I was diagnosed with arthritis, now what?
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America. If you have ever been told that you have arthritis, it can feel like there is no hope for a pain-free life. Although joint pain can definitely be debilitating, it doesn't have to have as much of an impact as we once thought. Arthritis happens to most people as we age so it really isn't as scary as it may seem. There is also a lot of misinformation about arthritis out there so we are here to dispel some myths about it.
3 Truths about arthritis:
1. Arthritis is a part of aging but that doesn't mean you have to be in pain.
80% of pain-free adults 50 years or older have disk degeneration in the their low back. Key word there is "pain-free." There are similar findings at other joints in the body as well. Just because of have arthritis in your back, doesn't mean you have to be in pain. It would be abnormal to not find signs of aging and arthritis on your MRI or x-ray as you age because it really is that prevalent in all adults, whether you have pain or not.
2. Running is good for you!
There is a myth out there that running damages your knees, is bad for your hips, and is just not healthy for your body overall. Well, recreational runners have less chance of developing knee and hip arthritis compare to non-runners and competitive runners. This means that exercise is good for your joints, no matter what form of exercise. In this study, a competitive runner was defined as running greater that 57 miles per week, mileage under that is considered recreational running. So if you enjoy running for recreation, you don't have to worry about it damaging your joints!
3. Exercise is the gold-standard for treatment, above medications, injections, and surgery.
Feeling stiffness or pain in your joints? You should go for a walk! Although you might feel slow, stiff, or painful to start you will reap the benefits later on. Consistent exercise is even better to prevent pain and stiffness from happening in the first place. If you are at the point where your arthritis is debilitating and you are considering a joint replacement, be sure to stay active before your surgery. If you haven't given physical therapy a try, now is a great time to start. They will help you prepare for the surgery if that is the best option. They may also help you avoid surgery altogether, or prolong the time before you would need surgery in the future.
Looking for a physical therapist in downtown Milwaukee to treat your pain? Contact us here to schedule an appointment.