What You Can Do About Arthritis
Treatment OptionsThere is no arthritis cure -- natural or not (see Natural Cures for Arthritis). There also is no single treatment that applies to everyone or every type.
Your healthcare provider will develop a treatment plan designed to minimize your specific pain and improve the function of your joints. Some of the treatment options that he or she will consider include:
- Medication (see Arthritis Medications)
- Other pain-relief options, such as applying heat or cold, soaking in a warm bath, or swimming in a heated pool
- Exercise and weight control (see Arthritis and Exercise)
- Surgery (see Hip Replacement or Knee Replacement)
- A proper diet (see Arthritis Diet)
- Alternative therapies.
(Click Arthritis Treatment for more information.)
Does Exercise Help?Many people with arthritis wonder if it is okay to exercise. The short answer is absolutely. Studies have shown that exercise helps people with the condition in many ways. In these people, exercise has been shown to:
- Reduce joint pain and stiffness
- Increase flexibility and muscle strength
- Improve cardiac fitness and endurance
- Help with weight reduction
- Contribute to an improved sense of well-being.
But everyone is a little different, so the amount and form of exercises recommended for each individual can vary, based on:
- Which joints are involved
- The amount of inflammation
- How stable the joints are
- Whether a joint replacement procedure has been done.
Three types of exercise are best if you have arthritis:
- Range-of-motion exercises, such as dancing. These exercises relieve stiffness, keep you flexible, and help you keep moving your joints.
- Strengthening exercises, such as weight training. These exercises will keep or add to muscle strength. Strong muscles support and protect your joints.
- Aerobic or endurance exercises, like bicycle riding. These exercises make your heart and arteries healthier, help prevent weight gain, and improve the overall working of your body. Aerobic exercise also may lessen swelling in some joints.
(Click Arthritis and Exercise for more information, including how to start an exercise program and how much exercise is too much.)