Thursday, September 27, 2012

Does exercise help osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis or "common arthritis" is the gradual wearing down of the joint's hyaline cartilage. Our joint's have a shiny, smooth surface at the end of each bone which allows friction and free motion. When this area becomes damaged, thinned or worn away it is known as osteoarthritis. The rubbing of the damaged area is painful and the repetition leads to inflammation, swelling and more pain.

Three kinds of exercises you can do if you have osteoarthritis:
Exercise is considered the most effective non-drug treatment for reducing pain and improving movement for people with osteoarthritis.  Keep in mind that exercise should be balanced with rest and joint care. If your joints hurt or you have redness or swelling, rest your joints and then try again.  Other treatments include physiotherapy, podiatry, anti-inflammatories and supplements such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin.  These supplements are not heavily researched, however they are still widely prescribed to help people with osteoarthritis.

You may not be able to perform like you did when your were in your twenties, but the smart person who continues to exercise is one who adapts their training and works with their body, not against it.  As always, before starting any training regimen, speak to your doctor first and then decide which exercises may be best for you.  Many people have made changes to their lifestyle after being diagnosed with osteoarthritis and continue to enjoy daily exercise.

References from the SIRC Collection: 

1. Better adherence to exercise means better relief from osteoarthritis pain. Research Review (International Council On Active Aging). July 28, 2010;10(27):2-3.
2. Christensen K. Ease the Pain of Arthritis With Exercise. American Fitness. July 2009;27(4):12-13. 
Exercises in Warm Water Can Help Relieve Osteoarthritis Pain. PT: Magazine Of Physical Therapy. January 2008;16(1):66-68.
3. Focht B. How Knee Osteoarthritis Patients Can Use Exercise to Enhance Quality of Life. ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal. September 2012;16(5):24-28.
4. Page P. Knee osteoarthritis: strength training for pain relief and functional improvement. Functional U. September 2003;1(6):1-6.
5. People with osteoarthritis feel better with exercise and the right shoes. Research Review (International Council On Active Aging). March 24, 2010;10(12):2-3.

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