Exercising for Joint Health

Movement and Chiropractic Care for Joint Health

exercise is a good way to combat joint pain

It may seem like a paradox, but exercise is a good way to combat joint pain. Yes, those endless (feeling) minutes spent of twisty yoga, striding on the treadmill, or Sweating to the Oldies can actually prevent future—often long-lasting—issues in your body’s vital joints. Like flu shots, oil changes, and visits to the dentist, preventive use of movement and chiropractic care mean less pain later on.

Our joints allow us to stand, move, type, dance, and live daily life but if they’re creaky from age, illness, or injury things grind to a halt. While some pains are inevitable—the CDC reports that one in four American adults suffer from arthritis alone—they don’t have to be debilitating.

As with any medical issue, talk to your primary care physician to determine the underlying cause of joint pain. Often, diagnosing it early means your team can provide exercises, medications, and a treatment path to keep things from getting worse. Ask about exercise and complementary care options like chiropractic treatments provided by Dr. Chani Henderson of Family & Sports Chiropractic Clinic.

The American Chiropractic Association explains that “Without joints, we would be rigid and immobile. But they are also often injured, causing pain and discomfort. The most commonly injured joints are the knees, shoulders, ankles and spine. Approximately 30 million doctor visits a year are due to knee and shoulder injuries alone. Some 150 million to 200 million cases of back pain send people to the doctor every year—and many of those are related to joint injuries.”

Kids benefit from chiropractic care and getting outside and moving their bodies, too

The ACA recommends movement, healthy exercise, and proper nutrition and lifestyle to keep your joints working smoothly. “Moving a joint through its full range of motion serves several important purposes. Joints are not supplied directly with blood as are other organs within the body, so the saying ‘If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it’ applies to joint function…Cartilage within a joint is nourished by synovial fluid, which is ‘forced’ into the joint cartilage through a process called imbibition. The pressure within the joint providing nourishment to the cartilage occurs only when joint movement happens.”

If your joint pain takes the form of arthritis, as it does for many of us, doctors at the Mayo Clinic strongly encourage regular exercise and movement. “Exercise is crucial for people with arthritis. It increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and helps combat fatigue. Of course, when stiff and painful joints are already bogging you down, the thought of walking around the block or swimming a few laps might seem overwhelming. But you don’t need to run a marathon or swim as fast as an Olympic competitor to help reduce arthritis symptoms. Even moderate exercise can ease your pain and help you maintain a healthy weight. When arthritis threatens to immobilize you, exercise keeps you moving.”

Walking your dog can be great motivation for getting outside and moving your joints.
Walking your dog can be great motivation for getting outside and moving your joints.

And it doesn’t have to be fancy classes in a gym. “Start slowly to ease your joints into exercise if you haven’t been active for a while. If you push yourself too hard, you can overwork your muscles and worsen your joint pain…Any movement, no matter how small, can help. Daily activities such as mowing the lawn, raking leaves, and walking the dog count.”

Thanks to COVID-19 restrictions, exercise options for those of us in the Pacific Northwest fizzled when autumn rains arrived. Jogging, gardening, and socially-distanced walks are great in the balmy summer but less fun when it’s cold and dark by 4:30 p.m. Start slowly and listen to your body. Mayo doctors note that “In general, if you’re sore for more than two hours after you exercise, you were probably exercising too strenuously…Trust your instincts and don’t exert more energy than you think your joints can handle. Take it easy and slowly increase your exercise length and intensity as you progress.”

Dr. Henderson offers chiropractic services following a sports injury or car accident, during pregnancy, or for generalized aches and pains. Through her initial consultation, she’ll discuss your medical history, ongoing issues, and hopes for the future. From there, a treatment plan can be developed. Chiropractic care not only addresses pain, but balance and range of motion as well.

To find out if Dr. Henderson can help with your joint issues, call the clinic at 360-254-0400 or book a consultation online. Don’t wait until pain has you sidelined, start moving now so you’ll be able to ring in the New Year in style and be ready for all the delights 2021 has to offer…or warm weather, whichever comes first.