New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that close to 23-percent of Americans are living with arthritis. And it seems that something these people are doing—or not doing—may contribute to its severity.
Looking at populations across the United States, researchers learned there was a very close relationship between physical inactivity and severe joint pain. They noticed that the less activity a person got, the higher their chance of experiencing severe pain. When people got more activity, they reported less pain. Of course, that might not paint the clearest of pictures: after all, people are more likely to remain sedentary if it hurts to move.
The paper, however, presents the idea that joint pain may be more of a mental barrier to activity than anything else. Research has repeatedly shown exercise is an effective and cheap way to treat joint pain. Simply put, getting over the initial fear and tightness can lead to short-and long-term relief from severe pain.
Aside from joint pain, the paper also points out that exercise can be a useful tool to improve mood, function, and quality of life for people with arthritis. There are studies that show mood is closely associated with joint pain. Numerous studies suggest that people who report feeling more negative emotions also report higher levels of pain.
With exercise’s benefits for mood and joint pain, it might be one of the best options available for people with arthritis or other forms of severe joint pain. The key lies in getting started.
Evidence-based low-impact exercise programs exist across the country to help people with joint pain. Aquatic exercise programs, strength-training programs, aerobics, and stretching routines like yoga are targeted specifically for people with joint pain to address symptoms and improve lifestyle.
Some exercises you can try to help with joint pain include:
• Strength training
• Hand stretching exercises
If you’re living with joint pain, having the confidence to increase activity may make a substantial dent in your symptoms and improve quality of life. It’s worth a shot!