There are a lot of myths when it comes to understanding arthritis pain. But when it comes to Osteoarthritis, by far, the most common myth that I hear is the belief that those with arthritis should AVOID physical activity.
That couldn’t be farther from the truth. When you understand the mechanics of your joints and of arthritis, you’ll see that movement is, in fact, one of the BEST things you can do to relieve arthritis pain.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis. Sometimes it is called degenerative joint disease or osteoarthrosis. It’s the wear-and-tear type of arthritis. We’re not talking about auto-immune arthritis, like Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA. Of the over 117 different types of arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common, encompassing over 90% of all arthritis. An estimated 27 million Americans have osteoarthritis.
People with osteoarthritis usually experience joint pain and stiffness. Although it can develop in any joint, most often it affects the hands, knees, hips, and spine (either at the neck or lower back).
Every joint in your body is held together by a joint capsule which is made up of ligaments. These ligament capsules hold the shape of the joint and produce lubricating synovial fluid.
Cartilage is the hard but slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they meet to form a joint. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over one another. It also absorbs energy from the shock of physical movement.
Synovial fluid lubricates and protects cartilage to ensure safe, pain-free movement. It is 100 times more slippery than Teflon. In a properly functioning joint, the synovial fluid will provide a lifetime of protection for your cartilage. The signal for your body to produce more synovial fluid is movement.
When the tendons and ligaments in a joint are injured, either from a sudden trauma or due to repeated use over time, your body uses scar tissue to heal the injury. In fact, after the age of puberty, the only thing that your body can heal with is scar tissue.
Scar tissue is a tight, fibrous network of tissue that does not move or stretch easily. It has poor circulation, is weak, and prone to re-injury. When scar tissue prevents a joint from moving, the body will not produce the synovial fluid that protects the cartilage.
Osteoarthritis occurs when unprotected cartilage breaks down and wears away. This allows the bones under the cartilage to rub together, causing pain, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint. Over time, this can cause the joint to lose its normal shape.
Also, small deposits of bone—called osteophytes or bone spurs—may grow on the edges of the joint. These bone spurs are actually calcified scar tissue. Bits of bone or cartilage can also break off and float inside the joint space. This causes more pain and damage.
For most people, joint damage develops gradually over years. In some people, osteoarthritis is relatively mild and interferes little with day-to-day life. However, left untreated, joints will continue to deteriorate making treatment more difficult. For some, osteoarthritis causes significant pain and disability.
Don’t ignore arthritis pain – the longer you wait, the lower your chances of relieving pain and regaining joint mobility.
Moving Joints are the Key to Being Pain Free
When you stop moving, a viscous cycle begins – you stop moving because of pain, but because you’re not moving, the pain increases, so you move less and the pain gets worse…
So, moving those tired achy joints is actually the key to reducing pain. In fact, research by the National Institutes of Health, shows that exercise is one of the best treatments for osteoarthritis.
The benefits of exercise and movement are more than just physical – there are emotional paybacks too. When you exercise, your body produces chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins trigger positive feelings in the body, similar to morphine. They also act as analgesics to reduce your perception of pain.
And, if you’re able to move, you’re able to get out and enjoy more of your life.
But for those with crippling arthritis pain, even the smallest movements are painful, and exercise might seem impossible. That’s where we come in.
At Integrated Pain Solutions we’ve had tremendous success in treating patients with the worst of the worst joint pain. Using a unique drug-free treatment protocol, including high intensity laser therapy, we can help restore proper motion, soften old scar tissue, reset the chronic pain cycle, and get you back to living the life that you want to live.
Don’t let the myth of arthritis make your condition worse than it already is. Get moving. The sooner you get motion back into your joints, the better off you will be. If you need help, give us a call at 844-200-7246. Initial consultations are always free of charge.
More from Integrated Pain Solutions
- The Ugly Truth about Scar Tissue
- A Different Kind of Care for Chronic Pain
- High Intensity Laser Therapy from Integrated Pain Solutions
- High Intensity Laser Therapy featured in News Story
Dr. Curt Draeger, DC, DACBOH, CCST is the treating doctor to Team USA’s Olympic decathletes, founder of Integrated Pain Solutions, and co-developer of the latest generation of High Intensity Therapeutic Lasers. His unique chronic pain treatment protocol provides lasting relief and healing to anyone suffering from chronic pain by combining High Intensity Laser Therapy with other manual therapies once reserved exclusively for professional athletes.