Arthritis – You’re Not Powerless

Arthritis is commonly associated with “getting old” after a life of “working too hard”, but that’s not always the case.

There is plenty you can do to not only manage Arthritis, but also to prevent its onset no matter what age you are, or what kind of life you’ve led.

First, let’s take a closer look at what we’re dealing with. Arthritis is actually an umbrella term for a number of painful conditions involving the joints. When people discuss Arthritis they usually refer to the condition osteoarthritis which could mean any of the following:

> the smooth cartilage that lines bones (so they can glide smoothly within joints) has worn away
> there are bone growths emerging in/around the joints
> there is pain swelling due to damage concerning the tissue around the joint

How do I know if Osteoarthritis is what I’m dealing with?
Osteoarthritis is usually characterised by pain and swelling around the joints (including spine), limited range of motion and pain in the affected area. If you’re unsure, best to book an appointment with your GP or physiotherapist.

It sounds like exercise is out of the question, right?
Definitely not. Most people are surprised to find that exercise can be the best (and most inexpensive) protective factor for osteoarthritis and an excellent way to manage it. Exercise is also a fantastic way to keep those pesky risk factors at bay, such as obesity (or being overweight), having low bone density and lower muscle and ligament function (where your body could easily be strained).

If moving hurts so much, why would I bother exercising?
Exercising can definitely be uncomfortable if you are already suffering with osteoarthritis, but the improvements will mean less pain in the long term. Resistance training is the perfect way to start, but here is what our aims are:
> better body composition, and a manageable weight – to take the pressure off the joints
> higher quality soft tissue, including muscles and ligaments mean more flexibility, range of motion and circulation to the areas affected
> higher bone density – to help regeneration of tissues in the area, and prevent further damage

Resistance training does all these things and more! Swimming, pilates, yoga, cycling, lifting weights, using resistance bands and even leisure activities like golf, paddle boarding and even a brisk walk are fantastic options because they also provide the opportunity to raise your heart rate AND provide all the benefits listed above.

Overall, the idea is that by encouraging your body to become stronger, you can not only prevent the chronic condition osteoarthritis, but become a more active (and less pain-stricken) version of yourself, regardless of your age!

The team at Progressive Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy are experienced in a range of areas including tailored exercise programs for individuals with chronic conditions like osteoarthritis. Contact the practice today on (02) 4721 7798, email info@progressiverehab.com.au or click here to book an appointment today.

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, working in the cardiac rehabilitation program, heart failure service and mental health unit at Nepean Hospital. And at the ACU Exercise and Lifestyle Clinic working with clients with neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since graduating, Andrea enjoys working with a variety of clients. She has a particular interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions, striving to help people increase their functional capacity to get them back to work, sport or the things they love doing.