While healthy human beings tend to take our ability to stretch and move around for granted, patients afflicted with osteoarthritis know how vital movement is to living. Almost 27 million individuals in the United States alone suffer from this condition – which primarily inhibits joint movement.
Ask any athlete what it feels like to be benched, adding insult to injury, which is usually the case… and you’ll probably be able to empathize with what patients have to deal with when suffering with osteoarthritis.
It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that Osteoarthritis is physically debilitating but most importantly, mentally devastating…
An Introduction to Osteoarthritis
Most people consider osteoporosis and osteoarthritis to be one and same. Nothing can be further from the truth. The former has to do with the weakening of the bones while the latter is a condition related to progressive damage that occurs in joints such as the spine, feet, hands, hips and knees.
Of all the symptoms related to osteoarthritis, pain is the most common of them all followed by stiffness where the patient cannot move the affected joint as well as people who are completely fit.
Now there are several reasons why one might suffer from osteoarthritis ranging from old age, abuse of your joints, obesity, loss of strength of muscles supporting joints, the misalignment of bones and the impairment of peripheral nerves among several others.
And no, exercise doesn’t cause osteoarthritis but in fact works wonders in therapy, and something that we will look at shortly.
Facts about Osteoarthritis
Similar to other diseases, osteoarthritis has the distinction of not being curable, and this is why doctors consider early diagnosis and treatment to be vital to managing the disease successfully.
Some of the facts related to osteoarthritis include:
#1: It is the most common form of arthritis where the weight-bearing joints such as the hips, knees and spine are the most susceptible.
#2: The reason why this condition is so devastating to patients is not only because of the pain but the fear of the pain which is commonly experienced when they try to move the affected joint or joints.
#3: This condition tends to affect women much more than men, especially after the age of 55. Men over and at this age don’t suffer from this condition as much as men below this age.
#4: This condition is commonly associated with the elderly but it is possible that people of all ages can suffer from osteoarthritis due to the aforementioned causes.
#5: With no cure, the focus of osteoarthritis is to slow down the disease from progressing, helping them to resume normal movements as well as eliminating pain – which is possible by administering medication, joint protection techniques, weight control and most of all, exercise.
Exercises for Osteoarthritis
Probably the greatest deterrent for people who are considering certain exercises for osteoarthritis is the fear that they will experience pain while also harming your joints further. However, experts believe that exercise is probably the most effective way by which you can improve movements and reduce pain if you have osteoarthritis.
There are three types of exercises that can help you with this: aerobics, muscle stretching and flexibility exercises. One type of exercise which can work well for osteoarthritis patients is simple movements in yoga.
Also, here’s a link to a video that demonstrates a workout routine for people who have osteoarthritis, and in particular those who haven’t exercised in a long time.
As always, you should consult your doctor before trying any of these exercises on your own.
Just remember that movement is life, and how we treat our bodies now, can go a long way in preventing osteoarthritis.