Arthritis management debunked: The importance of exercise-related therapy for over 60s

Apr 30, 2022
There are different types of arthritis: inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Source: Getty

How important is exercise-related therapy for those suffering from arthritis, and is it something that can be done from the comfort of your home?

Exercise-related therapy is extremely important in the treatment of arthritis. The benefits of exercise for arthritis not only help improve the strength of the muscles around the arthritic joints to help protect the area, but it can also reduce pain, improve mood, and cardiovascular health.

Exercise can be done anywhere! Checking the type of exercise that is appropriate for your type of arthritis is an important first step. Then, setting up a home exercise program to integrate into your lifestyle is an easy way to make exercise part of your routine.

Why is arthritis so common for over 60s and is there a way it can be avoided earlier in life before it even begins?

There are different types of arthritis: inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Inflammatory arthritis generally impacts younger people, whereas non-inflammatory arthritis is more prevalent in the over 60-year-old population. Non-inflammatory arthritis is associated with degenerative arthritis, which is a part of ageing. We may not be able to avoid arthritis, but we can avoid its impacts by staying fit and strong.

Why are so many over 60s uneducated about the different pain management therapies that can be done to manage arthritis pain? Is there a gap in knowledge or could doctors be prescribing medication without exploring other natural options first?

There are many factors that impact health education and access to health services for Australians. GPs can play a vital role in helping educate patients about exercise as opposed to pain medication or a combination of these two therapies. We all have quick access to pharmacies and over-the-counter pain medication; this can often be a quick fix for people who are in pain. Often, we don’t think of the more time-consuming things such as exercise therapy to help with pain.

Are there any long-term side effects of arthritis medication and is it just masking a problem that is better fixed with exercise-related therapy?

The long-term impacts can depend on what medication you are on for your arthritis. Some inflammatory arthritis involves being on drugs that can impact the function of the liver, which can require blood tests for patients to monitor this. A lot of arthritis will require pain medication and/or anti-inflammatory medications. Using these medications when appropriate and having them monitored by a doctor or rheumatologist is important. If you require medication, having exercise therapy may not ‘fix’ the problem but will help as an adjunct to improve pain levels and potentially reduce the dosage of medication required.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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