Arthritis, specifically, osteoarthritis, is an inflammation of the joint. It is one of the most common disabilities in the US. It is the result of wear and tear at the joint, leading to breakdown in joint cartilage. It’s one of the main things that stops us from doing activities that we love, from exercising, to traveling, to doing household activities. Some level of arthritis is a normal age related change, and practically everyone over 40 has some degree of arthritis. However as we age the level of arthritis and coinciding activity limitation can increase. Risk factors that increase the severity of arthritis include frequent joint injury or infection, obesity, poor movement habits, and genetics. Find out how you can manage arthritis by reading our top 5 tips below!
One of the main side affects of arthritis is pain, and pain means to stop your activity right? WRONG. The best way to manage arthritis is to keep moving. As a colleague of mine once said, motion is lotion, because if you don’t use it you’ll lose it. Our bodies are meant to move and when we stop moving things tend to worsen. So if it hurts, what should you do?
Top 5 Tips to Manage Arthritis:
- Talk to a Physical Therapist: PT’s are movement specialists and they can teach you how to move without hurting or aggravating your joint pain. A PT will also provide an exercise program to help safely return you back to the activities you love to do.
- Manage Pain with heat as long as there isn’t swelling, or ice. You can also manage your pain through compression. For example using a neoprene brace around your painful joint. Remember these techniques will help manage pain in the moment, and are not long term solutions.
- Stay Active: For a longer term solution, keep active! Try low impact aerobic activities. If you’re a runner and it increases your pain too much, try walking, swimming, or biking. Then call a PT to help get you back to running. Also, try muscle strength training with resistance (bands or weights) to get your muscles stronger. The best way to keep active with arthritis is switching up the routine by adding variety.
- Try Balance Exercises: With increased pain and decreased activity, you have a higher risk of falling. Simple balance exercises, such as standing still with heel in front of toe, or standing on 1 leg can help keep you nimble.
- Listen to Your Body: Don’t be afraid to move, but also know when it’s time to take a rest. A day or 2 is appropriate, however if you’re having issues for longer then it’s time to consult a specialist.
Physical therapy is a great resource in managing pain. For more information on how Action Potential can help you, request an appointment today.