Arthritis: The Silent Disability

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Arthritis affects more than 50 million people in the United States. It is the nation’s number 1 cause of disability.  Even though it is so prevalent, arthritis is known as a “silent disability”.  This means that although someone may be suffering from arthritis, it may not be something that can be directly seen from the outside.

May is National Arthritis Awareness Month.  There are so many types of arthritis that affect so many different people throughout America.  Living with arthritis can be very difficult, but with proper care from a doctor can be tolerable.  The key is working with your doctor to figure out what treatment works best for your pain.  There are so many types of arthritis, each with their own set of symptoms, so your individual doctor would be able to best recommend treatments for your type of arthritis.

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One way to keep arthritis pain at bay is starting an exercise program.  A 2008 study showed that sedentary individuals with arthritis who exercised 2 times a week for an hours, saw declines in their overall pain and fatigue and saw an improvement in their own arthritis management.

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The Following Steps Will Help You Start Your Exercise Program:

  • Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.  They can help if there are any activities that you need to avoid when exercising.
  • Start with small goals.  Break your 30 minutes of exercise into three 10 minute sessions.
  • You can set smaller goals, like just taking the stairs instead of elevators
  • You need supportive, but comfortable shoes and comfortable, loose clothing
  • Reward yourself!  Research has shown that when people are awarded for good behavior, like exercise, they will continue it.
  • Schedule your physical activity so that it is non-negotiable
  • Try different types of workouts to see what is the best for you!

Getting active can help you control your arthritis symptoms and feel better overall.  Regular exercise allows you joints to stay lubricated, which makes moving easier.  It also releases endorphins which help with overall well being.  Overall the exercise increases your overall health and helps you sleep more peacefully at night.

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So this May, in honor of Arthritis Awareness Month, get out and get moving.  Set your goals after talking to your program and get on the track to improving your arthritis symptoms!  Talk to your doctor or physical therapist to learn more about starting your program.

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