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Should Arthritis Patients Exercise?

 

Years ago, doctors hardly ever told arthritis patients to “go take a hike” or “go for a swim.”  Arthritis was considered an inherent part of the aging process and a signal to a patient that it’s time to slow down.  However, recent research and clinical findings show that there is much more to life for arthritis patients than the traditional recommendation of scaling back and drug therapy.

The word “arthritis” means “joint inflammation” and is often used in reference to rheumatic diseases.  Rheumatic diseases include more than 100 conditions: gout, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and many more.  Arthritis causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints.

Exercise is critical in successful arthritis management.  It helps maintain healthy and strong muscles, joint mobility, flexibility, endurance, and helps control body weight.  Rest, on the other hand, helps to decrease active joint inflammation, pain, and fatigue.  Arthritis patients need a good balance between the two: more rest during the active phase of arthritis, and more exercise during remission.  During acute systematic flares or local joint flares, patient should keep their joints moving through their full range of motion  with periods of rest.  To see how much rest is best during flares, patients should talk with their health care providers.  If patients experience unusual or persistent fatigue, increased weakness, a decrease in range of motion, an increase in joint swelling, or pain that lasts more than one hour after exercising, they need to talk to their  health care providers.

How Can Chiropractic Help? 

If you suffer from arthritis, your doctor of chiropractic can help you plan an exercise program that will:

  • Help you restore the lost range of motion to your joints.
  • Improve your flexibility and endurance.
  • Increase your muscle tone and strength.

Remember, having arthritis doesn’t mean you have to be confined to bed rest or give up your activities.  If you suffer from arthritis, talk to your doctor of chiropractic; we can help.

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