Simple Exercise Tips for Arthritis Patients
Approximately 350 million people around the world have some form of arthritis. The disease impacts the joints, causing recurring episodes of acute and chronic pain. To help ease this debilitating joint pain, many orthopedic surgeons in Plano, TX perform arthroplasty or joint replacement surgery, depending upon the patient’s condition. Going under the knife, however, is the last option that is suggested when every other possible treatment fails to provide relief. During the primary stages of treatment, it is essential for patients to exercise to increase joint strength and flexibility. However, when performing joint exercises, patients must avoid taxing their already stressed joints. The physicians who participate in the Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic Center referral line treat various forms of arthritis. To help avoid complications and get the maximum benefits, in this post, we list a few helpful exercising tips for arthritis patients.
1. Chose ‘Joint-friendly’ Exercises
When choosing the exercises to perform, patients must opt for activities that are easy on joints, such as walking, bicycling and water aerobics. Many doctors recommend performing muscle strengthening exercises at least twice a week as strong muscles can absorb some of the excess pressure on the joints. To avoid joint stiffness, patients also need to include flexibility exercises for the upper body (neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and finger) and lower body (lower back, hip, knee, ankle and toes) in their regimen. Individuals prone to falling, should perform balancing exercises such as walking backwards and Tai Chi on a regular basis.
2. Start low, Increasing the Intensity Gradually
When it comes to exercising, arthritis patients should avoid jumping the gun. To avoid overburdening their joints and muscle, they should start by walking five minutes a day. It’s important to allow the body to adjust to the new level of activity for at least 3-4 weeks before increasing the intensity. Individuals can add vigorous activities such as weight training to their exercise regime with their doctor’s consent after at least four months.
3. Look for Safe Places and Ways to Exercise
For beginners, who have not been active for quite some time, safety can be a major concern when performing exercises. To avoid the risk of injuries, such individuals can join an exercise class designed for people suffering from arthritis. People who want to design their own activity schedule should make sure their surroundings are safe before starting to exercise. For example, if they want to take a walk in the community park, they should make sure the sidewalks are wide, level, clutter-free and away from heavy traffic.
4. Apply Heat before Starting and Ice Afterward
Applying heat before starting to exercise can relax joints and muscles and help relieve pain. To avoid inflammation, patients can apply warm towels or hot packs for 20 minutes before starting to exercise. To avoid stressing the joints and muscles, they can also apply ice packs for up to 20 minutes after exercising, especially after activities that can cause joint swelling.
5. Learn Ways to Manage Stiffness and Pain
It is normal for arthritis patients to experience soreness and pain in and around the muscles and joints in the first 4-6 weeks of starting an exercise program. To manage pain during this period, they must reduce the frequency or duration of exercise until the pain subsides. To reduce the impact on the joints, they can swap their current exercise with an activity that does not stresses the joints. Patients should wear comfortable shoes and perform warm-up and cool down activities before and after exercising. Individuals should contact their doctor immediately if:
- They experience constant, sharp and stabbing pain
- Acute pain makes it impossible for them to walk properly
- They experience abnormal swelling
- Pain does not subside even after proper rest, medication and applying ice packs
Rise! Don’t Let Arthritis Pin You Down
Following a dedicated exercise regime is a highly suggested for patients suffering from arthritis. That said, overstressing their joints can do more good than bad. Patients should consult their therapist or doctor before starting with any new exercise program. If you are suffering from arthritis pain call us, we can help you find a reputable orthopedic doctor in Plano, TX. We are a referral center that can connect you with qualified orthopedic surgeons and physicians in Plano, TX. Visit our website or simply call 1-888-608-4762.
Physicians who are members of the referral program practice independently and are not employees or agents of Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic.