Controlling Arthritis

Image CaptionWith more than 100 different forms of arthritis affecting millions of people nationwide, there are scores of different treatments for the potentially debilitating chronic disease.

But Ochsner Health System Baton Rouge Division of Rheumatology Chief Dr. Stephen Lindsey said there are several important steps all arthritis patients can take to help improve their condition, and since May is Arthritis Awareness Month, Dr. Lindsey said it’s a great time to start.
“People think of arthritis as one disease, but in fact, it is multiple types of conditions,” Dr. Lindsey said.  “So you need to see your doctor or healthcare provider and find out what kind of arthritis it is so that you can take the right steps to treat it."

All arthritis patients can benefit from a healthy diet, an exercise routine and behavior modifications, Dr. Lindsey said.

“Being obese is the most common associated factor with arthritis in your lower extremities, particularly the knees,” he said.  “It increases the risk 17 times.  If someone is complaining of arthritis in their back or their knees and they are overweight, they should be dieting.”

Dr. Lindsey said exercise routines should focus on strengthening and stretching muscles in the areas affected by arthritis, but he cautioned that arthritis patients should not push themselves too far.

“Some people say ‘I have arthritis so I can’t jog or run on a treadmill,’” he said.  “Well, those people can get in a pool and walk, swim or tread water in an inner tube. Rather than say what you can’t do, think of what you can do with aerobic exercise.”

Arthritis patients should generally refrain from strenuous activities that cause their arthritis to flair up, Dr. Lindsey said, so some behaviors like gardening or painting the house will have to be modified to accommodate arthritis pain.

But the key to managing arthritis pain is keeping as mobile as possible while staying in good shape, Dr. Lindsey said.

“Even with someone who is 80, what they can do is what we want them to do,” he said.

Get active by joining our Golden Opportunity program or participating in classes at one of our Elmwood Fitness Centers.




Great article.  Both my husband and I have arthritis and he, especially, gets depressed because he can’t do what he wants to do without a lot of pain.  But he is trying to do too much, taking on projects that are more strenuous than he should be attempting.  This article gave us encouragement, knowing to realize our limitations and live accordingly.

By Velma St Romain on May 20, 2010 - 9:57

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