From our clients age 50+, arthritis is the first complaint we always hear.
Many have self diagnose their aches and pains as they seem to be creeping up with each passing year. Others are told by their doctor, even identified by an X-ray or MRI, that age related arthritis is the cause of their complaints.
Most walk through the door with a very similar story:
- Aching in joints that is getting worse over time
- Pain that comes on for no apparent reason
- Feeling they have no control over their symptoms
- They rest when the pain “acts up”
- Frequently take pain killers to be remain active
- They believe they need to avoid exercise
- A doctor told them exercise will make arthritis worse
- Fearing they will lose their independence due to arthritis
Does this sound like you?
If so, please read on! This information could completely change how active you are today and how independent you remain as the years progress.
What exactly is arthritis?
In this case we are referring to osteoarthritis. This is a condition where the cartilage surface in the joint wears down gradually over time. This is different from rheumatoid arthritis, which is caused by an autoimmune disease.
The cartilage in a joint acts to absorb shock and avoid friction between the bones. An important fact about cartilage is that it does not have blood supply. Therefore, it can not heal itself when damaged like other tissue in your body can.
You can not actually make changes to the cartilage. However, you can slow down the degeneration and improve the mobility and pain in your joints.
The secret. . . EXERCISE!
Exercise helps improve your arthritis symptoms in the following ways:
- Maintains Movement – Exercise increases synovial fluid in the joint that lubricates and nourishes it.
- Improves Strength – The stronger the muscles are around the joint the more stable it will be. A stable joint with break down less rapidly.
- Maintains Weight – By keeping a healthy weight and body composition through exercise you can reduce strain on your joints.
So, don’t throw your hands up and admit defeat when it comes to osteoarthritis. Luckily, there is plenty you can do to ensure you are able to keep your joints in their best condition possible. In addition, you can continue to do the things you enjoy doing for the longest time possible.
What should I do if exercise is just too painful?
If you find exercise causes an increase in your pain symptoms, discuss your concerns with a physical therapist TODAY! It may be that you are doing the wrong exercises, doing the right exercises in the wrong way, or there is more going on beyond the arthritis.
Often times, we find that clients are experiencing joint movement limitations, excessive scar tissue build up, or muscle imbalances (some muscles too tight and some muscles too weak).
These issues can be resolved through manual physical therapy. Subsequently, exercise can be performed without the severe pain many experience at the start. With a individualized pain free exercise program, you can begin to minimize the effects of arthritis without making your symptoms worse.
For more information about a particular joint and what you can do to address your pain and stiffness at home, head over to our website where you can download a free report addressing your specific needs. www.peakpotentialpt.com