More than half a million New Zealanders will be affected by arthritis at some time in their life. There is currently no cure for arthritis, but there are effective treatments. Physiotherapy treatment is one. Appropriate exercise is another.
Exercise and arthritis
Research has found that sedentary individuals with arthritis (both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis) who exercised twice a week for an hour experienced significant declines in pain and fatigue and improved their ability to manage their arthritis.
Most people with arthritis don’t exercise because they’re in pain – not realizing that exercise is a powerful and effective pain reliever. It eases inflammation, improves energy and promotes the flow of feel-good, pain-relieving chemicals like endorphins.
How Your Physiotherapist Can Help You
Your physiotherapist can work with you to develop an exercise plan that's right for you. This may involve some strengthening and stretching exercises. It'll also include general activities such as walking, swimming or whatever you enjoy that's beneficial to you. Your physio will help you get the right balance between activity and rest so you keep active without feeling undue pain.
Exercises you can try
You might like to try these exercises produced in an e-book by Physiotherapy NZ in partnership with Arthritis NZ. It provides simple exercises that you can do while sitting, standing or lying in bed that can be fitted into your daily routine.
Most exercises in the guide are stretches to help you get the basics right. There are also a few to help you improve strength. If you are unsure which type of exercise is best for you, we recommend you consult your health professional before beginning.
At NorthWest Physio + we can give you advice and support to manage your arthritis symptoms. Give us a call on 09 412 2945 to make an appointment.