A certain degree of arthritis is inevitable as you age, especially osteoarthritis, the kind that wears away the protective cartilage in your joints. But no matter which of the more than 100 types of arthritis you have, to some extent you can control how quickly it progresses, how much pain you suffer, and how you let it affect your life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 54 million adults suffer from arthritis in the US, making it the leading cause for disability.
But the debilitating disease doesn’t mean you can’t — or shouldn’t — move at all. Dr. Damon Christian Kimes at Roswell Pain and Weight Loss Specialists understands the pain and decreased mobility you deal with daily when you have arthritis. That’s why he and our team make accurate diagnosis and treatment of this common affliction a high priority. And a big part of that is getting you moving again. Here are some tips for staying active despite your arthritis.
Why is activity good for arthritis?
You’ve heard it said that a body in motion tends to stay in motion, and a body at rest tends to stay at rest. This law of physics certainly applies to your arthritic joints as well. The less you use them, the less usable they become as stiffness and pain increase.
But moving your joints comes with multiple benefits, including:
- Lubricating your stiff joints
- Strengthening the supportive muscle around the joints
- Preventing bone loss
- Reducing inflammation
Regular exercise also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which in turn can lower your risk for health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, and colon cancer.
How to stay active despite your arthritis
When you’re ready to get moving, Dr. Kimes recommends sticking to some basic guidelines.
Take it easy
Just because exercise can improve your arthritis symptoms doesn’t mean you should go run a marathon. More isn’t necessarily better. It’s important to talk to Dr. Kimes about the activities you find enjoyable, as those are the ones you’ll likely stick with. In general, it’s best to begin with low-impact activities like walking the dog, cleaning the house, and running errands. These normal, everyday activities can ease your pain and stiffness.
Change it up
Variety is key to staying the course, so don’t get stuck in a rut. When you’re ready for a little more, introduce new exercises slowly, and always check in with Dr. Kimes before embarking on a new routine, especially if it’s ambitious. He may suggest some modifications to make sure you don’t damage your arthritic joints.
The best activities for your arthritis work out your body with minimal impact on your joints. Here are a few that might interest you:
- Water aerobics
- Tai chi
- Standing on one foot (for better balance)
- Resistance bands
If you feel pain while exercising, stop. The point is to condition and strengthen your body, not torture it, so listen to it when it hurts.
How to treat arthritis
While there’s no cure for arthritis, there are many ways to to treat the pain and stiffness that come with it. Exercise is an all-natural, free way to address your symptoms on your own, and a healthy diet can do wonders to ward off painful inflammation. But when you need a little extra help easing the pain and swelling, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can get you through some rough patches.
Dr. Kimes may recommend corticosteroid injection for severe or chronic pain that prevents you from doing normal activities like walking, cooking, and getting in and out of bed.
And if he determines that imbalanced hormones are exacerbating your arthritis symptoms by affecting your bones, he offers BioTE® hormone replacement therapy to strengthen your bones and keep your joints as healthy as possible.
To find out more about how to exercise safely with arthritis or treat your painful symptoms, call our office in Roswell, Georgia, or book an appointment with Dr. Kimes online today.