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How Exercise Can Improve Arthritis Pain

Are you one of the 55 million Americans living with arthritis? If so, you know firsthand that arthritis can cause significant pain and stiffness — sometimes enough to limit your mobility. 

When your joints are stiff and painful, exercise is probably the last thing you feel like doing. In fact, many people with arthritis decrease their activity to avoid making arthritis symptoms worse. 

It may surprise, therefore, to learn that exercise can improve your arthritis pain and quality of life. At Boston PainCare, with offices in Waltham, Concord, and Natick, Massachusetts, our highly skilled providers understand the challenges arthritis can bring. 

Our pain management specialists provide innovative arthritis treatments to patients at our Waltham office and by appointment at our Natick clinic. Together, we work to improve your symptoms and quality of life. 

We’ve curated this informative guide to help you better understand how exercise can improve your arthritis pain. Read on to learn more!

Exercise strengthens muscles to better support your joints

While it’s important to rest to reduce inflammation when your arthritis pain flares, remaining sedentary all the time can actually make your arthritis worse. This is because inactivity causes your muscles to become weaker and less stable.

Regular exercise promotes a strong muscular system, which protects your joints and alleviates some of the stress placed on them when you move. This helps reduce inflammation, keeping you pain-free longer.

Exercise improves your range of motion and flexibility

Painful and stiff arthritic joints can prevent you from moving freely, causing you to become more sedentary and use your affected joints less often. Unused joints lose their ability to function because your joints rely on regular compression and decompression to maintain the cycle of repair and regeneration. 

Regular exercise and stretching are vital to keeping joints working well, improving your range of motion and flexibility. Because your arthritic joints are compromised, however, it’s easy to overdo it and cause more damage. Your provider at Boston PainCare advises you on which exercises and stretches are best. 

Exercise makes your bones stronger

You expect to hear about joints and cartilage when you have arthritis, making it easy to overlook an important aspect of arthritis — your bone health. Unfortunately, the effects of chronic arthritic inflammation and some medications can speed bone loss.

Exercise works to slow bone loss, and can even help rebuild bone. Physical activities that put pressure on your bones, also called weight-bearing exercises, trigger your body’s production of extra calcium and signal bone cells to regenerate. Your provider at Boston PainCare helps you find exercises that restore your bones while protecting your joints.

Exercise helps you sleep better

The pain from arthritis can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. That lack of sleep can actually make your pain worse. This is because when you’re sleep-deprived, your central nervous system processes pain differently. 

Studies show that exercising regularly helps people with arthritis fall asleep faster and enter into the deep sleep state needed for optimal brain function and less pain. Talk to your provider at Boston PainCare if you struggle to sleep even after arthritic treatment.  

Exercise promotes a healthy weight

Everyone knows maintaining a healthy weight and losing weight if you’re overweight is important for overall health. A healthy weight is also key to reducing arthritis pain. 

Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly helps you lose weight and keep it off. Some of the benefits of losing weight if you have arthritis include:

Exercise improves your mental and emotional health

Did you know there’s a connection between arthritis and mental illness? At least one in five people with arthritis have anxiety or depression. 

If you have arthritis, it’s essential to care for your mental and emotional well-being, and exercise has been shown to have immediate positive effects on mood. When performed regularly, it can even help keep depression at bay.

During exercise, your brain releases chemicals called endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals that work to suppress pain, alleviate stress, and promote happiness and optimism. All of these benefits make it easier to manage your arthritis. 

Seek professional guidance before exercising with arthritis

If you have arthritis, consult a health care professional, like your provider at Boston PainCare before starting an exercise routine. Begin exercising slowly, and listen to your body’s signals. When executed in the right way, exercise can be one of the best things you can do to manage your arthritis pain.

When you’re ready to incorporate exercise as part of your arthritis treatment, the pain management specialists at Boston PainCare are here to help. Contact the Boston PainCare office nearest you to schedule an appointment now!

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