More than 92 million people in the United States have doctor-diagnosed arthritis or joint pain and inflammation, which means that a fair share of our population is in some discomfort. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for arthritis, but there are certainly ways you can slow the progression of the condition and live more comfortably.
To that end, the team here at Advanced Spine Care and Pain Management wants to review four great tips for people who have osteoarthritis (OA), which is the most common form of the joint disease.
While it may be the last thing on your mind if you’re dealing with achy knees or painful hips due to OA, you need to continue to move these joints. Not only are your joints designed to move, any movement encourages better blood flow and delivery of healing resources to the damaged tissues.
As important, the inflammation that’s causing your discomfort often sets up when the joint is at rest. By gently moving your arthritic joints, you can prevent inflammation and stiffness from setting in.
So, we’re not suggesting that you go out and run a marathon, but we are recommending that you go for walks to get your joints moving. If your joints are in a good deal of pain, practices like yoga that focus on stretching or non-concussive activities like swimming are ideal.
When the protective cartilage in your joints is breaking down, you need to take the pressure off the joint as much as you can. A fantastic way to do this is to beef up the muscles surrounding your joint. Stronger muscles provide more support for your joints.
For example, if you have OA in your knees, you can strengthen your quads and hamstrings, which are huge muscles that can take up much of the workload.
If you're unsure about what exercises would be best, we suggest you start with physical therapy, and we’re happy to help get you going.
The above two tips are focused on moving your arthritic joints, but we also want to caution against overdoing it. If you haven’t noticed already, when you move around too much on a damaged joint, you can suffer the consequences later in terms of pain and inflammation.
So, if you once enjoyed playing pickleball three times a week, perhaps bring that number down to once or twice and limit your play time. Or, cut that 4-mile run or walk in half and work on more sedentary strengthening exercises for the balance of your exercise regimen.
We want you to get out and be active, but know your limits.
You should also come see at the first signs of joint pain and inflammation, as early intervention can make a difference. We can provide you with pain-and-inflammation relief through joint injections, which allows you to take the other steps we outline above to support your damaged joints.
We can also turn to regenerative medicine to help boost healing resources within the joint.
Between early intervention and the steps you take on your own, you can slow the progression of your OA and avoid last-resort solutions such as joint replacement.
For more ideas and expert treatment of your arthritis, please contact us by clicking on the “request appointment” button or by calling one of our offices in Staten Island or Hartsdale, New York.