Anyone who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or fibromyalgia, can tell you how much having one or more of this conditions can effect day to day life. Not only do sufferers of these conditions find themselves living in intermittent or constant pain, but they suffer from chronic inflammation, and limited range of movement, which often makes completing even simple tasks difficult if not impossible.
In the case of fibromyalgia, these symptoms are made worse by feelings of weakness in various areas of the body.
While there are a variety of treatments one can use for either arthritis or fibromyalgia, exercise should be part of every treatment plan. Not only is exercise a natural treatment for these two conditions, but it has been proven effective in reducing pain, inflammation, and stiffness, while increasing the range of movement for most people.
How can Moving Painful and Stiff Joints Help
Let’s face it, when you are in pain, the last thing you want to do is move that painful area of your body over and over, and you probably find yourself wondering how in the world exercising that painful area of body is going to lessen the pain, and help you to better manage the condition.
The truth is that exercising those areas that are inflamed and painful, can not only reduce inflammation in the affected area, but can strengthen those muscles around the area, which will help you to move with more ease and confidence.
If you have ever went to a pain management clinic as part of your treatment, you will note that more often than not, exercise is involved in your treatment. However, you should also note that there is no one specific exercise that is right for everyone who has arthritis or fibromyalgia.
Each individual person’s condition is different, and so are the exercises used to treat the condition. However, here are some common features that most of the exercises for the treatment of arthritis and fibromyalgia have in common.
Low impact exercises are essential to the treatment of arthritis and fibromyalgia. This is why oftentimes exercises for these conditions are done in heated pools. The heat from the water penetrates into the joints, helping to relieve some of the pain and the stiffness, while the water provides a low impact way for you to get those muscles and joints working without any hard jarring that might cause even more damage.
Other low impact exercises may include using elliptical trainers and stationary bikes, as these two are a great way to get low impact exercises while getting that heart rate up, and increasing oxygen levels to those sore and aching parts of the body which helps them to heal.
Resistance exercises are also part of the treatment for arthritis and fibromyalgia, as these exercises increase muscle strength in the muscles surrounding the affected joints, giving the joints much needed extra support, which can over a period of time, help reduce the number of flare-ups from these conditions.
How to Exercise at Home
If you lack the funding or insurance to be able afford to go to a physical therapist or a pain management clinic to help you control your arthritis or fibromyalgia, then ask your doctor if he can give you some simple exercises you can do at home. Trying some yoga, particularly the breathing exercises, can help you control the pain caused by either of these conditions.
Range of motion exercises will enable you to slowly increase your range of motion and therefore the types of physical activity you will be able to perform. Simple stretches and other easy types of range of motion exercises are the best types of exercises to start with, as they will help increase your range of motion and ability to move, without putting too much pressure on those painful and swollen joints.
Keep in mind that when you first begin exercising as part of your arthritis or fibromyalgia treatment, it is going to hurt, especially if you have not exercised in a while. It is going to take 6 to 8 weeks of exercising 2 or 3 times a week before you will really start feeling the benefits. But stick with it, as the results are well worth it for most people.
In the meantime, after each exercise treatment, try walking or swimming in a heated pool, or taking a warm shower, and if possible get a massage. This can help to alleviate some of the soreness caused by the exercises and from the condition itself.
Eventually, as your muscles begin to strengthen and your joints begin to respond to the exercises, the pain will lessen, your range of movement will improve, and you will feel better knowing that you are taking an active part in controlling your arthritis or fibromyalgia.
Do you suffer from arthritis or fibromyalgia? How is your life affected? Do you get all the help you need?