Use it or lose it; Easing Arthritis Pain

Living with a chronic condition, such as arthritis, can make it difficult and painful for you to complete daily tasks like running errands or using a computer mouse.

While arthritis limits your range of motion, alternative treatments, such as chiropractic care, can help you keep moving. Many people opt for chiropractic care and manual therapies to manage arthritis-related symptoms, rather than turning to invasive treatment or prescription medication.

Professionals like Dr. Kenneth Stelsoe, a chiropractor based in Waterloo, Ontario, often prescribe specific exercises to help their patients combat arthritis-related pain.

Use it or lose it

Because discomfort can limit your activity level, muscles begin to lose their strength, in turn limiting your range of motion and increasing your pain. “It’s the golden rule of nature. If you don’t use it, you lose it,” Dr. Stelsoe explains. “Most patients will benefit from prescribed exercise therapy. This can include stretching, strengthening, postural awareness, balance training and neuromuscular exercise.”

For some people, exercise-based therapy can be a challenge as our initial reaction to discomfort is to stop any action that triggers pain.

“The mentality is sometimes it hurts, so I won’t do it,” explains Ed Ziesmann, vice-president of education programs and services for the Arthritis Society. Pushing through discomfort and stopping when true pain is felt can ensure the exercise is healing you, rather than adding to your pain.

Find the right exercise for you

Although exercise has an increasingly positive effect on the body, it’s important to ensure you do the right exercises for your body. You can use controlled movements to build strength and improve your range of motion.

Swimming, low impact aerobics, cardio gym machines and weight bearing exercises are good examples of controlled exercises that can help get you moving again with less pain.

If you have a limited range of motion, consider lower impact activities like yoga, Pilates and other stretching-based activities along with chiropractic care, massage therapy and physiotherapy.

While exercise therapy is recommended for those living with arthritis, it’s important to note that exercise recommendations vary from person to person.  Exercises that are recommended for you will depend on your specific issues as well as your current fitness level and strengths.

You can work with a chiropractor to create an exercise therapy plan that makes sure your exercises relieve your pain instead of adding to it.