Are you struggling with joint pain and inflammation?
If so you aren’t alone. Roughly 1 in 4 American’s struggle with joint pain on a regular basis. The truth is as our society ages that number is likely only going to go up.
You see, in the human body, cartilage and connective tissues protect the ends of bones.
With the passage of time and lack of care, these tissues wear out and the corners of bones are exposed. The bones then rub directly on each other and cause pain a condition known as Osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis often results in significantly compromised mobility. If the condition worsens, it may lead to knee and hip replacement surgery. One of the biggest if not the biggest risk factor for this disease is obesity.
There is a general myth that exercises worsen osteoarthritis. However, as per recent studies, exercise is actually beneficial as it strengthens the joints and enhances the movement of the human body.
Strength training has numerous health benefits. Weightlifting includes a variety of exercises ranging from bench press, deadlift, bicep curls, shoulder press to upright row.
But you don’t even need to use weights to strength train. Certain exercises (the pushup for example) can help increase your strength just by using your bodyweight.
Here is how strength training can benefit patients with osteoarthritis:
1. Enhances muscle endurance
According to the journal “Rheumatology”, muscles around the joints are critical for the health of joints. Strength training exercises like wall squats, chest presses and straight-leg raises strengthens these muscles.
2. Strengthens the bones
Strength training puts pressure on the joints of the hips and knee. This pressure increases bone density. It also reduces inflammation around the affected joints.
3. Reduces joint stiffness
According to a study, it is highly recommended that osteoarthritis patients do strength training exercises at least twice a week. These exercises assist in the repairing the connective tissues around the corners of the bones and reduce joint stiffness.
4. Reduces obesity
Being overweight or obese increases the likelihood of this chronic disease as it puts enhanced pressure on the joints. Strength training exercises are effective for burning calories and maintaining weight.
5. Improves balance
Strength training helps in maintaining balance and coordination. As a result, a person can prevent accidents and falls which are often a negative and dangerous consequence of living with osteoarthritis.
Physiotherapy assists in managing osteoarthritis and teaches people to overcome the barriers imposed by the disease. The following ways can assist patients with osteoarthritis:
1. Motion and flexibility exercises
A physiotherapist examines the joints and muscles that are affected. After inspection, they assign a suitable exercise program and help perform those exercises. The program is to be maintained for at least 6 weeks in order to assess the outcome of it.
2. Use of modalities
Sometimes physiotherapists recommend heat or cold therapies or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for recovery from osteoarthritis.
3. Assistive devices
Sometimes the condition of the patient has worsened to such an extent that physiotherapists recommend mobility aids such as wheelchairs. It is important that even for these patients in wheelchairs an appropriate exercise plan is designed and implemented.
4. Group exercise classes
Physiotherapists also conduct and recommend group exercise classes so that the patients are encouraged to work out in groups.
Educating patients and motivating them is critical for recovery from osteoarthritis. The ideal way to overcome this disease is mainly through self-management. Unfortunately, this disease tends to worsen over time so you should consult a doctor as soon as you experience any joint problems such as stiffness.