For decades, osteoarthritis has been considered a part of aging. But not anymore. Recent research points out that older people don’t have to suffer from osteoarthritic pain. And, surprisingly, people much younger than 65 can develop osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis (OA), or degenerative joint disease, affects more than 20 million Americans and is more common in women than in men. The disease affects the cartilage—slippery tissue on the ends of bones that meet in a joint. Normally, cartilage helps bones glide over one another. In an OA patient, however, the cartilage is broken down and eventually wears away.
As a result, instead of gliding, bones rub against each other, causing pain, swelling, and loss of motion. Although the majority of patients with OA are 65 and older, recent research shows that osteoarthritis is not a by-product of aging. Family history of OA, being overweight, lack of exercise, and prior joint injuries are suggested as OA risk factors.
It used to be the case that when people were diagnosed with arthritis, they were told to rest and take drugs.
How times have changed.
Exercise is one of the best forms of OA treatment— and prevention. It strengthens the muscular support around the joints and improves and maintains joint mobility and function. In addition, exercise helps control weight and improves the patient’s mood and outlook— important factors influencing the severity of the symptoms.
If you suffer from OA, consider the following exercise tips:- Low-impact or non-weight-bearing activities, such as walking, stationary training, and light weight training work best for OA patients.
– Use strengthening exercises if the key muscle groups that relate to the function of the joints are weakened by the degeneration.
– If you are overweight, start exercising carefully, so as not to put too much stress on the knee and ankle joints.
– Stair climbing, water aerobics, Theraband workouts, and similar exercises will help to keep the joints mobile without straining them.
– Learn to read the body’s signals and know when to stop, slow down, or rest.
If you have OA, chiropractic may be able to help you relieve the pain and improve joint function naturally, without resorting to constant reliance on over-the-counter prescription drugs. Call our office at 425-778-9600 for a consultation.
— Dr. Waldron