Thursday, March 28, 2013

Adding Exercise to Your Arthritis Treatment

Arthritis is an ailment which affects millions of people.  While some people may experience mild discomfort, others are in horrible and debilitating pain every single day.  No matter how mild or severe your pain is, you can probably benefit from some exercise.  Not only will it improve your overall health, it may also help combat some of your symptoms, leaving you pain free and help you with your symptoms.

Hip dysplasia with arthritis
Hip dysplasia with arthritis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We all know the importance of exercise, but arthritis patients will probably benefit more from strength straining exercises targeting their affected joints.  The best way to get this kind of workout is through a physical therapist.  They can provide you with exercises designed specifically to improve endurance, and muscle strength.  If you perform these exercises as prescribed, you will probably find yourself feeling better, or at least not deteriorating as quickly.  You may be able to do more, or your condition may simply worsen more slowly.  You can’t reverse the damage arthritis as caused, but you may be able to improve your quality of life.

Another type of exercise your physical therapist will probably recommend is flexibility training.  Many arthritis patients lose flexibility and range-of-motion in affected joints because pain is causing them to use the joint less.  Flexibility exercises can help keep the joints limber, enabling a better range or motion and increasing how much you can do with that joint.

A good cardio workout is just as important for people with arthritis as it is for everyone else.  However, unlike everyone else, people with arthritis don’t skip aerobic exercise because they’re busy, or tired - it’s because they’re in pain.  If performing everyday activities is painful, then you probably don’t want to consider doing anything more than that; however, there are exercises you can do to work your heart without severe pain or a worsening of your condition.  You should work with your doctor to find exercises that don’t stress, or even involve, the affected joints.  For instance, patients with severe knee arthritis can get aerobic exercise with table top bike-like devices which you pedal with your hands.  While this doesn’t help your affected joints directly, it improves your overall health, endurance, stamina, and circulation, which can improve your ability to handle your arthritis. Exercise can also temporarily relieve pain through chemicals in the blood. 

While exercise isn’t going to cure your arthritis, it may help to improve your condition.  To work properly, exercise should be combined with proper diet, getting enough rest, supplementation, and other treatments your doctor may recommend.  A combination of these therapies goes a long way for reliving arthritis pain. 

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