Can You Exercise to Relieve Arthritis Pain?

By Joe Fleming from Vive Health

Exercise for Arthritis Pain

When we hear the term "arthritis," most people think about the joint pain elderly suffer from. Arthritis is most common in adults over 60 years old, but it is a disease even younger adults can be diagnosed with.

Arthritis is used as a broad term for joint pain, but there are many different types.  Some examples include Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Osteoarthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis.

However, arthritis is more than just pain in the joints. Other symptoms of arthritis are:

  • Swelling
  • Stiffness of the joints
  • Weakness of the muscles
  • Fatigue
  • Range of motion will decrease

All the symptoms of arthritis can make day to day activities increasingly more difficult as it progresses. There are different exercises that can help reduce the pain and other symptoms caused by arthritis.

Photo by  Paul Bence  on  Unsplash

Photo by Paul Bence on Unsplash

Why exercise helps

Adding exercise to the treatments the doctor already has you on allows you to work on building up the muscles around your joints.  Strengthening those muscles will add extra support to the joints. Exercising will also aide in maintaining and strengthening the bones.

An increase in energy will make getting through everyday activities easier, as well as improve your ability to get a good night’s rest.

Some medications used to treat arthritis can cause weight gain, but adding exercise to your treatment plan will give you the upper hand on controlling your weight. Exercise will help improve your balance, which will lead to less chance of falls.

Exercise: Let’s count the ways

  1. Hand exercises are great to help relieve arthritis pain in the hands and wrists. Squeezing a stress ball in repetitions is one way to strengthen and exercise the hands. Don’t have a stress ball? How about a couple rubber bands? Place the rubber bands around all five fingers. The resistance from the rubber bands when you to spread your fingers will help to build and strengthen the muscles in the hands and fingers. There are many ways to do hands and wrist workouts. The key is finding the best workout for you.
  2. Water aerobics is another great workout to add to your Arthritis treatments. The water puts less stress on the joints but still gives enough resistances to build and strengthen the muscles. It also is a great way to get that cardio workout as well.
  3. Walking is another exercise that is good to add to your Arthritis treatment. It builds and strengthens the muscles around the joints in the feet, knees and hips. It is important to take care of yourself while going on your walks by wearing your Arthritis knee sleeve.
  4. Doing exercises that are for range of motion help as well. Arm circles will help with with strengthening the shoulder joints. Rotating your head and neck will help alleviate neck pain.

Things to Keep in Mind when using Exercise for Joint Pain...

Keep in mind that it's always great to alternate your workouts.

It is important to work out a different muscle group everyday. So don't make it difficult - make an exercise plan! 

A good idea is to get a dry-erase whiteboard calendar the help guide which type of exercise you are going to do and for how long on certain days. This will help to keep you on a good workout schedule.

As you get more and more use to the workouts, increase your workouts gradually to about 2 total hours a day. Try breaking the 2 hours down into designated time blocks of maybe 15-20 minutes. You don’t want to over work your joints and muscles and causing yourself more pain. Moderation is key!

In Conclusion

Arthritis may seem like the end of your regular day to day life as you know it, but you can add exercises to your Arthritis treatment to relieve that Arthritis pain.

Make sure to talk to your doctor about adding exercise to your routine, so that they can give you some suggestions that will be beneficial for the type of Arthritis you have.  And if your doctor doesn't know much about exercise... they likely know a trainer who does!