Last week, whilst researching exercises for osteoarthritis of the knee, I stumbled across the Arthritis Research UK website. For those of you who are interested, it is a great tool, with lots of sensible information and advice on many arthritic conditions.
The key message that I took from the website with regard to osteoarthritis, was that when patients are diagnosed with osteoarthritis, they often panic, they stop exercising or doing the things they enjoy, through fear of making the condition worse. This is understandable, but it is really important to remember that although there isn’t currently a cure, it doesn’t necessarily get worse over time, and most importantly, there is a lot that you can do to help yourself, such as:
· Maintaining a healthy weight, to decrease strain on the joints.
· Cardiovascular and muscle strengthening exercises, to help with weight loss/maintenance, improve cardiovascular fitness and to keep the muscles that surround the joints strong. If you are someone that doesn’t enjoy exercise, perhaps you can build it in to your day, by walking to and from work, walking in and getting the bus home, or simply getting off the bus a few stops early.
If exercise seems to worsen your symptoms, try something that is low impact, such as swimming or water-based aerobics. The following link will take you to a handy little set of muscle strengthening exercises for patients experiencing knee pain (exercises for other joints are also available on their website). I thought these were great, as they are easy to do and you could even incorporate them into your day, perhaps whilst sat at your desk, or whilst watching the TV at night: http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/exercises-to-manage-pain/knee-pain-exercises.aspx.
· Seeking help, be that through your GP or Consultant if you have one, or through supportive interventions, such as the manual therapy offered by osteopaths. Although we cannot reverse the damage to your joints, we can work with you to maintain or increase joint and muscle flexibility, as well as support any other areas of your body that might be suffering as a result.
If you suffer with any kind of arthritis, you may find the website really useful, here is the link: http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment call 01315572211