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 email@example.com or click here to book an appointment today.