Exercise Helps Osteoarthritis
By Dr. Doug
Osteoarthritis, the “wear and tear” type of arthritis, is not experienced solely by seniors but affects nearly 13% of Canadian over the age of 20. Osteoarthritis is now understood to be due to the body’s inability to repair tissues after extreme “loading” or strain on the joints, joint injury or obesity. These factors increase inflammation which then causes a break down of cartilage, especially in weight bearing joints. Some people will be strongly affected by pain, stiffness and swelling.
The most common treatment for osteoarthritis is anti-inflammatory medication. This approach has its place, but only for acute, painful episodes. In most cases, exercise is much more helpful as a way to manage osteoarthritis in the long term… but what type of exercise is best?
Stretching is helpful to loosen up tight muscles around arthritic joints, improve mobility and decrease pain.
Gently strengthen the muscles near the affected joint. You can do bodyweight only exercises that focus on movements we use every day, like getting in and out of a chair or going up and down stairs.
Low impact exercises to build cardiovascular health also improves the strength around arthritic joints. Swimming, cycling, walking, and working out with weights are all good ways to improve strength near the joint and reduce daily pain.
Even after doing these exercises, you may experience some pain at times. This is where hands on treatment helps. Deep Tissue Massage and Chiropractic treatment can help improve your range of motion, which you can then continue to maintain with your chosen exercises.
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