How I Managed My Own Arthritis Through Stretching & Exercises
HOW I AM MANAGING MY OWN ARTHRITIS THROUGH EXERCISES & STRETCHES~ HOW WE CAN MANAGE YOUR’S!
Exercise is crucial for people with arthritis, whether it’s rheumatoid or osteoarthritis.. It increases strength and flexibility, reduces pain, and helps combat fatigue. However when you’re feeling stiff and your sore joints are already limiting you, the thought of exercising seems overwhelming and often painful.
I unfortunately have been diagnosed with both kinds of arthritis. I could not manage my pain and range of motion if I didn’t practice both daily stretches and exercises. Having more of a physical job I need to stay as pain free as possible. Often we think it’s better if we rest and don’t aggravate our joints, but in actuality the more immobile you are, the more painful your joints will become. That's because keeping your muscles and surrounding tissue strong is crucial to maintaining support for your bones. Not exercising weakens those supporting muscles, creating more stress on your joints
**Stretching pulls APART the joints while also strengthening them, thus preventing joint damage in the first place. It creates a space for the lubrication and healing synovial fluid to enter. The fluid prevents grinding on the joints while also healing any damage. It also prevents the squeezing effect that is the actual cause of pain and damage. When joints grind together, muscles and tendons are prone to tears and strains.
Range of motion is important for even walking. For example, If your shoulders are tight it will affect your gait, your back knee only comes up as far as your back extends.
Exercise can help you improve your health and fitness without hurting your joints. Along with your current treatment program, exercise can:
--Strengthens the muscles around your joints
--Helps you maintain bone strength
--Gives you more energy to get through the day
--Makes it easier to get a good night's sleep
--Helps you control your weight
--Enhances your quality of life
--Improve your balance
WHY WE HAVE JOINT PROBLEMS:
BEING SEDENTARY: ATROPHY- the wasting of muscle tissue caused by disuse and atrophy. Muscles lose their elasticity, becoming smaller, drier and stiffer and their shrinkage causes joints to compress eliminating the space necessary for synovial fluid to lubricate the joints. This results in disintegration of the disc or cartilage leading to bone on bone arthritis).
POOR WALKING/RUNNING HABITS: running or walking on heavily hard surfaces develop joint trauma. Even good shoes can’t spare the slamming effect. Plus muscles are constantly contracting and never lengthening. Shortened muscles cause bones to squeeze the joints together. Both the head of the joint and shortened muscles squeezing the joints leaves no space for synovial fluid to lubricate as well as no room for the cartilage to slide smoothly.
EXCESSIVE MUSCLE CONTRACTION/ SHORTENING OF MUSCLES: After years of too much muscle contraction ( weight training, overuse), muscles will shorten. This restricts movement and range of motion, leading to pain, stiffness, and arthritis.
HOW THE ANKLE JOINT AND MUSCLES AFFECT YOUR ENTIRE BODY, INCLUDING YOUR HEART AND CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM!
When ankle joints and the foot muscles are weak and/or tight there is limited mobility in the ankles. This determines how much energy we will have available as well as affecting how we walk. Stiffness in ankles causes tension in the calf muscles, which causes tension in the quadriceps, which then compresses the knee joints and leads to pain. This will spread throughout the body, foot pain can cause back pain and so forth.
A flexible calf & soleus muscle is too tight, it won’t stimulate your veins efficiently and will feel uncomfortable. If your soleus is strong and flexible you can help your heart by improving the flow of deoxygenated blood from your lower extremities.
Wrist flexion/ extension ( prone & extension)Spread fingers
Wrist flexed- stretch each finger
Wrist extended- stretch each finger
Web stretch- in between each finger
Traction of individual finger
Make a “c” with hand
Fist-open and close
Fingertip touches to thumb
Thumbs up- bend fingers in and out- rest wrist on table
Soleus stretch-knee flexed
Foot supinator- hold heel, turn forefoot outward
Web stretches-in between toes
Stretch each individual toe-flexion and extension
Ankle circles Calf raises- running calf raises