Arthritis, whether you have been told that you have it, think you have it, or are concerned that you may develop it, this blog is for you. Just hearing the word arthritis can produce an emotional response in us all. We associate that word with pain and abnormality. When someone says they have arthritis it is easy for us to assume that is a life-long condition that won’t improve without serious intervention.
Another popular belief surrounding arthritis is loss of function and independence. I’m sure if I asked you to envision someone in your head who has arthritis that person would look something like this: Older adult, limping or slow moving, pain with movement, more sedentary than they use to be, and requires help from others to do tasks they once could do independently. Overall, the point we are trying to make here is that we all have a lot of negative beliefs surrounding the word arthritis.
The purpose of this blog post is to help eliminate those negative beliefs. We hope it leaves you feeling more confident and comfortable with your body and encourages you to remain active and healthy.
First, let’s start with a quick review on what arthritis truly is. Arthritis is NORMAL, age-related changes that occur within our joints. Think of it as wrinkles on the inside of our bodies that naturally occur overtime. Arthritis is not a sign of pain or disfunction at a joint. We have countless studies and research articles to support that imaging like X-rays and MRIs do not predict what someone can do with their joints and how much pain they have in their joints.
Now let’s get into the phrase of “Wear and Tear.” I’m sure that you have heard this before in regard to the human body. That overuse and repetitive strain can lead to arthritis and injury. What does the research say on this? A recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that strenuous physical activity does not appear to cause knee osteoarthritis. This study included 1,194 patients who were followed for 10 years and the findings suggest that those who participated in strenuous physical activity did not show any increased risk of developing knee arthritis. That take away here is that older adults can engage in strenuous exercise and activity to promote health and wellness with no concern that it is going to lead to arthritis!
What about running? That is another common activity that we hear the “wear and tear” phase used frequently. People ask us all the time if running during middle age will lead to developing arthritis later in life. Let’s look at what the research tells us on this. An article published in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy asked the question, “Do recreational runners have more knee or hip arthritis?” This study included 114,829 participants and found that 3.4% of recreational runners presented with knee or hip arthritis and that 10.2% of non-runners had knee or hip arthritis. So, they found that recreational runners had LESS arthritis compared to sedentary people.
The take home message from these research articles and this blog is that movement and activity are your best tools to prevent joint pain and stiffness later in life. Motion is lotion for our joints. The narratives that we have surrounding arthritis are outdated and being proven false with recent research. The phrase “Wear and Tear” is far from the truth and we now know that the opposite is true. Activity and “Wear” on our bodies actually helps decrease our risk of joint stiffness and pain.
Need help establishing a weekly exercise program? Do you have questions about what exercises and activity is best for you? Are you limited by pain or injury from being able to start the exercise routine you’ve been hoping for? Our Physical Therapists at PRO Therapy are just a phone call away. Feel free to visit our website www.protherapymn.com and learn more about our FREE Phone Consultations and Discovery Visits with a Doctor of Physical Therapy. To schedule yours today call us at 612-767-9917.