Those living with arthritis feel as if they are stuck in a vicious cycle. Their joint pain can get so extreme that they are unable to remain physically active. While reducing physical activity might help in the short term, it can have long term consequences that make moving even more difficult in the future.
So, what is a person who suffers from arthritic joint stiffness and pain to do? Surprisingly, the answer is to stretch. Discover how simply performing simple, gentle stretches on a daily basis could help to dramatically reduce joint stiffness and pain caused by arthritis.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Joints perform a vital function. They help to hold the entire skeleton together while also supporting movement. In a healthy individual, the joints function and move in a pain-free manner. However, for people with arthritis that does not happen.
People with arthritis experience intense tenderness and swelling of at least one joint. Swelling and tenderness of the joints can be caused by a number of things ranging from autoimmune diseases and infections to the breakdown of cartilage or other underlying diseases.
Symptoms of arthritis vary greatly depending upon the type and location. The following is a look at some of the symptoms of arthritis that almost everyone, regardless of type or location, of the arthritis experience:
Decrease in range of motion
Pain specifically around the joint
Swelling and tenderness
What Joints are Most Affected by Arthritis?
Pain and stiffness in the back, especially the lower back, is often assumed to be caused by an injury but it could be caused by arthritis. It is important to properly identify if pain in the lower back is caused by an injury or arthritis as treatment for each varies greatly.
Rest and immobilization are the recommended course of treatment for lower back pain caused by injuries. While limiting movement helps if the pain is caused by an injury, it can actually cause problems if your pain is caused by arthritis. Not moving when you have arthritis can weaken the tendons, ligaments, and muscles surrounding the joints. If the ligaments, muscles, and tendons weaken, they are unable to properly support the joint which causes you to experience pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion.
Knowing the symptoms of arthritis in lower back can help you identify the cause of your pain and stiffness. The following are the most common symptoms of arthritis in lower back region:
Decreased range of motion especially when trying to twist from side to side
Pain that tends to originate near the spinal cord and radiates outwards
Unexplained weakness, numbness, and tingling of the legs and arms
Sudden changes in bowel and bladder functions – this happens in severe cases of arthritis of the spine
Any joint in the body from the small joints in the thumbs and fingers to the larger joints like the knee or elbow can develop arthritis. Other common joints that are affected by arthritis include the shoulders, knees, hands, wrists, and hips.
Stretching Exercise Benefits for People with Arthritis Joint Pain
Living with arthritis in back or any other joint can be difficult. You are unable to perform essential day-to-day tasks or enjoy favorite activities due to the intense joint pain and stiff you are experiencing. Stretching can help people with arthritis engage in favorite activities and tasks again by relieving joint stiffness and pain.
After stretching and experiencing relief from joint stiffness and pain people often wonder can arthritis be reversed with exercise. Unfortunately, the answer is no exercise, such as stretching, cannot reverse arthritis cannot be reversed. The damage caused by arthritis is already there.
So, what are the benefits of stretching if it doesn’t reverse arthritis?
Regular exercise and stretching can prevent arthritis from getting worse. The actions you perform when stretching and exercising help to lubricate the joints in the body while also improving or maintain range-of-motion. Keeping the joints lubricated and maintaining full range-of-motion can help prevent the breakdown of cartilage which causes pain and stiffness.
Stretching Exercises for Strengthening Joints
Stretching exercises are great for building and strengthening your joints. They can be performed at any time of the day. However, most people prefer to perform their stretching exercises in the morning as soon as they wake up. Stretching in the morning is preferred because prepares your body for the day ahead by warming up the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The warmer your muscles, tendons and ligaments are the less likely you are to experience pain and stiffness caused by arthritis.
It doesn’t take a lot of time to perform morning stretching exercises. In fact, an entire stretching routine can be performed in about 10 minutes and right in the comfort of your own home.
Some examples of stretching exercises that help improve the strength of the hips, knees, and back include:
Knee-to-chest stretch – Bend both of your knees while lying with your back on the floor. Place both hands on the top of your right knee and pull it gently towards your chest. Hold the knee to your chest for about 30 seconds then lower it back to the ground. Repeat this stretch at least 2 more times and then perform it with the left leg.
Piriformis stretch – lying on your back with your knees bent take the right ankle and place it on top of the left knee. This will look like a number 4. Once the ankle is placed on the knee, take both hands and pull the left knee backwards towards your chest. Hold this position for 30 seconds then lower it. Repeat 2 more times and then perform it using the opposite leg.
Some examples of stretching exercises to strengthen joints in the shoulders, neck, arms, and upper back include:
Arm raises – start lying on your back. Legs can be straight or bent. Lift your arms straight into the air, like you are reaching for the ceiling, with your palms facing towards each other. Slowly try to lift your shoulders off the ground. Hold for 30 seconds then repeat at least 2 more times.
Shoulder and back stretch – standing up take one arm and pull it gently across your chest. Use the opposite hand to gently apply pressure to the arm and stretch it out. Hold the position for 30 seconds then let the arm come back to your side. Repeat on the opposite side. Make sure you do both sides at least three times to get the maximum stretch.
These stretches are gentle and easy making them ideal for use as arthritis exercise for seniors.
Managing Pain After Stretching Exercises
Some pain and slight discomfort are to be expected when stretching. Pain and discomfort occur because mild tension is being applied to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
While some pain and discomfort are normal, any extreme pain or pain that last for more than two hours could be a sign that you are overworking your body. If this occurs, you may want to reevaluate your stretching exercise routine and see if you are pushing yourself too hard.
Some people have found applying heat or taking a warm shower to before exercising to be helpful. The heat from the shower or heating pad warms up the muscles making them easier to stretch and move around during the exercise routine.
Combine Stretching Exercises with a Turmeric Supplement for Maximum Relief from Joint Pain and Stiffness
To get maximum relief from joint pain and stiffness caused by arthritis, you will want to take a daily natural turmeric supplement, which is considered the best medicine for arthritis pain, in addition to stretching. The benefits of stretching combined with the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities of a turmeric supplement help to reduce pain, swelling, and stiffness caused by arthritis.
Asking yourself why turmeric is good for joint pain? Turmeric is good because it has an active compound known as curcumin. Curcumin has potent anti-inflammatory qualities that help reduce swelling and inflammation.
If you want to relieve pain and inflammation from arthritis, you might be wondering how much turmeric to take. The amount that needs to be taken will depend upon the type of supplement you are taking as well as who manufactured it. Make sure that you are always taking the maximum potency with maximum absorbency in order to get the most benefits out of your turmeric supplement.
When first taking turmeric supplements, you might think they aren’t working because you don’t experience instant pain relief. That is because turmeric supplements aren’t meant for instant pain relief. Instead, they are meant to help with long-term, consistent pain relief.
If it doesn’t work instantly, then you might be wondering how long does it take for turmeric to work for inflammation caused by arthritis? People’s experience with turmeric varies. Some people start to notice relief from joint stiffness and pain in a few days while others notice it in 2-3 weeks. It is important that if you want to get relief from joint pain and stiffness that you take the turmeric supplement on a daily basis.
Natural Remedy for Joint Pain and Stiffness Caused by Arthritis
Finding a safe, effective turmeric supplement created by a trusted source is important when trying to find relief from joint pain and stiffness. Nuvothera Super-Micronized Turmeric Curcumin is a safe, natural anti-inflammatory for joint pain. In fact, it is considered by many to be the best way to take turmeric supplements. It is just as effective as OTC and prescription anti-inflammatory joint pain relievers but natural.
Nuvothera Super-Micronized Turmeric Curcumin can be safely taken for long-term relief from chronic pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. Since the ingredients are natural and come from trusted sources, it does not have the long-term side effects of daily drug use of ibuprofen or other OTC or prescription anti-inflammatory pain medications for chronic arthritis. Click here to learn more about this top-rated joint supplement.
Written by Bev Hope, Director of Marketing at Nuvothera, Inc. who has over three decades working to empower patients to lead healthier lives. Bev has personal and family experience with inflammation based autoimmune disease and is passionate about helping and inspiring people with chronic health conditions live to their best lives.