Osteoarthritis affects millions of people every year. The symptoms can be anything from a mild ache to debilitating pain that can prevent you from performing activities and can eventually result in a joint replacement.
Osteoarthritis is the degeneration or break down of a joint. The first step in the process is the breakdown of the cartilage that surrounds a joint. After the cartilage breaks down, the joint will slowly start to wear away. This can eventually result in bone rubbing on bone, which is extremely painful.
Once you have osteoarthritis, you cannot get rid of it. You can slow down the progression of the degeneration, but you cannot reverse it. But there are many things that you can do to manage the pain and prevent the joint from wearing down even more.
If you have knee arthritis and run, it will irritate the knee arthritis and cause it to progress faster than it would otherwise. All of that impact from running affects the knees and can make them worse. Same goes for low back and hip arthritis, and even neck and mid back arthritis. The impact from running or other high impact sports will translate all of the way up into your neck and shoulders. And when you have arthritis in a joint, that joint is going to feel the impact first. It is already irritated and will get further irritated by high impact exercising.
Low impact exercising can be very good for arthritic joints. Yoga, Ti Chi, Pilates are all good systems that will improve balance, coordination, flexibility and strength without the impact. If you can strengthen up an affected joint and stretch out the surrounding muscles it will make a huge difference in pain and the activities you are able to perform. The stronger a joint is the more stabile it will be. This will translate stress away from the painful and arthritic joint because the muscles will be better able to support it.
Stretching out the surrounding muscles of an arthritic joint can also take some stress off the joint and more importantly help you maintain your range of motion. As arthritis progresses in a joint it will affect the surrounding muscles. Compensating for the injured joint will cause you to use the muscles in a different manner then how they were designed to be used. This will cause the muscles to tighten up over time which will restrict range of motion. If this progresses long enough, you can lose range of motion for good. So stretching out the surrounding muscles will take stress off the joint and maintain your range of motion.
The following article goes over some basics about living with osteoarthritis. The exercise and nutrition program from pain-free lifestyle is set up for those of you with arthritis and chronic pain. It is low impact and set up to be easy on your body and improve your daily functioning and activity. Check out the article then check out the pain-free lifestyle approach.