Can exercise help my arthritis? Absolutely! Exercise can help relieve pain, increase strength in the muscles surrounding the arthritic joint and improve flexibility. There are exercises specifically designed to relieve a wide variety of pain. Knowing which exercises will help relieve YOUR pain and the proper way to perform the exercises specific to you, is my specialty. Over the past 10 years, I have become highly skilled at identifying which exercises will help each of my clients’ pain levels the most. They learn which exercises are most beneficial and the proper way to perform each. The results are nothing short of amazing.
One of my long-time clients, Theresa, was in a serious car accident almost forty years ago. As a result of her sustained injuries, she now has osteoarthritis in her hip. (Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage in a joint deteriorates and inflammation develops. It usually results from an injury or overuse of a joint.) When Theresa first came to me, she knew that exercise was a critical component in being healthy, but did not know which exercises might be most beneficial in relieving her pain. I started Theresa on the elliptical machine to help improve her cardiovascular health. Initially, she was not fond of it, but once she learned how to use it and became more comfortable, it soon became her favorite machine. The elliptical has helped by moving her hip joint, and increasing her range of motion. It has also helped her increase her stride and walk with confidence (prior, she was walking with a short stride and constantly looking down at her feet). Another benefit of using the elliptical is weight loss, which is working beautifully for her; her reduced body weight is putting less stress on her hip joint (which also helps lower pain levels).
Along with the elliptical machine, I taught Theresa many strength and range of motion exercises. (No one piece of equipment or technique works for every person or every pain issue.) After completing a thorough assessment and checking with her doctor, I determined which specific exercises would be best for her. With my guidance and instruction, Theresa learned how to do the exercises with proper form and progression. In learning the fundamentals of proper form while exercising, she can now do many exercises at home. Theresa has experienced other benefits from regular exercise as well, including controlled diabetes without medication, improved menopause symptoms, better sleep quality, reduction in restless leg syndrome, better balance, improved emotional well-being, and increased energy.
In addition to exercise, nutrition can have an immense impact on osteoarthritis, inflammation in the body and pain levels. By making some simple changes in your regular diet, you can greatly reduce inflammation and pain. Two changes that create a noticeable difference (rapidly) include consuming less fast food and eating more fruits and vegetables. (I can already hear the grumbles. “I don’t like vegetables.” Or “It’s too much work.”) By planning your meals for the week during the weekend prior, you can more readily enjoy healthy meals and cut back significantly on eating out (saving $$ as well!). Once you start enjoying the benefits of a more pain-free life, you’ll want to make advance food preparation and planning a priority.