die Yearly From Arthritis Medications Although These Medications Can Sometimes Be Helpful Natural Remedies Have Been Shown To Be More Effective And Very Safe In Addition They Help Heal Your Joints As Opposed To Medications Which May Actually Accelerate Arthritis Here’s A 6
Don’t want to be one of the over 16,500 Americans who unnecessarily die yearly from arthritis medications? Although these medications can sometimes be helpful, natural remedies have been shown to be more effective and very safe. In addition, they help heal your joints, as opposed to medications which may actually accelerate arthritis. Here’s a 6-week proven program to help you get relief naturally!
Do not presume that joint pain is arthritis. It can also come from the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the joint. This is so even if the x-rays are abnormal . The treatments below can help these as well but other treatments are more effective.
Natural TherapiesI recommend you begin with a program that will decrease inflammation and help to repair the joints. This has 4 main components:
Repair: The joint cartilage can be repaired using a combination of glucosamine sulfate , MSM , and, if the arthritis is severe, Chondroitin . It is also critical that you get broad nutritional support .
Reverse inflammation: Use natural anti-inflammatories to prevent damage and decrease or eliminate pain. I recommend a combination of several natural remedies, many of which can be found in combination. The mix I like the most combines:
If you have inflammatory arthritis also take a teaspoon or more of fish oil daily, which acts as an excellent anti-inflammatory.
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Stop Ignoring Your Physical Limitations
Just as there are people with arthritis who aren’t active at all, there are those who push beyond their limits. The trick is to pace your activities. Overdoing it is just as harmful as underdoing it.
Pushing your limits can increase pain and put you at higher risk of joint damage. Respect pain and choose activities with your physical limitations in mind.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation uses a machine that sends electrical impulses through sticky patches, called electrodes, attached to the skin. This may help ease the pain caused by your osteoarthritis by numbing the nerve endings in your spinal cord which control pain.
Treatment with TENS is usually arranged by a physiotherapist or doctor, who can advise you on the strength of the pulses and how long your treatment should last.
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Should I See A Doctor
Its common to have aches and pains in your muscles and joints from time to time. This may especially be true if you take part in unusual or strenuous physical activities.
So, how can you tell the difference between the early signs of arthritis and normal pain and stiffness? And, how do you know when you should see a doctor about your symptoms?
If you have swelling or stiffness that you cant explain and that doesn’t go away in a few days, or if it becomes painful to touch your joints, you should see a doctor. The earlier you get a diagnosis and start the right type of treatment, the better the outcome will be.
Here are some other things to think about that might help you decide whether you need to see a doctor:
When To See A Pro
To enhance your exercise program, you may find it beneficial to work with a fitness professional. They can personalize your training to suit your unique needs and goals.
A trainer can give you guidance, feedback, and modification options. Theyll check to make sure youre doing the exercises correctly and safely, which optimizes the benefits of your workout and lowers your chance of injury.
A fitness pro can also help you to stay motivated and hold you accountable for your growth and success. Theyll be up to date on the latest research and trends, keeping you in the know.
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Getting Started With An Ra Exercise Plan
Patients with RA can and should exercise regularly, period, says Elaine Husni, MD, MPH, vice chair of rheumatology and director of the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Center at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and an assistant professor at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. However, there may be modifications needed to try different modalities, depending on your level of fitness and ability. Think about water-based exercises to start, then move up to more traditional land-based exercises, or start with chair yoga instead of classic yoga classes.
For starters, always warm up before exercising and cool down afterward, Dr. Husni says. Also, be sure to use pain as your guide. Exercise should not be painful, so the onset of pain tells you to slow down or modify your exercise, she explains.
The goal is to keep moving at your fitness level to prevent injuries, Husni says. If you are new to exercise, you may benefit from group classes or a trainer, so someone with experience can watch and teach you how to exercise safely.
Its important to incorporate exercise into your routine as soon as youre diagnosed with RA. The best strategy is to consult a physical therapist specifically trained in inflammatory conditions youll benefit by working with an expert whos familiar with your RA needs.
Stop Thinking You Can’t Exercise
Many people who have arthritis are afraid if they’re active they’ll have more pain and so they just don’t get any exercise. This may be one of the biggest misconceptions about arthritis.
At the same time, it’s an ironic idea because inactivity actually makes pain and disability from arthritis worse over time, while regular exercise keeps joints moving and prevents stiffness, strengthens the muscles around the joints, and improves mobility.
So if you’ve been sedentary out of fear you’ll make your arthritis worse, talk to your healthcare provider to make sure it’s OK to exercise. Then start slowly with gentle, joint-friendly movements. It’s fine to respect your arthritis pain, but you don’t have to let it stop you.
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The Best Exercises For Hip Arthritis
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , arthritis affects 54 million Americans, up to 24 million of whom experience limited mobility and discomfort. If you are one of these people, the idea of doing physical activities may seem counterintuitive, especially when you have hip arthritis and youre in pain. However, did you know that a lack of exercise can actually exacerbate your condition?
Although it may seem painful and uncomfortable, exercise can provide you with relief in the long run. Regular exercise can help strengthen your muscles and make your hip joint more stable, which is why orthopedic specialists recommend it as a crucial part of hip arthritis treatment.
Here are the best exercises for hip arthritis that you should discuss with your bone and joint specialist. Make sure to start with very little intensity and increase it slowly.
Stop Eating An Unhealthy Diet
What’s your diet got to do with arthritis? Eating well and maintaining your ideal weight is especially important if you’ve got arthritis. Excess pounds can put lots of stress on weight-bearing joints, which is likely to make arthritis pain worse. Even moderate weight gain can stress joints that are already burdened by arthritis.
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Cure Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Naturally With Food
Pain and aches associated with rheumatoid arthritis can often be cured naturally with food choices. This online Guide to Healing RA Naturally provides you with ample information on how food can help prevent and cure arthritis symptoms.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack the body’s own joints. The disease causes chronic inflammation in the lining of joints, typically in the joints of the hands and feet. In addition, rheumatoid arthritis can cause painful inflammation in the tissues around the joints. While rheumatoid arthritis can last for years, even a lifetime, the symptoms typically come and go. When the symptoms are present, the disease is said to be active. During the active periods, patients may experience muscle and joint pain and aches, red and swollen joints, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Rheumatoid arthritis is typically a progressive disease which can cause deformed joints and disability at a later stage.
Got Arthritis Exercise Can Help
Swimming is one form of exercise that can help prevent arthritis from getting worse, doctors say.hide caption
Swimming is one form of exercise that can help prevent arthritis from getting worse, doctors say.
If you suffer the pain and stiffness of arthritis, you may not be enthusiastic about exercising. But arthritis specialists say that’s exactly what you need to do.
It’s advice that 65-year-old Sibyl Zaden has taken to heart. A former marathon runner and triathlete, Zaden now suffers from osteoarthritis in her shoulders and knees. “My problem is lifting my arm,” she says. “It’s very painful. I can lift it halfway and that’s it.”
Her knees hurt, too. But that doesn’t stopped Zaden from going to the gym and getting on a treadmill for 15 to 30 minutes. Her doctor, UCLA Medical Center rheumatologist Roy Altman, says more people with arthritis should follow her lead.
“The one thing that people don’t understand is that you have to do something,” Altman says. “When you don’t do anything with osteoarthritis of the knee, arthritis actually gets worse.”
Three years ago, federal health officials recommended that people with arthritis exercise moderately every day for about 20 minutes. But that’s not what’s happening.
A recent study at Northwestern University looked at activity among 1,000 adults, between 49 and 84 years old, who had osteoarthritis of the knee. Ninety percent of the people were not exercising, according to lead scientist Dorothy Dunlop.
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Other Forms Of Arthritis
If you have another form of arthritis, your doctor may recommend some of these same medications. NSAIDs are often recommended to help people with various forms of arthritis cope with pain caused by their condition.
DMARDs are also used to treat other types of arthritis, like PsA and ankylosing spondylitis. Doctors often prescribe corticosteroids for people with various forms of arthritis because they can decrease inflammation.
However, more specific treatments are required for some types of arthritis. For example, someone with gout might need to take a drug that lowers the bodys levels of uric acid. A buildup of uric acid crystals is what causes joint pain and swelling.
Another example is someone with PsA who may need anti-inflammatory medications, such as a DMARD or a biologic drug. They may also need topical creams or light therapy to address the skin disease that can occur with PsA.
How To Protect Your Joints During Exercise
While exercise can help you function better on a daily basis and prevent muscles from atrophying, your exercise choices have to be specific to maintaining joint integrity and pain management, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.
Try making these simple adjustments:
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More Ways To Treat Ra
Over-the-counter medications treat RA symptoms, but not the underlying disease.
These medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium .
Your doctor may prescribe you stronger NSAIDs, available by prescription only, to combat the inflammation and pain caused by RA.
Corticosteroid medications may also be used to reduce RA inflammation and reduce joint damage. Prednisone can be effective in relieving acute symptoms of RA, but long-term use carries risks.
Physical or occupational therapy can help keep your joints flexible. Assistive devices like beaded seat covers in cars and book stands to give the hands a break can reduce stress on joints when going about daily tasks or enjoying leisurely activities.
Surgery, which can reduce severe joint pain and improve everyday functions, is sometimes elected by people with RA.
What Is Possible Once Arthritis Pain Is Behind You
When I meet with someone who appears hopeless because of arthritis pain, I know there is great opportunity that lies in working with them. I want you to know that if you are feeling hopeless, sitting here reading this blog post, you are not alone in this journey anymore.
You can learn so much from others who have walked your same path and came out on the other side. Once joint pain and joint stiffness are under control- doors of opportunity can fly open.
I just recently was working with a woman who was dealing with right knee swelling, stiffness after sitting for work, and inside of the knee pain that would even wake her up at night. She was in her 40s and was dedicated to keeping her backpacking adventures alive.
She experienced increased knee pain after a hike and it just never went away. Come to find out she was told she had arthritis. She was an avid hiker and backpacker here in Utah so that diagnosis didnt settle well with her.
Initially, we worked through ways to manage pain and swelling. We were able to find movements she was actually able to do without flaring up her knee pain! She dedicated herself to adding these movements every day.
Fast forward 2 months. She has been on 2 camping trips including hiking for multiple days. She has been able to begin interval running- which she didnt think would be possible again! She now has a goal to go on a hike that is over 2000 ft of elevation gain.
If you want to read more inspiring stories, head to this blog post.
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Think You Shouldnt Exercise Because It Could Make Your Arthritis Symptoms Worse Most Of The Time Thats Just Not The Case
Exercise is a mainstay part of managing arthritis. This is true whether you have osteoarthritis, a kind of wear-and-tear on your joints, or inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid or psoriatic, which occurs because your immune system is attacking your joints and causing systemic inflammation.
But a majority of arthritis patients said they have not increased the amount they exercise since being diagnosed, according to the results of our latest ArthritisPower Community Poll. We asked people if theyve started exercising more after being diagnosed with arthritis out of 640 respondents, 59 percent said no. Only 41 percent said yes.
Now, there are many reasons people with different kinds of arthritis may avoid exercising or increasing their physical activity levels, but its important to debunk and clarify a myth behind one of the big ones: the belief that exercise can exacerbate or worsen your disease.
One of the biggest misconceptions about arthritis and exercise is people think, Well, its not good for me, says exercise physiologist Lynn Millar, PT, PhD, FACSM, department chair of physical therapy at Winston-Salem State University. I like to harp on the fact that exercise is one of the key treatments for arthritis. It will not make it worse. It will make it better.
But the most important thing is understanding that exercise, even if its very gentle and low-key, should be part of your arthritis treatment along with the medications you take to manage your disease.