The Arthritis Foundation and Dr. Nikesh Seth encourage many arthritis patients to incorporate working out as part of their arthritis treatment regimen. However, there are many types of arthritis and everyone is different, so coupling safe workouts with pain management is often a recommended cocktail. Understanding how active to be, and with what kinds of activities, is critical for those with arthritis. There’s a lot of research that shows moderate activity can help slow down arthritis progression while optimizing a person’s function.
Mild soreness after a workout is expected, but sharp pain is your body’s way of saying something’s wrong. But that’s not the only challenge with arthritis and working out. Sometimes the fear of pain can keep a person from working out or working out correctly. There’s also a persistent myth that weight lifting can cause joint pain and problems (making arthritis pain worse), but that’s only true with improper technique.
During certain types of arthritis flare-ups, such as rheumatoid arthritis, it’s better to choose a shorter and gentler workout. It’s rare that the best recommendation is to avoid working out at all. Remember that joints and muscles get optimal nutrition via movement. Movement will also increase circulation and lubrication around the targeted area, making arthritis pain lessen. Low-impact activities like walking are always an option on particularly painful days or during flare-ups.
For those who have severe pain in a specific joint, try focusing on a different body part. Knee pain might mean swapping leg day for chest day. If you put stress on a joint that’s particularly sore from arthritis, there’s a risk of adding joint damage. Fortunately, you have other body parts (and other options) when it comes to your workouts. Anyone who feels severe pain during a workout should stop immediately—and that includes non-arthritis patients. It might be your body signaling inflammation or damage in the joint.
Working out is just one of many non-drug ways to make arthritis feel better. To learn about more options, connect with Integrated Pain Consultants and make an appointment today.