There are two forms of arthritis: osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This article focuses on osteoarthritis, which is the most frequent form.
Osteoarthritis causes pain in the joints, especially the knees, hips, shoulders and back. It can affect almost any joint in the body. It is most often associated with aging, a long-term result of joint injury, and/or it is genetic. It can also occur as a result of repetitive work tasks, a sedentary lifestyle, or unknown causes. If you have been diagnosed with this form of arthritis, you likely have been prescribed medication. This is effective for managing many arthritis symptoms but may not be the best or only treatment for you.
Treatment Options For Arthritis Pain:
Glucosamine Chondroitin supplements
Fish Oil supplements
Other joint supplements
Exercise (in the water may be the most tolerable)
Surgery (last option, only if all other treatments have failed and pain limits daily function)
How Movement Affects Arthritis Pain:
Even if you have joint pain, it is important to keep that joint moving! If not, it will get progressively stiffer and lose the ability to move in its full range of motion. The joint likely will hurt more if it is not moved for an extended period of time. Exercise is a big part of Physical Therapy treatment of arthritis joint pain. There are some options to make exercise less painful: ice, heat, in the water, and/or with medication. It is important to exercise without worsening the problem. For example, replace jogging with walking, bicycling or swimming. Or replace basketball with yoga or upper body weight training.
Components of Arthritis Exercise:
1. Range of motion exercise: Move the joint in its full available motion, even if it is painful.
2. Strengthening exercise: Strengthen the muscles surrounding the painful joint, for added stability.
3. Flexibility exercise: Stretch the muscles and tendons to increase their length and allow for better joint motion.
Remember that your pain may be effectively managed with 1-2 months of Physical Therapy treatment! The arthritis does not disappear, but the symptoms may improve significantly. There may be some movements, exercises, postures, or strategies that significantly reduce your joint pain and enable you to do more activities with less pain! Aquatic Therapy (water therapy) may be ideal for you, especially if exercise out of the water is too painful to tolerate. If you belong to a gym, water aerobics may be your best option. Land exercises you may prefer are the stationary bike, walking, or the elliptical machine.
Can Arthritis Be Prevented?
The best way to prevent arthritis pain at an older age is to be healthy and active starting at a young age. Avoid traumatic injuries if possible. Maintain a healthy weight throughout your lifetime. Exercise regularly, including moving all your joints in their full available motions. Practice good posture in your youth and adulthood. Wear proper and supportive shoes with all exercising. Get routine physicals and notify your physician of all minor joint pain. Start a lifelong habit of healthy eating.
Please comment below if you have found another effective treatment!