Living Well with Osteoarthritis: A guide to keeping your joints healthy


Review from Harvard Medical School:

Arthritis can be distracting. Distressing. And disheartening. It can make you hesitant. It can frustrate — and even prevent — you from doing all the things you love to do. It is, quite literally, a pain.

The good news is that you can live — and live well — with osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis. You can get relief from its pain and its consequences.

Don’t let arthritis pain get in your way!

End the relentless aches and aggravation and start enjoying a more active and pain-free life once again!

The report will brief you on breakthroughs in joint replacement surgery. Do you want to learn about the role of physical therapy as well as complementary procedures. And because medications remain the first line of defense, the report examines the effectiveness, safety, and possible side effects of more than 40 medications used to treat arthritis and relieve its pain.

Self-care strategies for coping with arthritis: Exercise

Even the healthiest people find it difficult to stick with an exercise regimen. But those with arthritis commonly discover that if they don’t exercise regularly, they’ll pay the price in pain, stiffness, and fatigue. Regular exercise not only helps maintain joint function, but also relieves stiffness and decreases pain and fatigue. Feeling tired may be partly the result of inflammation and medications, but it’s also caused by muscle weakness and poor stamina. If a muscle isn’t used, it can lose 3% of its function every day and 30% of its bulk in just a week. A recent review of numerouse studies asserts that both aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises are safe and effective for people with chronic arthritis. Below are brief summaries of different forms of structured exercise programs (most of which are offered by local Arthritis Foundation chapters) and their potential benefits.

Land-based programs. These include community-based group classes led by health or fitness professionals with specialized training in instructing people with arthritis. Examples include Fit and Strong!, a program targeted to older adults with osteoarthritis; the Arthritis Foundation’s Exercise Program (AFEP); and its Walk with Ease program. All include some combination of a warm-up routine and three standard exercise goals, plus specialized activities to enhance body awareness, balance, and coordination. Studies have found that people with arthritis in their hips, legs, and feet who took Fit and Strong! classes were able to exercise longer, felt more confident about their ability to exercise, and reported less joint stiffness compared with those in a control group. Many of the benefits lasted between six and 12 months. Those attending AFEP classes for eight weeks had less pain, stiffness, and fatigue, and these improvements persisted at least six months, as well. In one study, people who completed the Walk with Ease program (which also teaches participants about managing their disease) had more confidence, less depression, and less pain, compared with participants who attended classes focused on pain management.

Water-based programs. Also known as aquatic or pool therapy, these group classes are done in water that’s nearly 90° F and feature a variety of exercises, including range-of-motion exercises and aerobics. According to one study, people who took the Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program improved knee and hip flexibility, as well as strength and aerobic fitness. Other investigations suggest water exercise lessens pain and boosts physical functioning, and the benefits after the 12-week session were sustained for three months after the last class.

Strength and resistance training. This form of exercise, which uses equipment such as weight machines, free weights, and resistance bands or tubing, strengthens not only muscles but also your bones and your cardiovascular system. Resistance training improves muscle strength, physical functioning, and pain. One Japanese study compared people with knee osteoarthritis who either took NSAIDs or did twice daily knee extension exercises to strengthen their quadriceps (the muscles on the front of the thigh). At the end of the eight-week study, both groups had less pain and stiffness, as well as improved functioning and quality of life.

Tai chi. With origins in Chinese martial arts, this low-impact, slow-motion exercise also emphasizes breathing and mental focus. A number of small studies suggest tai chi helps people with different forms of arthritis, mainly by increasing flexibility and improving muscle strength in the lower body, as well as aiding gait and balance. The Arthritis Foundation, along with Dr. Paul Lam, a family physician and tai chi instructor, developed a standardized form of tai chi designed specifically for people with arthritis. Based on Sun-style tai chi, one of the discipline’s five major recognized styles, it includes agile steps and a high stance (meaning the legs bend only slightly).

Yoga. Scant research has explored the benefits of yoga for people with arthritis. One study showed that people with knee osteoarthritis who took eight weeks of Iyengar yoga (a form of yoga that focuses on correct body alignment, and uses blocks, belts, and other props to assist in performing postures) had less pain and could function better at the end of the study. Another study of people with rheumatoid arthritis found benefits from participating in twice-weekly Iyengar sessions for six weeks — namely, less pain and depression and greater mobility. But both studies were quite small, and neither included a comparison group.

For further information please visit Dynamic Osteopaths or contact us at info@dynamicosteopaths.com

The Secret To Joint Pain Relief – Exercise


Review from Harvard Medical School 2014

The secret to joint pain relief — exercise

Joint pain: it throbs, aches, and hurts. It may make you think twice about everyday tasks and pleasures like going for a brisk walk, lifting grocery bags, or playing your favorite sport. Sharp reminders of your limitations arrive thick and fast, practically every time you move.

What are the causes of joint pain?

  • osteoarthritis
  • old injuries
  • repetitive or overly forceful movements during sports or work
  • posture problems
  • aging
  • inactivity

How can exercise can help joint pain?

Ignoring the pain won’t make it go away. Nor will avoiding all motions that spark discomfort. In fact, limiting your movements can weaken muscles, compounding joint trouble, and affect your posture, setting off a cascade of further problems. And while pain relievers and cold or hot packs may offer quick relief, fixes like these are merely temporary.

By contrast, the right set of exercises can be a long-lasting way to tame ankle, knee, hip, or shoulder pain. Practiced regularly, joint pain relief workouts might permit you to postpone — or even avoid — surgery on a problem joint that has been worsening for years by strengthening key supportive muscles and restoring flexibility. Over time, you may find limitations you’ve learned to work around will begin to ease. Tasks and opportunities for fun that have been weeded out of your repertoire by necessity may come back into reach, too.

Beyond the benefits to your joints, becoming more active can help you stay independent long into your later years. Regular activity is good for your heart and sharpens the mind. It nudges blood pressure down and morale up, eases stress, and shaves off unwanted pounds. Perhaps most importantly, it lessens your risk of dying prematurely. All of this can be achieved at a comfortable pace and very low cost in money or time.

For more on developing and mastering a plan to relieve your joint pain, please feel free to contact us at www.dynamicosteopaths.com or email us on

 

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