Arthritis: Exercise ‘strengthen the joints’ and improve painful symptoms

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One lifestyle treatment recommended is regular exercise.

The reason why exercise is so important for people with osteoarthritis is because it “keeps you active, builds up muscle and strengthens the joints” , says the NHS.

Furthermore, exercise also helps someone to lose weight, improves their posture, and relieves stress.

All of these, according to the NHS, “will ease symptoms”.

However, it is important to note that any exercise conducted will likely be part of a plan drawn up by your GP or physiotherapist.

This plan will be designed to provide the most effective exercise for the osteoarthritis a person is living with.

Other lifestyle changes include losing weight.

The reason why losing weight is essential is because less strain is placed on the joints.

As well as lifestyle changes, medications may also be prescribed to help alleviate some of the pain.

Medications that could be employed are paracetamol and drugs known as NSAIDs or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

These NSAIDs work by reducing inflammation and are available as creams applied directly to the joints.

They can also be taken in tablet form.

Other medications include:
• Opioids
• Capsaicin cream
• Steroid injections.

Just like other conditions, osteoarthritis has a number of symptoms.

These include:
• Pain and stiffness in the joints
• Joint tenderness
• Increased pain and stiffness when the joints have not been moved for a while.
• Joints appearing slightly larger or more ‘knobbly’ than usual
• A grating or cracking sound or sensation in your joints
• Loss of muscle bulk.

The NHS says: “Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, but the most common areas affected are the knees, hips, and small joints in the hands.

“Often, you’ll only experience symptoms in one joint, or a few joints at any one time.”

Supportive treatments such as nerve stimulation, hot and cold packs, assistive devices, and manual therapy are also deployed to treat osteoarthritis.

For more information on arthritis contact the NHS or consult with your GP.

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