Updated: Aug 15, 2021
Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that affects the joints in your body, the most common of symptoms being joint stiffness and pain, inflammation, reduced range of motion and joint swelling.
It's far from the end. Trust me.
One of the biggest myths about Arthritis (as a general condition) is that exercise makes it worse.
On the contrary, it's probably one of the best things for it!
This itself does have alot of variables as to how effective and what works best. Variables being the type of Arthritis you may have, what type of exercise aggravates or decreases your pain symptoms etc.
One of the best ways to start is to deload and try some low impact exercise like swimming, Pilates/Yoga, bike riding etc. Along with getting assessed by either a Allied Health Practitioner, Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist, this can greatly increase your chances of increasing your mobility, decreasing your pain and staying as healthy and optimal as you possibly can!
There’re heaps of different kinds (Psoriatic, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, arthritic associated conditions such as Fibromyalgia and Lupus just to name a few…), however the most commonly seen types being Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
OA is known as the “wear and tear” condition. It begins in an isolated (and normally weight-bearing) synovial joint, leading to the deterioration of the cartilage (shock absorbing tissue between the two articulating surfaces of a joint). The most common joint suffering from this you may see is the Knee’s and Hip’s due to the load and impact they go through day-to-day. You may hear the phrase “bone-on-bone” from some people that suffer from it quite substantially. This is when essentially the cartilage is worn down to the bare minimum, causing extreme stiffness, inflammation and discomfort.
RA is an auto-immune disease in which the joint becomes inflamed and thickens, causing a lot of stiffness, pain and inflammation. Essentially the immune system is attacking the joint.
It’s commonly seen in more proximal and/or smaller joints such as hands, fingers and wrists.
This can range from a mild condition (some joint swelling and inflammation) to severe (structural deformities including distortion to joint capsules and stiffness).
Other defining symptoms can include things such as fatigue, fever and appetite loss.
RA has now been linked to and appears with several other autoimmune conditions.
There is no known cure for Arthritis unfortunately, however this does not mean you're doomed, there is management!
Your basic things such as healthy diets and exercise are always a good start. Heat or Ice can also be very beneficial in subsiding pain. Myotherapy and Remedial Massage have proven to have significant improvements to increasing range of motion within joints and decreasing associated muscular pain.
Many Allied Health Practitioners are well equipped to help with any muscular aches and pains you may get as symptoms of Arthritis.
More intense treatments can be Corticosteroid injections, Arthroscopes and joint replacement surgeries.
As previously mentioned as well, exercise! This doesn't mean you have to walk into a gym and start pumping out heavily weighted back squats or do burpees or even run or jump. As long as your MOVING, your benefiting your body.
Exercise does so much for body, especially with conditions like this.
Not only does it do things like increase your blood flow and help increase joint mobility, but the cellular changes within the body are great. Increased HGH (Human Growth Hormone), Cortisol (helps to decrease inflammation) and Testosterone (some research as show low levels of Testosterone in men has had an impact on RA), just to name a few!
Everyone is different. This is the one BIG thing to remember. Not every person who has Arthritis will have the same outcome from a treatment as another.
Try different treatments, read different materials, don’t be afraid of your condition!
It may take some time to find the right type of treatment for you, it also may take some time to see results.
Own it, control it!