Control osteoarthritis pain with activity and diet
It’s a common misconception that osteoarthritis means you can’t exercise. Staying active is vital for heart health, but too often knee and hip pain leads to less activity and exercise from pain. Stretching, strengthening surrounding muscles, focusing on anti-inflammatory foods and staying active can ease osteoarthritis pain.
Speak with your doctor before starting any form of exercise, especially if you have been sedentary. You may want to ask for a consult to a physical therapist to learn proper technique and monitor your progress.
Changes in the joints that occur with osteoarthritis include cartilage wear and tear and loss of synovial fluid that causes bone destruction, pain and inflammation.
Common areas affected are the neck, back, hips and knees. Osteoarthritis is associated with aging and damage from high impact activities and exercises.
Strengthening is easy
It’s important to keep the muscles around the joint strong to reduce stress on the knee, hip or other painful area. Muscle wasting, or atrophy, can only make osteoarthritis symptoms worse.
Lie on your back and squeeze the knee, holding for 2 to 3 seconds. The exercises don’t put any weight on the joint.
You can also perform straight leg raises. Lay on your back and raise the legs straight up, being careful not to bend at the knee. Only go as far as is comfortable.
The same exercise can be done lying on your side and raising the leg straight up. Leg raises strengthen the hip and back.
Exercising for osteoarthritis pain can also be performed in a pool.
Many Medicare Advantage plans offer free gym memberships. Find out if there a local gym with a year round pool in your area to gain arthritis pain relief and cardiovascular benefits from exercise.
If you suffer from knee osteoarthritis, focus on exercising your upper body with weights or resistance bands.
Gentle stretching keeps joints limber