Managing Painful Arthritis with Exercise

Approximately 350 million people worldwide have arthritis. Arthritis is a condition defined by painful
inflammation and stiffness of the joints. Exercise may be the last thing on a person’s mind when suffering
from arthritis. But exercise is absolutely crucial. A person may think exercise will aggravate their joint
pain and stiffness, but that’s not the case. Lack of exercise can actually make your joints even more
painful and stiff.

Exercise can:

• Strengthen the muscles around your joints
• Help you maintain bone strength
• Give you more energy to get through the day
• Help you control your weight
• Enhance your quality of life
• Improve your balance

Keeping muscles and surrounding tissue strong is crucial to maintaining support for your bones.
Not exercising weakens those supporting muscles, creating more stress on your joints. Exercise is
considered the most effective non-drug treatment for reducing pain and improving movement in patients.

How Therapy Can Help!
Although exercise is extremely important in managing arthritis symptoms, it may be hard to get started
and to maintain an exercise program. Overcoming the hurdles of pain, exhaustion, or boredom can be
very difficult, especially on your own. A physical or occupational therapist can help you to overcome
these hurdles and gain success in maintaining your exercise routine.

Physical therapists evaluate your needs and teach you how to exercise appropriately for joint mobility,
muscle strength and fitness. Physical therapists can also recommend exercises for you to do on your
own. These exercises might include; range-of-motion exercises, aerobic exercise and strength training.
Occupational therapists can also help by teaching you how to protect and reduce stress on your joints
while exercising and performing daily tasks. Talk to your doctor today about the benefits of both
physical and occupational therapy for your arthritis needs!

Sources: Arthritis Foundation

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