There are over 100 types of arthritis, diseases that affect the joints of your body. Almost 25% of American adults have some form of arthritis, with the most common being osteoarthritis. As the country’s population gets older, it’s a healthcare problem that’s becoming more prevalent.
Though arthritis is often degenerative and without a cure, treatments can often slow its progression. One of the essential ways to combat your condition and supplement other treatments is through exercise. The specialists at 360 Orthopedics regularly include exercise plans as part of an overall arthritis management program. Here’s why it’s so important, as well as some ways you can build exercise into your life.
The individual conditions that combine under the arthritis umbrella affect one or more joints in your body, typically causing deterioration of joint function along with mobility restrictions and pain. Osteoarthritis affects the largest number of people, over 32 million in the United States, with cartilage erosion as its characteristic effect.
Cartilage covers the ends of bones at a joint, providing both a cushion and a sliding surface for joint motion. As cartilage wears away, an affected joint suffers inflammation as the body tries to repair the damage. This brings pain and often limits the range of motion of the joint. Other issues, such as the formation of bone spurs, can result.
As the cartilage covering is lost, bones may start to rub directly together, causing pain as well as a grinding feeling. When joint deterioration reaches advanced stages, replacing the joint with an artificial, surgically implanted prosthesis may become necessary.
When your joints hurt, it’s natural to restrict movement until you feel better. In the case of an acute injury, that’s often the right course of action. Many types of arthritis are chronic. For joints, that means the rate of the deterioration is faster than the rate at which your body can counter the damage. There’s no point where resting permits healing to “catch up.”
Though osteoarthritis is a condition associated with wear-and-tear effects of daily life, low-impact exercise is one of the more effective ways to treat the pain and mobility problems that arthritis produces. The key is choosing low-impact activities.
The fundamental basis for arthritis is that some activity is better than none. When the activities are joint-friendly, it’s even better, since these limit the pain that exercise generates.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend using the SMART acronym to guide your arthritis exercise plan.
The team at 360 Orthopedics is the ideal place to start. We can help you with pain management plans as well as joint-specific treatments to assist your exercise goals. Call the nearest of our three locations to schedule a consultation today.