If you’re one of the over 32.5 million American adults who live with the aches and stiffness of osteoarthritis, a healthy lifestyle is a key part of your treatment plan.
This degenerative form of arthritis stems from wear-and-tear of cartilage in your joints over time, especially in your knees, neck, knees, lower back, and fingers. No matter where your symptoms occur, physical fitness can help.
Our expert team at Houston Pain Specialists, led by board-certified pain management specialist Hui Kang, MD, can help you identify and manage osteoarthritis discomfort while slowing its progression.
Here, we explore several benefits of exercise when you’re managing this disease.
Activities such as walking improve blood circulation throughout your body. This is important when you have osteoarthritis, given that poor arterial health can contribute to the disease by increasing inflammation in your body.
On top of that, poor circulation commonly causes joint pain. So by engaging in low-impact aerobic exercise, you lower your odds of additional or worsened joint pain.
Healthy weight control
When your body carries excess pounds, that weight can place added stress and strain on your joints. That’s one reason that obesity raises your risk for osteoarthritis. Routine exercise is a powerful way to ensure you’re burning calories you absorb from foods and using them for energy.
If you’re new to exercise or if you’re overweight, you may want to consider swimming or aquatic exercises. The buoyancy of the water takes pressure off of your weight and joints, particularly your knees and hips, and adds some resistance for increased muscle strength.
Increased strength and flexibility
Speaking of strength, many different activities can help increase yours so your body can better protect and support your joints. Other strengthening activities include resistance band exercises, pushups, situps, and weightlifting.
Exercise can help you increase and maintain flexibility, too, which can stave off injuries and pain related to osteoarthritis. On the flip side, a sedentary lifestyle can cause or worsen stiffness and pain. Exercises that increase flexibility include proper stretching, yoga, Pilates, and tai chi.
Additional treatments for osteoarthritis may include:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Bone realignment
- Lubrication injections
- Pain relievers
- Steroid injections
An overall nutritious diet, healthy sleep habits, and stress management can help, too.
Dr. Kang can help determine your best exercise program, based on your unique needs and preferences. To learn more about osteoarthritis or to get the care you need, contact our Houston, Texas, office today to schedule an appointment.