Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It often occurs later in life after the joints begin to wear down. After years of bending and moving, the cartilage in the joints starts to break down. This can cause pain and stiffness in the affected joints.
Typically, the symptoms start gradually and increase over time. The stiffness usually starts in one set of joints, like the fingers, hips or knees. While the joints do feel painful and stiff, there is no swelling associated with osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis symptoms are typically most prevalent in the mornings and towards the end of the day. An extended period of activity can also trigger pain. For example, if you have osteoarthritis in your fingers, a few hours of gardening can cause your joints to stiffen due to the amount of movement going on in the impacted joints.
Active Strengthening for Osteoarthritis
There are many things you can do to actively decrease osteoarthritis symptoms. Exercise and weight control are two of the most common things you can monitor in efforts to put less stress on your joints. Lack of exercise can lead to stiff and weak joints, so a healthy exercise regimen greatly reduces this.
Low impact and strength building exercises are ideal for patients with osteoarthritis. Water aerobics classes are perfect for those who feel weightlifting is too daunting. These classes often use special weights to further build strength, but the water doesn’t put any stress on your joints.
If you feel you can handle a little more of a challenge, half squats and lunges are great for knee and leg strengthening. When doing the half squats, start by standing straight. Next, squat down about half way between standing and seated position so that your knees are at about a 125-degree angle. Try to do two sets of 10-12 reps.
If you have stiffness in your shoulders or arms, you can perform arm circles to build strength. Stretch your arms to the side and keep them straight out. Then, make tiny circle as quickly as possible. Start doing them forward, and then in reverse. This exercise can be done almost anywhere.
Active Rehab and Manual Therapy
When the joints become stiff due to osteoarthritis, the body can start to overcompensate in other areas in efforts to try to minimize the pain. This overcompensation can lead to adhesions on the fascia and tight muscles and ligaments. These adhesions can inadvertently cause more pain in addition the the stiff joints. At Airrosti, our expert providers pinpoint the root cause of the pain and manually correct the underlying issue.
Active rehab, prescribed by your Airrosti provider, also helps to ease the pain. This rehab can consist of different stretches, Foam Roller exercises and Lacrosse Ball exercises. Depending on which joints are causing you pain, your Airrosti provider will develop a custom treatment plan. If your osteoarthritis has been causing you chronic pain, contact Airrosti today.