Do you find your knees or hips hurting after sitting for too long? Has bending or squatting become difficult or even painful? This is a common complaint of people with knee or hip osteoarthritis. Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that 1 out of every 2 people will have symptoms of knee osteoarthritis sometime before age 85?
The incidence of osteoarthritis generally starts to increase after age 35 and decreases one’s ability to perform walking, bending and every day tasks. Osteoarthritis can occur for a variety of reasons:
- Normal or abnormal wear and tear on joint cartilage
- Injuries that damage cartilage and joints
- Diseases that damage cartilage
- Lack of joint support from poor muscle strength and tissue flexibility
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis describes the condition of abnormal wear and tear of cartilage from a joint surface causing bone on bone rubbing. This can be quite painful and occurs more in the knees, hips and ankles. This is due to the fact that these joints bear the weight of your body and have to endure an average of 3,000-6,000 steps a day. That is over one million steps / bending and movements a year!
Knee osteoarthritis pain is generally felt under the kneecap, but can travel up the thigh or down your lower leg. The pads below your knee generally become thicker and more swollen. At times, your knee may even become slightly swollen or even slightly red. Hip osteoarthritis pain is generally felt in the groin on one side or deep in the buttock. Pain may actually feel better with walking, but become worse after sitting for a few minutes, then trying to move again.
What can be done?
Most pain is caused by poor joint movement and strength of the muscles around the joint. This causes instability to the joint and greater pressure on the cartilage causing more inflammation and pain. Physical therapy is the preferred method of treatment, because it discovers the abnormal movement in the joint and naturally corrects it. With hands-on therapy, special strengthening and balance exercises, knee or hip pain can typically be completely relieved. For more information on natural ways to relieve arthritis pain, call Activa Physical Therapy today!
5 Ways to Naturally Relieve Arthritis Pain
- Exercise – This is essential for people suffering from arthritis. It is vital to strengthen muscles, increase flexibility and improve blood flow. Cartilage actually receives its nutrition from joint fluid, so the more you can exercise the better. It is also important to mix between weight bearing and non-weight bearing exercises, such as aquatic exercises or bicycling. A balance between aerobic and strengthening exercises is highly recommended. It is also highly recommended that you see a physical therapist first before starting an arthritis exercise regime. Our physical therapists are medical specialists in prescribing the right exercises for individuals with arthritis and can teach you how to protect your joints.
- Vitamins – According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are a mix of studies showing some benefits to using glucosomine and chondroitin. Glucosomine is naturally made in the body and helps support the cartilage by retaining water and preventing wear. Additional supplements may help. Some studies show that glucosomine may slow down joint damage.
- Avoid inflammatory foods – There are foods that increase the body’s natural inflammation response. Arthritis is a condition of joints that become inflamed. Therefore, by avoiding foods with high fat, fried foods, sodas, high sugar content and processed foods, you help to naturally relieve the inflammation in your body. This helps a number of other systems in your body too.
- Calcium and Magnesium – Many people are deficient in calcium and magnesium. These are vital minerals needed for hundreds of processes in your body. Having enough calcium and magnesium, builds strong bones and reduces irritated nerve endings, decreasing pain. If possible, find supplements that are in powder form that can be easily digested and help your body’s intake of these essential minerals.
- Sleep – Sleep is a time for our body and brain to repair itself. It is important to make sure you are getting enough sleep, 7-8 hours at least, to allow your body to repair and decrease pain. When you are tired, your body does not function as well, increasing the inflammatory response and reducing your pain threshold.
Physical therapy is one of the best ways to improve your arthritis pain. We help your joints reduce pain and inflammation, and then increase your strength and flexibility so your joints are healthier. Contact Activa Physical Therapy today for more information on our Arthritis Program and discover how you can live life pain free!