The throbbing and aching pain you feel in your joints may make you think twice about engaging in your daily activities, including your nightly walks or golf game. However, not exercising is rarely the best treatment for joint pain.
At Premier Spine Institute, with offices in The Woodlands, Humble, and Baytown, Texas, our board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, Bonaventure Ngu, MD, wants you to know more about the benefits of activity for the treatment of joint pain and the top exercises for relief.
Your joints are areas of your body where two or more bones meet. Though some joints are fixed, such as the ones in your skull, most of the joints in your body are movable. Joints enable you to walk, bend, raise your arm, and type on the computer.
Your joints are made up of many parts, including bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Any injury or disease that affects these parts may lead to joint pain. The most common causes of joint pain include:
A lack of activity may also lead to joint pain.
Pain is your body’s way of letting you know something is wrong. Your instincts may tell you that the best way to protect yourself when suffering from joint pain is to not use the part of your body making you uncomfortable. Though this may be true in some cases, depending on the cause of your joint pain, immobility may worsen your discomfort.
When you restrict movement of the joint causing your pain, the muscles that support the joint can weaken, which may increase stress on the joint. Additionally, favoring other body parts to take over the function of the joint causing you pain may lead to problems elsewhere, including back pain.
Exercise can also keep your bones strong, make it easier for you to maintain a healthy weight, and improve your overall quality of life.
The top exercises to alleviate your joint pain may depend on the joint affected and the underlying cause of your pain. At Premier Spine Institute, we specialize in pain management and develop personalized plans based on your specific needs, which may include a referral to physical therapy for an individualized exercise program.
Though the types of exercises best suited for you may depend on many factors, your exercise plan to alleviate your joint pain may include:
Range-of-motion exercises may be able to improve joint mobility and flexibility. Exercises may include gentle stretches as well as bending, rotating, lifting, or raising the affected joint.
Strong muscles are paramount for reducing joint pain. Strengthening exercises may include weight lifting, body resistance exercises — such as lunges, crunches, and pushups — or using a resistance band. Though you may be focused on the muscles supporting the joint causing your discomfort, a good strength-training program should include activities that exercise all of your major muscle groups — legs, arms, back, abs, chest, hips, and shoulders — at least two days a week
Aerobic exercise is also important for joint pain relief. It can also improve your energy, endurance, and sleep quality.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults engage in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity — such as a brisk walk or bike ride — five days a week. However, the type and amount of aerobic exercise best for you may depend on the underlying cause of your joint pain as well as your overall health and fitness level.
Heat, cold, rest, and medication will only temporarily alleviate joint pain. For long-term pain relief, you need to exercise your joint.
To learn more about how to relieve your joint pain, book an appointment online or over the phone with Premier Spine Institute today.