Osteoarthritis: What Is It? And What Can One Do?

Osteoarthritis is by far the most common type of arthritis. It typically begins to become a problem for folks later on in life, as years of wear and tear on the joints begin to add up. The joints can handle only so much moving and bending. After a while, things begin to break down. And when this happens, the extremely unpleasant and undesirable condition of osteoarthritis begins to deleteriously affect the quality of one’s life.

More often than not, the symptoms start to show up gradually, then increases over time. The stiffness usually starts in one set of joints – the fingers, the hips, or the knees. Despite the pain, no swelling is evident or detectable.

The osteoarthritis symptoms are generally most prevalent in the mornings, right when one wakes up. This can be debilitating, for many folks have a difficult time getting their day starting off just right. With so much pain, it makes it difficult to set goals and focus on what one wants to accomplish. An extended period of activity can also lead to great pain. This means that many folks get worse by the time the end of the day comes along. For instance, if you have osteoarthritis in your fingers, spending just a bit of time gardening may aggravate the symptoms and cause you to feel an intense amount of pain.

Active Strengthening Exercises

There are a bunch of things you can do to decrease osteoarthritis symptoms. Exercise and weight control are two ways to mitigate the amount of stress on your joints. Paradoxically, although you are using your joints and making them work, you are not putting wear and tear on them. You are actually strengthening them. A lack of exercise can actually lead to stiff and weak joints, so make sure you get your healthy dose of exercise throughout the week. It is incredibly important to keeping osteoarthritis at bay.

For knee problems, squats and lunges are a true anodyne. But be certain to listen to your body. If you feel far to much pain, do not continue the exercises. However, if the pain is tolerable, keep going. Strengthening the muscles around the knee will only put less stress on the knee. When doing the squats, begin by taking an upright posture. Stand as tall and as straight as you can. Next, squat about half way down – so that you’re not standing up but you don’t look like you’re seated either. Do this ten to twelve times every other day. You will notice the difference in no time.

Other Forms of Rehab

Active rehab is a form of rehab that consists of many different stretches, all designed to work out the parts of your body that you don’t put to use – the parts that have become weak due to inactivity. Using a foam roller can be a great way to strength and massage parts of your body that are feeling tight and tender. Many professional athletes spend ten to fifteen minutes a day using a foam roller before moving to anything else. It is the first thing they do, because they know that it helps keep the body loose and nimble. Foam rolling is also a great way to prevent muscle pulls and tears. Water aerobics is another thing that is great for the joints. Among others, lacrosse ball exercises are designed to build stremgth and bring you back to shipshape.