For patients with pain in their joints, the thought of exercise can be, well, painful.
Yet exercise is critical to relieving pain. That is because exercising painful joints helps replenish necessary lubrication to joint cartilage and can reduce stiffness, inflammation and pain. In addition, for those with pain in weight-bearing joints, such as the lower back, hips and knees, exercise can support weight loss and alleviate extra pressure on the joints.
But for those with joint pain, it is important to remember that not all exercise is the same. The goal is to improve the joint’s range of motion and strength without causing additional damage.
Recommended Exercises to Reduce Joint Pain
Pain can strike any of the body’s joints, including the hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, and hands. There are a number of general low-impact exercises that can be beneficial in improving blood cerculation. These include:
· Cycling: Cycling is one of the best workouts for sore knee joints because it moves the joint through a full range of motion. This produces more of the lubricating fluid that protects the joint while at the same time strengthening neighboring muscles and ligaments.
· Swimming: ISwimming can provide an overall workout with the lowest impact to joints. The water provides the necessary resistance to build strength while also providing buoyancy that softens the impact of movement. It also offers a great aerobic workout for the cardiovascular system.
· Stretching: Think of stretching as the body’s pre-heat stage. Just as you have to warm up the oven before baking, you need to warm up the major muscles and joints before engaging in more active exercise. Stretching increase blood flow, strengthen muscles and increase muscle temperature.
· Tai Chi: Researchers at Tufts Medical Center in Boston have found that Tai Chi’s can improve balance, reduce stress and offer arthritis pain relief.
· Walking: One of the best ways to combat joint stiffness is to move the joints. For those with knee arthritis, walking is a great way to do this. Some people find that applying heat to the knees before walking can help alleviate some discomfort. The key is to start slowly. Even 10 minutes of walking several times a day can reap tremendous benefits.
· Yoga: According to the Arthritis Foundation, yoga has been proven to help people with arthritis improve joint pain and stiffness. It can help improve muscle strength, balance and flexibility, while also reducing stress and anxiety.
What if Exercise Alone Isn’t Enough?
In some cases, exercise alone will not be enough to address joint pain and stiffness. Contact Dr. Lal and the professionals at Integrative Spine & Sports to learn more about how exercises can be combined with a more comprehensive approach to chronic pain relief. Get in touch with the team today by filling out the form below: