Five Ways to Relieve Arthritis Pain

Arthritis has no known cure–just relief from pain. It’s called– exercise. Below are 5 exercises that are designed to bring joint relief, relieve stress and assist in weight loss. They can be fun too.
Doctors say that physical activity  is the best medicine  there is for arthritis pain relief, .
Patience White, M.D., chief public health officer of the Arthritis Foundation and professor of medicine and pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine states that exercise can decrease pain, especially for people with osteoarthritis which is the most common type of arthritis.
 In the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews it was reported that exercise, such as walking, was  as effective  as drugs like Aleve or Advil in reducing knee pain.
By working out regularly it  may prevent sore joints and stop arthritis from getting worse.
Kevin Fontaine, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Center for Mind-Body Research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore states that  physically active people  have a higher quality of life and are less likely to become disabled or have days with lots of pain.
 Workouts also keep off the pounds. Obesity can increase the risk of arthritis and/or make its symptoms worse.
 Just 20 minutes three times a week or two 10 minute intervals is enough to make a difference according to Arthritis Today, the journal of the Atlanta-based Arthritis Foundation.
There are also new medications that can help relieve arthritis pain and swelling allowing patients to work out according to  Halsted Holman, M.D., professor emeritus of medicine and former director of the Stanford Multi-Purpose Arthritis Center at Stanford University’s School of Medicine.
Generally it is necessary to begin exercising only with a physician’s agreement.
A workout should be a challenging experience, but not painful enough to cause injury, Dr. Holman says.
 If you have sore joints or muscle pain that continues for even two hours after exercising or if the pain is worse the next day then the exercises were overdone. In that case the workout should be shortened or done more gently.
Here are 5 arthritis exercises that are sure to ease  arthritis symptoms:
1. Walking
 Walking is known to strengthen muscles, which in turn helps shift pressure away from the joints, and reduces pain.
 It also brings nourishing oxygen to the  joints by compressing and releasing cartilage in the knees.
 The Arthritis Foundation recommends walking 10 minutes at least 3-5 days a week to start.
As you progress, take longer walks and include short bursts of speed getting to a moderate pace until you are able to walk 3-4 miles an hour.
 People with serious hip or knee problems should first check with their doctor before beginning a walking program.
2. Water Exercise
How it helps: The University of Washington Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine recommends warm water – between 83˚ F and 90˚ F – to help relax  muscles and decrease pain.
Swimming and aerobics exercises in water are good for stiff, sore joints.
Water also supports the body as one moves. This reduces stress on the knees, hips  and spine, and offers resistance without any weights.
Water exercises are  ideal for people who need to relieve severe arthritis pain in knees and hips.
Arthritis Today quotes “Water provides 12 times the resistance of air, so one is  really strengthening and building muscle”.
When immersed in the water don’t pedal faster than 50-60 revolutions a minute. Add resistance  after a warm up period of  five minutes and don’t add more pedaling than you can handle.
Matthew Goodemote, head physical therapist at Community Physical Therapy & Wellness in Gloversville, N.Y.  says that indoor cycling is one of the best ways to get a cardiovascular workout without stressing weight-bearing joints.
 Since there’s no need to lean the bike to turn a stationary bike is  a good option for people with balance issues – a common problem among some arthritis patients.
 When starting this arthritis exercise be sure that the seat height is at a position which allows the knee to be completely straight  when the pedal is at the lowest point, according to the University of Washington Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.
One should not pedal faster than 50-60 revolutions per minute. A warm up period of five minutes should be allowed at first. Then patients should start 5 minute sessions 3 times a day. Then increase gradually to 7 and up to 20 minutes a day providing there is no pain.
 People with very painful knees should avoid indoor cycling, because it can aggravate the condition.
4. Yoga
 Steffany Haaz, MFA, a certified movement analyst, registered yoga teacher and research coordinator at Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center says that beginner yoga classes that have simple, gentle movements gradually build balance, strength  and flexibility  which are elements that can be  beneficial for people with arthritis.
Yoga  reduces inflammation, increases energy and, in general, allows for a more positive mental outlook, according to Psychosomatic Medicine, an Ohio State University study published in their journal.
To start, take a class at a  gym,  community center or yoga studio. You can find a certified teacher through the Yoga Alliance, the accrediting body for yoga instructors worldwide. It is important to tell the instructor before class about your  arthritis  so that they can  modify poses to accommodate your limited mobility.
For those that prefer doing Yoga at home,  there is a company called Gaiam that produces yoga videos and recently collaborated with the Mayo Clinic to produce a DVD entitled  “The Arthritis Wellness Solution” . It contains tips from specialists and a segment showing specific yoga for arthritis sufferers  and includes meditation exercises which are designed to enhance circulation and  relieve tension which helps relieve arthritis pain.
 Yoga should never hurt. If it does that means it’s overdone.
Straps, blankets and chairs can be used  to accommodate people with  limited range of motion, strength or balance.
5. Tai Chi
This traditional style of Chinese martial arts  goes back centuries and features slow, rhythmic movements to induce mental relaxation and enhance balance, flexibility and strength.
Tai chi is very valuable to arthritis patients because its movements are very slow and controlled. They put little force on the joints.
Some studies have shown that Tai Chi can improve life satisfaction, mental well-being  and perceptions of health, which oppose negative effects of  pain associated with arthritis.
The November 2009 issue of Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology has an article that describes Tai Chi as being beneficial for knee pain. Another research study by a Tufts University group found that Tai Chi was especially helpful for patients that were over 65 and had knee osteoarthritis.
According to another university’s Orthopedics and Sports Medicine department, Tai chi should preferably be done in the morning,  when there is  least pain and stiffness, when you’re not tired and when the arthritis medication is most effective.
Taking a warm shower is always a good idea before exercise if joints are stiff.
One of the most effective exercise programs for arthritis sufferers is by using the TUTOR system of physical therapy products. The HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR were originally designed to help patients that suffered a stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s or other upper and lower limb disabilities. However much relief has been gained for arthritis patients as well  who would like a challenging and entertaining system of exercising arthritic joints. The TUTORs are ergonomically designed gloves and braces that contain sensors connected to sophisticated exercise games. The physical and occupational therapists monitor and record the progress made and design a customized exercise program for that patient.
Currently in use in leading U.S. and European hospitals and clinics the TUTORs are fully certified by the FDA and CE. They are also available in the home through the use of telerehabilitation and can be used by adults and children from the age of 5 and up.
See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for further information.
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