Tips for Exercising With Arthritis

Your joints may not believe this, but regular exercise is good for them. Whether you have osteoarthritis from wear-and-tear or the auto-immune condition known as rheumatoid arthritis, moving your stiff and achy joints is an essential part of keeping them from becoming worse.

Lloyd Decker, DC, an expert chiropractor and founder of Reno Regenerative Medicine in Reno, Nevada, understands that being told to move joints that don’t want to move may feel counterintuitive. That’s why he offers a few tips to help you make exercise a permanent and enjoyable part of your self-care — and arthritis care — regimen.

Why your joints need to move

Your joints contain a special kind of membrane called the synovium that secretes a lubricant called synovial fluid. Synovial fluid acts like oil on a rusty door hinge; it makes your joint movements smoother and easier.

When you move your joints, the synovium releases more synovial fluid, which is full of hyaluronic acid (HA). The HA doesn’t just lubricate your joints, it actually nourishes them.

Start slow

When you come for an arthritis consultation, Dr. Decker examines your body and evaluates the health and range of motion in your joints. He also talks with you about any exercises you’re currently doing, or have done in the past and enjoyed.

If you haven’t exercised in awhile, or have never exercised regularly, Dr. Decker recommends doing simple things, such as:

As you feel more comfortable with your routine, you can add in activities such as:

Varying the types of exercise you do every day staves off boredom and also strengthens muscles throughout your body, rather than focusing on the same group every day.

Add more strength

Once a daily walk or trip to the gym has become routine (or if it already is), Dr. Decker advises adding in exercises that further strengthen your muscles. The aim is to stress and build up all of your muscles, not just the ones around your arthritic joints. For instance, strengthening your core muscles allows you to hold your weight so that you don’t put too much stress on arthritic joints.

Dr. Decker modifies your strength-building exercises depending on your needs. He might recommend:

Dr. Decker may also recommend that you work with a personal trainer who encourages you to work harder than you might normally tend to, while making sure you stay safe and avoid injuries.

Straighten your spine

An aligned, well-supported spine is considered the basis of health in chiropractic medicine. When your spine is aligned, your blood and lymph fluids circulate more freely throughout your body to nourish your joints. An aligned spine also alleviates stress on your joints.

Depending on your needs, Dr. Decker may use manual adjustments or traction to help your spine achieve a healthier alignment. He also helps you develop better posture.

Help your joints heal

Regenerative medicine is gaining popularity as a way of using your own body’s natural processes to support or even accelerate healing. At Reno Regenerative Medicine, we offer state-of-the-art platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy to help build healthier tissue in your synovium and cartilage.

Don’t delay exercise another day. Get moving by calling us for an arthritis evaluation or booking an appointment with the online form. 

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