Home Health & Fitness 6 Ways to Strengthen Your Joints If You Have Chronic Pain

6 Ways to Strengthen Your Joints If You Have Chronic Pain

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Ways to Strengthen Your Joints If You Have Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can result from an autoimmune disease, like rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Thankfully, complete RA care effectively reduces the symptoms and the pain. But since there is no cure for autoimmune diseases, the chronic pain wouldn’t really go away. You just have to manage it with medication, rest, and other healthy activities.

But avoiding movement altogether may weaken your body even more. Without exercise, your muscles would become tender, and your energy levels would decline further. This can worsen your symptoms and chronic pain.

It is important to find a balance between managing chronic pain and strengthening your body, especially your joints. Since they’re the parts of your body that RA attacks and the ones that get stiff first as you age, you need to keep your joints lithe and strong to enjoy many activities. That said, here are the ways to exercise your joints with chronic pain:

  1. Track Pain Level and Activities Every Day

Before starting anything else, keep a record of your daily pain levels and activities. This can help you and your doctor determine if your symptoms occur in a pattern. In addition, record-keeping will give your doctor an understanding of how you’re coping with chronic pain and your physical function level.

Track your pain using scores 1 to 10. Each time you’d engage in an activity, like chores or exercising, log that in alongside the level of pain you experienced. Give a total score to your general pain at the end of every day as well. This record can help you and your doctor plan the appropriate exercises and medication for you.

  1. Try Yoga

Yoga is a good exercise for building strength and improving focus. Since many of the poses require balance, yoga can help distract you from the pain. Also, yoga has been demonstrated to help people with chronic pain. Studies found that the poses and fluid motions can reduce inflammation and pain perception. It can also improve the mobility of people with stiff joints due to an autoimmune disease.

For painful knees, the modified hero pose—sitting on a block with your knees bent or on a mat with a pillow between your ankles—will stretch your front muscles and provide a gentle opening. If your hips are your main problem, the yogi squat—a pose similar to the “Asian squat”—can open your pelvic joints and relieve the pain.

Use some equipment to help you modify the difficult poses. To aid in your balance, use yoga blocks, while a bolster will help decrease tension in your lower back from twisting poses. And to avoid straining your hamstrings during flexibility poses, use straps. 

  1. Perform Low-impact Exercises

Though yoga is good enough as a primary form of exercise, putting variety in your exercises will help you stay motivated. Twice or thrice a week, try low-impact exercises. According to the Arthritis Foundation, aquatic sports, golf, walking, and cycling are easy on the joints, so they shouldn’t aggravate your chronic pain.

  1. Strengthen Other Muscle Groups

To make your joints stronger, the muscles they support should also be strengthened. Incorporate bodyweight exercises and weightlifting into your workout routine. But be careful with lifting weights. The right amount of weight to carry will allow you to perform reps without pain. But it should give you a challenge during the last few reps.

Mind your pacing, too. Fatigue doesn’t blend well with chronic pain, so you shouldn’t over-train your muscles. Have a professional trainer or coach oversee your workouts to avoid the wrong results.

  1. Eat Healthy and Stay Hydrated

Managing your weight is crucial for keeping your joints healthy and strong. Ensure that your meals are always well-balanced to avoid unhealthy weight gain. If you have an autoimmune disease, gaining weight can happen to you at a faster rate, and it’ll be harder to lose, so avoid falling into temptations. Treating yourself once in a while is okay, but don’t overindulge.

Always stay hydrated, too. Water can reduce your fatigue and improve your overall health.

  1. Have Adequate Rest and Recovery

After exercising, do some gentle stretches to allow your muscles to recover. Make your daily life restful too, even if you have to exercise and do other activities. Rest and relaxation are effective weapons against chronic pain, so have a lot of them. If you feel like spending a whole day in bed, do it because you won’t always be able to endure the pain. You would have bad days; listen to your body when those times come.

Living with chronic pain is indeed grueling, so challenge yourself by aiming to overcome the pain every day instead of letting it decide the course of your life. Be bigger than your pain, and your treatment will lead to the best results.

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