Stretches For Arthritis In The Back Hips And Knees
These three basic stretches will help loosen your back, hip, and knee joints. You can do all three of these stretches right in bed. Or, if you prefer, you can do them on the floor. These stretches should be gentle enough for everyone — including people who have had knee or hip surgery. But if you have any questions, ask your doctor.
Hamstring stretch: Lie on your back with your left knee bent and your left foot flat on the bed. Bend your right leg and place your hands behind your right thigh. Lift your right leg into the air and straighten it as much as you can, using your hands to gently pull your leg toward your chest. Hold for about 30 seconds and then slowly release. You should feel the stretch in your lower back and the back of your leg. Repeat this stretch on the left leg and then repeat 2 to 3 times on both sides.
Single knee to chest stretch: Lie on your back and bend both knees. Your feet should be flat on the bed. Take hold of your right knee with both hands and gently pull the knee toward your chest. You should feel a stretch in the back of your leg and lower back. Hold for about 30 seconds and then slowly release. Repeat this same stretch with the left knee and then repeat 2 to 3 times on both sides.
Physical Therapist Chad Woodard Pt Phd Suggests This Gentle Neck Exercise Routine To Help Arthritis Patients Improve Function And Range Of Motion In The Neck
If you live with arthritis that affects your neck such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, or other forms then chances are you often wake up feeling stiff and sore.
An AM stretching routine is a key way to help soothe that morning stiffness. It is so important to have a regular mobility and stretching routine, says physical therapist Chad Woodard, PT, PhD, owner of Symbio Physiotherapy and Wellness in New York City. Without a regular routine, your joints start to stiffen up. They dont move as well. And that leads to a decreased function and inability to get through your activities of daily living.
But when it comes to neck exercises in particular, its important to be gentle and proceed with caution. So we asked Dr. Woodard for a simple home exercise routine of neck stretches you can do every day to fight stiffness and stress in your neck.
He models them in the above video.
These neck exercises are specifically meant to help those with rheumatoid arthritis and other kinds of inflammatory arthritis, says Dr. Woodard, who prescribes these moves to all his arthritis patients. They involve gentle, progressive mobility and stretching. You can do these first thing in the morning and they really get everything moving.
Strengthening The Muscles Around Your Hip Joint Is Key To Keeping Them Strong And Mobile With Age
Lets get this important misconception out of the way: Done correctly, working out is not going to exacerbate your hip pain or make your arthritis worse. But not exercising can make your arthritis worse, which is why doctors recommend exercises as an important part of your arthritis treatment plan, whether you have osteoarthritis or an autoimmune, inflammatory form such as rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis.
Heres whats happening in your hip when you have arthritis, and why exercising and moving more helps relieve pain and stiffness.
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Tips To Ease Pain With Exercise
When choosing exercises for your back pain, start with the basics and then progress from there. If you are having trouble tolerating exercise, try these tips to reduce pain and manage symptoms.
Other Ways to Manage Spinal Arthritis Pain
- Use home modalities like ice, heat, or a TENs unit before and after exercise
- Take prescription medications or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- Use your symptoms as a guide and modify instead of pushing through any pain
- Start with a gentle warm up, like walking, before starting your program
- Stretch prior to strengthening to warm up any stiff muscles
- Consult a physical therapist for personal recommendations to optimize your exercise routine
- Do less exercise more frequently to start, with the goal of exercising for 20+ minutes 3-4 times per week when youre ready
Types Of Exercises For Arthritis
Your physician, physical therapist or orthopedic specialist will suggest the best exercise for arthritis. This regime could include strengthening exercises, cardio, range-of-motion exercises and other physical activities.
You can look into the various types of exercise programs that might be held in health clubs, hospitals, libraries and clinics in your area. You can also reach out to your local Arthritis Foundation center for information, as they conduct exercise programs in many areas of the U.S.
Aerobic or cardio exercises help increase your overall fitness. They give you more energy and stamina, while helping control your weight and improving your cardiovascular health.
Low-impact cardio exercises are easier on your joints. They use your bodys large muscles in a rhythmic and repetitive manner, in addition to improving your lung, heart and muscle function. When you have arthritis, this form of exercise benefits your sleep, mood, weight control and general health.
Examples of cardio exercises include:
- Stationary bikes
- Elliptical trainers
Strengthening exercises help protect and support your joints and build strong muscles. A good example of a strengthening exercise that helps increase and maintain your muscle strength is weight training.
Examples of strengthening exercises include:
Flexibility and Range-of-Motion Exercises
Examples of range-of-motion exercises include:
Other Physical Activities
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Neck Stretch: Neck Retraction With Rotation
To do this move, youll take the same movement that you did in the retraction and add an extra step.
Get into a comfortable position with your shoulders pushed slightly back. Make a double chin to do the head retraction. Then gently rotate your head to the right, then back toward the left. Do about this about 20 times .
You should feel a good strong stretch, but not any sharp pains.
This move helps you access new ranges of motion for those joints, says Dr. Woodard. One thing joints love and need is movement. Thats how they get nutrition and stay as healthy as they can.
Exercises That Can Help Ease Your Arthritis
Having Rheumatoid Arthritis can make everyday tasks that you used to take for granted difficult. When you have pain, you often will try to avoid the activities that trigger it. When mundane tasks cause pain, it is understandable that you’d think exercise is impossible. However, regular exercise can actually help improve your joint and muscle strength, as well as improving your heart health. This can make it easier to deal with your RA symptoms and any other complications that may come up.
There are so many benefits to get from regular exercise. As difficult as it can be to start, over time, exercising can lead to less pain, better stability in your joints, increased energy, improved physical function and performance, better quality of life, and better bone health. Who can say no to that payoff?
If you live with RA and plan on getting started with a new physical routine, you should first consult your doctor. They may have suggestions for the best targeted exercises for your joint pain.
We’ve also compiled a list of 11 exercises to help you ease your RA pain. This list starts off gentle and increases in difficulty, so if you’re new to exercise, start at number one and work your way down as you build strength and endurance!
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Promoting A Healthy Heart Stamina And Weight Can Help Relieve Symptoms Of Arthritis
Low-impact exercisessuch as walking, elliptical machines, or water aerobicsare easier on arthritis hip pain and arthritis knee pain
20-30 minutes daily
2½ hours weekly of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes weekly of vigorous exercise
Do as much as you can do. Even if you cant fit in much cardio, the strengthening and stretching exercises can help with things like arthritis back pain.
Suffer From Stiff Swollen Joints As A Result Of Arthritis These Five Types Of Physical Activity May Help Relieve Some Of The Pain
Traditional wisdom suggests that when your body hurts, you should rest. But when it comes to arthritis, research shows that physical activity can actually help ease pain, as well as stiffness and swelling in the joints. Choosing the right kinds of activities, however, is important. Here are five of the best exercises to relieve arthritis pain.
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How Arthritis Affects Your Hips
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint the ball is the top of your thigh bone, and it sits in a socket thats formed by part of your pelvic bone. Slippery tissue called cartilage covers the bone surface and helps cushion the joint. Cartilage creates a low-friction environment so you can move easily and without pain, explains Wayne Johnson, MD, orthopedic surgeon and assistant clinical professor at the University of Oklahoma.
In osteoarthritis , the cartilage in the hip joint gradually wears down, which over time leads to pain, stiffness, swelling, and lack of mobility, says Dr. Johnson, who is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Everyday tasks like bending over to tie a shoe, getting up from a chair, or going for a walk become more challenging and painful. The lifetime risk of developing osteoarthritis of the hip is 25 percent.
With rheumatoid and other forms of inflammatory arthritis, the immune system mistakenly attacks a protective lining in your joint called the synovium, and destroys cartilage. Though RA tends to affect smaller joints first , symptoms can spread to both your hips as the disease progresses.
Exercising At Home Or Work
The best knee exercises may be the ones you can do at home or even during a break at the office. Theyre easy, effective, and convenient, and dont require any special equipment. Do them slowly and gradually increase the number of repetitions as your muscles get stronger.
Afterward, be sure to do a few gentle stretching exercises to help prevent your muscles from tightening up. Consider exercising your knees every other day to give sore muscles a rest.
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Proper Oseteoarthritis Treatment Includes Exercise
There’s no cure for osteoarthritis, but there is a lot you can do to slow its progression, reduce pain, and maintain or improve function. Losing weight can be particularly helpful if you’re overweight or obese. You can often relieve pain with over-the-counter analgesics such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , including ibuprofen and aspirin. The use of canes, splints, or braces may be necessary to protect a joint from further injury.
But if there’s one osteoarthritis treatment an individual with osteoarthritis should do every day, it’s exercise. Regular exercise strengthens muscles and improves flexibility and balance. It not only helps ease pain and stiffness but also improves overall health. It’s also good for your mood and for staving off other conditions prevalent in older age.
Exercise as an integral part of prevention and treatment of osteoarthritis, especially in people ages 65 and over. After reviewing the evidence, the group also concluded that moderate-intensity exercise does not as some have feared increase the risk for osteoarthritis.
Research suggests that older women may be able to prevent osteoarthritis pain by getting as little as one to two hours of moderately intense physical activity each week. Lack of exercise may contribute directly to osteoarthritis, especially by causing the atrophy of supportive and shock-absorbing muscles, such as those surrounding the knee.
What Other Types Of Knee Exercises Work Best
Walking is an excellent form of exercise. Its low-impact, and because its a weight-bearing exercise, it helps strengthen muscles and build bone. Wear good, sturdy shoes. Start out slow, and gradually increase your pace and distance for best results.
Water exercises or walking in the shallow end of a pool are also great for muscle strength and knee flexibility. Because the body is buoyant in water, it lessens impact to near zero as it makes you work a little harder to move.
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Back Pain And Stiffness
While back pain is a common symptom, not everyone with back arthritis experiences it.
Stiffness, which occurs as the joint hardens, is a frequent complaint among those with back arthritis. It can hinder you from doing simple activities, such as gardening or getting dressed.
Both of these symptoms can be helped significantly with exercise and physical therapy.
Increasing your flexibility and range of motion can help lessen the pain. Your physical therapist can achieve this with targeted movements that strengthen the muscles and take pressure off your joints.
How Exercise Helps Hip Arthritis
Think of your hip joint like a bicycle, says Dr. Johnson. The muscles around the hip are the strong, supporting frame of the bike. The joint especially one with arthritis is like the weaker, flimsier chain. A strong frame takes some of the stress off a weaker chain.
The same is true in your hip. We lose muscle strength as we age, explains Dr. Johnson. And any excess weight puts even more stress on a joint thats becoming weaker due to arthritis.
Exercise, then, helps strengthen the muscles that support your hip, which takes some of the load off on the worn-out, weaker joint. That shift can translate to a decrease in pain and stiffness, easier motion and improved flexibility, he says.
Exercise also help enhance balance, boost energy, improve sleep, and control weight. And in people with mild to moderate hip OA, a study published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found those who exercised for one hour at least twice a week for 12 weeks were 44 percent less likely to need hip replacement surgery six years later, compared with those who did not exercise.
The types of exercise that can help ease arthritis pain may include:
- Range-of-motion and stretching exercises
- Strengthening exercises
- Aerobic exercise, like swimming or biking
- Other activities like yoga and tai chi or even gardening and walking the dog.
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Hip Exercise: Standing Iliotibial Band Stretch
Stretches the outside of your hip
- Stand next to a wall for support.
- Cross the leg that is closest to the wall behind your other leg.
- Lean your hip toward the wall until you feel a stretch at the outside of your hip. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
- Cross the leg that is further from the wall behind your other leg.
- Repeat on the opposite side then repeat the entire sequence four times.
Tip: Dont lean forward or twist at the waist.
Hip Exercise: Clock Tap
Improves balance and stability, and strengthens muscles in your hips and legs
- Stand next to a wall or door frame for support.
- Balance on right foot hold on to wall or door frame to stay steady, if needed. Keep your knee straight over your ankle, with a slight bend.
- Tap your left foot around your right foot, as if your right foot is the centerpiece on a clock, and your left is touching numbers on a clockface. Start at 12 oclock, then tap at 11, 10, and 9.
- Retrace the numbers back to 12 then tap 1 and 2, and retrace back to 12.
- Repeat the sequence four times then complete with the opposite foot.
Tip: Stay within a comfortable and stable range of motion when tapping around the clock, says Shroyer. If your knee starts to shift over as you tap for the 9 spot, you may be past your range. As you get stronger, you may be able to reach further on each side.
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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.
Signs To Halt Exercising
The last section described things that you can do to minimize pain while exercising. However, there are also signs that you should stop what youre doing and see your doctor. These signs include:
- Stabbing, sharp and constant pain
- Pain after exercise that lasts for more than a couple of hours or gets worse at night
- Pain that makes you limp
- Pain not relieved by hot/cold packs, rest or medication
- A significant increase in hot, red or swollen joints
Arthritis and exercise is not an impossible combination. Individuals with arthritis who stay active on a regular basis experience more energy, less pain, better day-to-day function and improved sleep. When your body is used to regular exercising, it can help keep you going when arthritis threatens to immobilize you. Still not convinced? Try it yourself. However, if you have persistent arthritis, give us a call at 853-6542 to request a consultation with one of our doctors.
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