Exercise can help prevent and relieve common musculoskeletal conditions.
Chronic musculoskeletal conditions including osteoarthritis, joint disorders and back pain are very common and some of the biggest cost drivers of the US healthcare system. Exercise is one of the most cost effective ways to prevent musculoskeletal injuries and to reduce the severity of the condition.
Three ways exercise helps:
We spoke with Peter Gerbino MD earlier this year about how to preserve cartilage and prevent osteoarthritis. Let’s just do a quick review of how exercise helps. The best way to prevent osteoarthritis is to preserve your cartilage with a balanced exercise program. Specifically:
- Aerobic and endurance training has a healing effect for your cartilage. The compression and decompression that happens when you move helps to deliver nutrients to the cartilage. The nutrients helps to rebuild the cartilage that gets damaged and worn over time. Plus aerobic activity helps you maintain a healthy weight which reduces the amount of pressure on your joints and the amount of pain you feel.
- Strength training helps to develop your muscles and take pressure off your joints as you move. Less pressure translates to less pain.
- Stretching helps to maintain flexibility and range of motion in the joint.
Exercise may feel uncomfortable initially but will feel good as your body warms up.
2/ Joint Disorders:
Arthritis, bursitis and dislocations are all joint disorders that cause joint pain. Bursitis is a painful condition that affects the small, fluid-filled sacs — called bursar — that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near your joints.
The condition occurs is not entirely preventable if your job requires repetitive movement or have an underlying arthritic condition. However, taking measures to reduce the pressure on your joints can reduce your risk and the severity of flare-ups.
To reduce your risk of joint disorders and relieve pain, warm up before demanding physical activity, take frequent breaks and condition the muscles around your joints. Maintaining a healthy weight will also reduce the pressure on your joints.
3/ Lower Back Pain:
Reportedly 80% of American adults will experience back pain at some point in their life. Back pain typically results from strained muscles but can be more serious. Herniated disk, arthritis, skeletal irregularities or osteoporosis also cause back pain.
To prevent back pain and relieve chronic pain:
- Exercise. Strengthening the trunk muscles helps stabilize and support the spine.
- Maintain good posture. Good posture reduces the pressure on your spine and disks. Keep your back straight and aligned, particularly when sitting for long periods and lift heavy objects with your legs and not your back.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts more pressure on the spine and disks which makes them more susceptible to herniation. Maintaining a healthy weight will reduce the pressure.
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