If untreated, chronic joint inflammation can result in permanent damage and deformation to the joint. Fortunately, there is something you can do NOW to avoid this damage (without surgery)…gentle workouts for arthritis!
Written by: Coach Todd
It can be frustrating, to say the least, to try to describe the experience of having this debilitating, chronic, invisible illness to someone who has never had arthritis.
That constant pain in the background, like static from a radio or television that is always on… Some days it’s easier to ignore, while other days you feel like going under the knife is the only option.
But it isn’t.
For many individuals, medications and surgery are the last resorts to relieve arthritic pain (as they should be). But, when left untreated, they may become the only option.
In order to avoid these unfavorable outcomes, we must commit to the proper steps to relieving joint pain NOW… and here’s how to do it!
First, What Causes Joint Pain?
Arthritis is the tenderness and swelling of one or more of your joints. The main arthritis symptoms are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age.
Joint pain may have causes that aren’t because of underlying illness. Examples might include:
As you age, the protein Collagen — that builds cartilage in your joints — begins to deteriorate, causing aches and pains to occur (keep reading to see what you can do about this)!
Arthritis or Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common types of arthritis, causing pain, swelling, reduced range of motion, and stiffness. Follow the steps below to see how to reverse these symptoms.
Performing repetitive movements or wearing worn-out sneakers can worsen joint pain primarily in the legs, which can sometimes travel up the body to the hips, pelvis, and back. Consider alternative exercises or modifications to avoid overuse.
Poor posture or slouching can lead to tension and pain in your neck, upper back, lower back, and shoulders, causing unnecessary strain on sensitive joints. Try these key workouts below to reset your posture to avoid pain.
Injuries, Impact, or Trauma
Injuries to the joints and surrounding tissue can cause joint inflammation and pain. The severity of the injury depends entirely on the damage. But, by taking the right precautions, we can heal the damage and keep pain at bay.
Inactivity or a Sedentary Lifestyle
Americans spend 93 percent of their lives sitting indoors — and 70 percent of every day. Sedentary living has a direct negative impact on our well-being and health. The steps below can, however, help you fight this harmful way of life.
Diseases such as Hashimoto’s, Thyroiditis, or Fibromyalgia increase inflammation throughout the body, often settling on joints. Work with a doctor to gain control over these autoimmune disorders before following these next steps.
The body is exceptional at compensating for injuries, so when muscle pains/dysfunction occur, our joints take over… this leads to excess pressure that must be treated prior to addressing arthritic symptoms.
Lack of Sleep
Poor sleep quality or quantity contributes highly to fatigue, aches, and stiffness within the joint. However, improving sleep quality is simple, and highly effective in reducing early morning joint pain.
Best Workouts For Arthritis: Preserve Your Joints and Increase Strength
Each of these joint pain causes has one underlying connection — exercise helps to alleviate the pain!
Workouts for arthritis have many forms, so you can choose one or two that fit your lifestyle. Take a look at these arthritis exercises for some ideas on how to relieve chronic pain:
In addition to reducing stiffness and pain, warm water exercises have a soothing effect that helps to increase exercise tolerance. Continuous adjustment to a dynamic environment increases body awareness, and also increases posture and motor control.
Tai Chi is a slow and gentle exercise that offers benefits such as flexibility, muscle strengthening, and endurance training to older adults. You can even do Tai Chi from a chair!
People with different types of arthritis who regularly practice yoga may reduce joint pain, improve flexibility and function of the joints, and reduce stress and tension to promote better sleep. Try these simple yoga movements to lessen the symptoms of arthritis.
Isometric exercise — holding a joint in a fixed position for a given period of time — has been shown to immediately reduce tendon and joint pain, and to improve muscle performance and strength. These gentle, yet effective isometric exercises can be done with just a towel!
Bodyweight Strength Training
As individuals with arthritis perform isometric exercises and improve their strength, they may advance to other types of force training. Strength training can help to reduce pain and improve physical performance. Here are some quick tips to get started strength training.
It’s Important to Remember These Workouts are not Done in Isolation.
While the above exercise strategies are a great starting point, combine these movement types with other healthy lifestyle choices.
Here are some bonus tips for you!
- Drink plenty of water: Water helps to flush out any excess inflammation hiding in our joints after exercise.
- Stress Management: Stress increases inflammation and makes your joints stiffer and swollen. Manage stress, and you may just notice that your joints perform better.
- Relaxation & Breath Control: If you breathe deeply while doing your exercises, then relaxation will help. Also, you can also change the way your body experiences and relays sensations, including pain, when you start breathing with more control, patience, and deliberation.
- Natural Endorphin Release: Anxiety and depression, can make chronic pain even more difficult to handle. Endorphins block pain signals and help curb both of those conditions.
- Immune System Support: Research shows that a boosted immune system can help to reduce joint pain, reduce inflammation, improve skin health, and accelerate recovery after exercise.
Arthritis medications and surgery are not your only options! Simple strategies like moving more, drinking plenty of water, and stress management are great options to reduce pain and relieve arthritis symptoms.