4/01/2010

Arthritis

I have the “beginnings” of arthritis in my right knee due to my knee cap slipping from side to side which is causing the cartilage to wear away.

"What is Arthritis?"

Arthritis is a general term for many different medical conditions (100+). What we usually associate it with is the pain or stiffness we feel in our joints. It affects the musculoskeletal system. Inflammation is another issue. Arthritis means “joint” “inflammation” coming from the Greek and Latin languages. Walking, working out, just moving can be painful. My Mom has rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory form) and her joints hurt all the time. She is only in her 50’s and takes medication to keep it in check. Damage to cartilage is also another form of Arthritis. There are other causes of arthritis as well, such as a lack of fluid, infection, or your immune system attacking your body (autoimmunity).

"How can I help reduce symptoms of Arthritis?"

So what can you do? There are drugs that can help with the symptoms of arthritis. There are also natural remedies that are supposed to help (works for me), and some physical activity/therapy that can help.

Most stop moving due to the pain. Depending on the severity you may need to see a physical therapist to regain joint mobility. I am going to speak of my progress and what works for me, but also my situation is somewhat unique. Please speak to a professional medical doctor before starting any workout program.

The knee doc gave me information on different quad related exercises as the quad muscles keep the knee cap in alignment. In my situation I was told to increase the strength of the muscles around the joint. This helps to stabilize the joint. I was at the point where I was limping on my leg and sucking down the Ibuprofen. It wasn’t until after P90 and P90x that the symptoms almost completely disappeared. I had to take it very slow at first. By the end of P90x only a few moves in Yoga X would put enough pressure on the joint to cause it to throb.

Insanity is another beast. I have felt it in my knee quite a bit. It’s lessening now during the second week. I thought P90x had strengthened my legs enough, but Insanity truly tests me.

Natural Remedies

Ice packs will help reduce the inflation. I had recently hurt my shoulder at work and placed a bag of peas on my shoulder every two hours during the first 48 hours. After that I switched between ice and heat for every 2 hour 20 minute application. It helped considerably. Also NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are quite common and prescribed for inflammation.

Eating a well-balanced diet is vital. You need nutrients to get those damaged cells healed. Not to mention eating healthy and having a healthy weight will help take off extra pressure from those joints. Just losing a few pounds will make you feel better. Avoid eating foods that are pro-inflammatory (junk foods, fast food, sugar, refined bread, soda, high-fat meats, saturated and trans fats… everything not on the Beachbody workout diet plans). Also get enough protein in your meals as that will aid with healthy muscle tissue growth if you exercise.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids have been known to relieve symptoms. I take an omega-3 supplement every night before bed. I do notice the days I forget to take it as my knee hurts more the next day.

Exercise is a part of arthritis treatment. My Mom goes to the YWCA every week and works out with weights in the pool. I am lucky in that I can do the Beachbody workouts with little to no pain (and the pain has lessened the more I get in shape). Weight control is probably one of the most mentioned forms of helping treat arthritis, but so is strengthening the muscles around the weakened joints. My doctor said I had to continue working out and working on those muscles or it would get worse. There’s nothing better to motivate you and get you to workout when you are prescribed by the doctor that working out is now a requirement for life. Talk to you doctor to see what exercises you should perform or search on the internet.

Stretching is also important and helps considerably. Consider adding stretching into your workout. A lot of the Beachbody workouts have stretching as part of the routine.

Some other remedies (try searching Google on these) are: MSM, Niacinamide (vitamin B3), Manganese, Glucosamine and Chondroitin, Turmeric and Ginger Extract, Fish Oils (Omega-3), Wild Celery, Green Tea, and Capsaicin (read my brief review on Cayenne Pepper here).

Pain

Just a note, if you have moderate to severe pain working out. STOP. Do not try to push through if it is painful. All of the Beachbody fitness trainers will tell you this as well. There is a difference between a good burn and a stabbing pain. You’ll know the difference. If you don't, if you can’t distinguish the two, just stop. Mild pain you can work around or through, severe pain you need to stop.

Beachbody Products

Try P90 to start. This is where I started and many others start as well. It's challenging but a lot of the moves can be modified.

Shakeology is a great choice as well with the protein, amino acids, prebiotics, antioxidants, vitamins, fruits, veggies, and minerals. You can't go wrong with it.

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