LIVING WITH ARTHRITIS: SHOULD YOU LIMIT OR INCREASE MOVEMENT?
The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is a condition that affects more than 27 million Americans. Osteoarthritis results from erosion of bone and cartilage in and around joints, leading to pain and limited mobility. The condition is associated with natural processes of aging, as joints lose cartilage, bone spurs develop, and other degenerative issues impact a person’s comfort and flexibility.
Should I Stop Being Active?
People often think that being diagnosed with arthritis means that they can’t—or shouldn’t—be physically active anymore. Certain exercises might hurt to do, so the common perception is that an affected person needs to be less active in order to avoid making the condition worse.
This way of thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, one of the best ways to counteract the effects of arthritis is to be physically active. It is essential that you continue to move. You might experience some pain at first, but over time increased exercise will limit the pain and ultimately improve joint motion through these key factors:
1. Smoother Movement
Synovial fluid can be thought of as the lubricant that helps joints move smoothly and freely. The more you move, the more synovial fluid is created in your joints. In other words, moving makes moving easier.
2. Improved Circulation
When you exercise, the blood flows throughout your body more efficiently. This brings more oxygen and nutrients to the joints, helping them work more efficiently and with less pain.
3. Energy Boost
Physical movement provides a boost of energy that is good for the mind, body, and spirit. Just sitting around makes you more depressed and complacent.
4. Injury Prevention
Physical activity is good for the body on all levels. Improved motion in the joints helps prevent injuries and will also improve balance and coordination, so you decrease the chances of falling and hurting yourself that way.
5. Rebuilding Cartilage
Studies show that increased joint movement actually helps rebuild cartilage. Rather than doing nothing and letting the cartilage deteriorate, you can proactively help improve your joints through exercise.
How Can CORE Physical Therapy Help with Arthritis?
Before starting an exercise routine to improve osteoarthritis symptoms it is important to develop a workout plan that will get results without risking injury. For example, swimming is a great form of exercise because it gives you full range of motion with low impact on the joints. Physical therapy can also help stave off the effects of arthritis and keep you moving freely.
Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed with some form of arthritis or you have been living with it for years, CORE Physical Therapy is here to help. We tailor each our services to the needs of each patient. Our experienced therapists can help design an exercise, stretching and ongoing therapy plan that will help manage your arthritic pain and improve movement in your joints and muscles. Contact CORE Physical Therapy today for an initial physical therapy consultation and learn more about how to live an active life without letting arthritis slow you down!