How Exercise can Help with Joint Pain
Exercise can help a great deal with joint pain. If you’re recovering from addiction, this is something that you may suffer with, particularly as you age.
There are a couple of viewpoints you can take when setting substance abuse and joint pain side by side. This is often, though not always, arthritis.
Firstly, there is the way in which those with substance abuse disorders can increase their susceptibility to arthritis and similar conditions. Then there is the way in which those suffering from chronic pain might develop substance abuse problems.
In either case, exercise can help, it can help by easing joint pain and improving overall joint health.
Addiction and joint pain
But how can exercise help with joint pain? And what has this got to do with addiction?
Well, there are many detrimental effects that addiction can have on your health. This can include the development of various forms of arthritis.
Those suffering from addiction often suffer malnutrition, which can lead to osteopenia (a decrease in bone density). This often results in osteoporosis.
Osteomyelitis (bone infection) can result from intravenous drug use. These kinds of bone infections can lead to the development of arthritis, as well as a decrease in bone density.
Those who chronically abuse central nervous system depressants often have poor posture. This can lead to the spine’s integrity being seriously affected and impacted. Over time, this can lead to arthritis in the spine.
Risk from arthritis is significantly increased in anyone who habitually neglects their health, nutrition, and physical wellbeing. It is also increased in those at risk for the development of infections and those who engage in risky behaviours. These risk factors all apply to many who suffer from addiction.
This means that joint health could be a concern for anyone in recovery.
Then there is the second point raised above. Those suffering with chronic pain might turn to addictive substances for pain management. Often, those being treated for chronic pain will be prescribed some incredibly potent painkillers. These can be narcotic medications, which can develop into dependence or even full-on addiction.
Anybody suffering from chronic pain, treating it with these kinds of painkillers, who wishes to attempt to recover from an addiction of this kind, will need to find an alternative way to manage their joint health.
Exercise can be key, here, helping you to overcome joint pain and even discarding the need for addictive prescription drugs.
Improving your joint health: exercise and joint pain
In both instances, we are looking to improve joint health and decrease the pain brought on by joint conditions such as arthritis. This is where exercise comes into it: exercise is a crucial recovery method in both instances.
Exercise, or leading a generally more active lifestyle, will increase your strength and flexibility, combat fatigue, improve joint mobility, and decrease joint pain. Though it can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise when your joints are hurting, you don’t need to be undertaking ruinous athletic endeavours to reap the rewards – a few gentle laps of your local pool several times per week or a daily stroll around the local park could be enough.
Water works particularly well as it supports the weight placed on joints, so swimming, water therapy or aqua aerobics is a great option for those who find walking painful or difficult.
What exercise can do for joint pain
There are a few factors that exercise can improve or elicit, the combination of which will lead to improved joint health and decreased pain from conditions such as arthritis.
First off, exercise will make you stronger. This means maintaining and even increasing bone strength and density, whilst also building muscular strength around the joints themselves. This will keep you safer, reducing your risk of injury or of exacerbating existing damage, and will allow you to move more fluidly.
Exercise is also a natural pain killer and mood booster. It can therefore help you to overcome this on two fronts. Obviously, being in constant pain will reduce your mood – anxiety and depression are common. If you can mitigate the pain whilst improving your mood, you will obviously be onto a bit of a winner.
If you have joint concerns, weight management will be crucial. The less excess weight you can put into your joints, the more ably they will be able to deal with everyday stresses, and the less risk they will run of becoming further injured. Exercise, alongside a healthy diet, will enable you to remain at a healthy weight for your joints.
Exercise can therefore be crucial in managing joint pain.
Then there are the hidden benefits. We’ve covered the mood boost you can get from exercise. It can also give you more energy in general and will make it easier for you to get to sleep. These are all affected by joint pain – it is tiresome dealing with joint pain, and the pain can keep you up at night, putting you into a vicious cycle that exercise can perhaps help to break.
Finally, exercise can help with balance, coordination, and proprioception. Though these might not directly affect daily joint pain, improving all three will keep you safe from injury, and will help to ensure you don’t further injure your joints or aggravate existing pain.
A final note: check with your doctor when using exercise to manage joint pain
This is all theory. It’s good theory, tried and tested, and I’ve used it myself with many clients over the years. Exercise is key to managing joint pain. However, we are all different, all with our own individual quirks and worries.
Therefore, you should always consult your healthcare provider before and during any exercise program if you have any underlying health conditions or joint concerns. They will be able to advise you on what movements to employ, which to avoid, and how to stay safe, whilst monitoring your progress more generally.
Author - James
Read more: Rebuilding joint health after addiction
- Co-Occurring Disorders: Information and Treatment Guide https://lagunatreatment.com/medical-condition/arthritis-and-addiction/