A common misconception is that a person can “get rid of osteoarthritis,” more commonly known as arthritis. The only true way to get rid of arthritis is to completely replace the joint with surgery. Once arthritis has begun in a joint, the aches, pains, and stiffness will soon follow. However, there are effective ways to manage those pains and improve the quality and mobility of the joint.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cushioning between joints, known as cartilage, begins to wear away. This causes grinding of the bones that make up the joint in question. The grinding then leads to pain, swelling, and stiffness. A clear indication of arthritis is the presence of “crepitus”, which is an audible grinding noise when moving a joint. Arthritis can occur from obesity, genetics, trauma/surgery, and/or with age. The longer arthritis goes unmanaged, the worse the joint will become and can lead to needing a joint replacement surgery.
How Can You Manage Arthritis?
The best thing for your joints is mobility. This allows fluid to move freely through the joint, helping to feed the cartilage and decrease stiffness. Enablr Therapy has highly qualified therapists that know what exercises you need to not only improve joint mobility, but decrease the risk of any extra damage.
Watch Your Weight
As this is a major factor in early onset arthritis, it is important to focus on managing your weight. Putting less pressure on your joints allows them to stay healthy longer, decreasing the risk of joint damage.
When the joint swells, pain sets in. Pain will limit your movement and activity, which in turn makes the arthritis worse. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories assist with decreasing pain, as arthritis causes inflammation within the joint. Alternating ice for 10 minute and heat for 15 minutes to the affected joint is also an effective method for pain reduction. Applying ice packs to the joint will relieve inflammation and swelling, while the heat will promote blood flow to the joint for decreased stiffness. Speak with your doctor and/or therapist about ways to manage your pain.
Avoid Damaging Activities
Swimming is one of the best exercises for your joint health. By submerging yourself in water, all of the added pressure from weight and gravity are lifted while you are exercising. Cycling and walking are also good, low-impact activities. The high-impact activities (like jumping, running, etc) add more stress to the joints and put you at higher risk of arthritis. These activities should be limited or avoided, depending on the current quality of your joints.
Balancing rest and activity will help maintain joint health. We use our hands for several activities every day, and often, they get overlooked as a location of potential arthritis. If pain or stiffness starts to develop, listen to your joints! Slow down, rest, and stretch. Avoid creating added pressure to joints by practicing good body mechanics and using larger joints for bigger movements, rather than relying on your hands and fingers for big tasks. Keep your hands and fingers in neutral positions as much as possible to avoid deformities.
Enablr Therapy has highly qualified therapists that are ready to help you or your loved one with this actual pain in the neck… or back, knees, shoulders, etc. Click here to learn more about our therapy services and see how we can help!
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, February 5). 5 Proven Ways to Manage Arthritis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/management.htm.