A rthritis is a degenerative disease that attacks the joints, causing them to swell and become tender. The inflammation makes them stiff and can cause a lot of pain, which is often difficult to manage without painkillers. However, alternatives do exist and can improve the patient’s quality of life, although the results are not expected to appear on the spot. A change in diet that can lead to weight loss can bring some relief to the knees, while working out regularly can prevent the aggravation of the illness. In this article, we explore some of the most reliable therapies and physical exercises that can provide relief and make living with arthritis easier, so stay with us if you are looking for a solution.
If one of your knees is affected by arthritis, your physician will recommend you to keep moving despite the momentary pain you may experience, and the reason is that movement helps strengthen leg muscles, which can sustain more of the pressure put on the legs. This way, the burden on the joints is decreased, and the risk for complications is lower. However, when it comes to aerobics, not any type of exercise works. For instance, if you decide to do step climber exercises or treadmill, you may soon discover that your arthritis has become worse. Specialists recommend including only low-impact exercises in your routine, and here are some ideas you could try:
Compared to aerobics, which requires doing a lot of reps until your heart rate increases, thus helping you have better cardiovascular health and lose weight, strength workouts focus on helping your body develop endurance and avoid injury. This study has shown that strength exercises improve physical function and reduce pain in individuals suffering from arthritis with small to moderate effects. Here are some ideas you can use to build a daily exercise routine:
Yoga requires that you have your body and mind become one and is a great stress reliever. While it is true that some exercises demand good body strength and excellent balance, which are not the strongest qualities of an individual suffering from arthritis, some routines are more accessible. Beginner yoga classes include simple movements designed to strengthen the body and build flexibility. This clinical trial, for instance, has shown that if hatha yoga replaces regular exercises as a complementary treatment to ultrasound treatment or transcutaneous electrical stimulation, better results in knee pain reduction and flexion, swelling reduction, and walking time are obtained.
One thing every person suffering from osteoarthritis dreams about is that, for one moment, at least, they can walk without feeling their body weight pressing on their joints. While water isn’t really a zero-gravity environment, it does reduce the impact on your joints, providing temporary relief. But this isn’t all. Swimming is an excellent way of putting your body to work and increasing your cardio activity, which can result in improved flexibility and balance. Swimming for half an hour three times a week can make an immense difference. You can also try water aerobics, which is proven to be useful after surgery.
Physical exercise is essential to reduce the symptoms caused by arthritis and prevent it from taking over your body. But you can move on multiple fronts and fight this disease more efficiently if you pay attention to other aspects of your lifestyle.
The more you weigh, the more pressure you put on your knees, so it is important that you determine your BMI and do your best to lower it if it isn’t optimal. This can imply changing your eating habits – try to eat less meat and more vegetables and whole grains, renounce unhealthy snacks and sweets, sodas, fat-packed food, and so on. Also, design an exercise routine – even if we are talking low-intensity exercises – and stick to it.
47% of the individuals who have arthritis have diabetes as well, says the data on the Arthritis Foundation website. Uncontrolled blood sugar can lead in time to nerve impairment and aggravate joint pain, causing arthritis to evolve toward a more serious stage. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, the best you can do is keep to the régime and take the treatment prescribed by your doctor. Conversely, if you suspect that you may have high blood sugar, you shouldn’t wait anymore and go test your blood glucose, so you can get the treatment you need.
Last but not least, having sore and weak joints can only mean that you are more predisposed to injury, so you should be extra careful when doing everyday activities. For instance, do not do sudden movements, do not jump, and do not run unless really necessary. Wear comfortable shoes that will grant you good adherence no matter the surface on which you are stepping. If you are not feeling confident in your legs after surgery, don’t hesitate to use a set of crutches. Remember that your joints are fragile, and it will be more difficult to deal with an injury than to prevent it from happening.
Dealing with arthritis requires a lot of patience, and it can be overwhelming sometimes, this is why no one will blame you if you take a painkiller. However, it is important to be aware of alternative therapies that can help you alleviate pain and make your life easier even without drugs. From simple calisthenics you can do every morning to elliptical exercises you can do at work in case you have an office job, the range of exercises is generous. Then again, you can pick swimming or yoga, which will help you reduce anxiety and have a clear mind while dealing with the pain caused by the disease.