Joint stiffness is a common clinical manifestation and is one of the problems that we see in our work on a daily basis.
When any type of stiffness or pain is mentioned, our minds often jump immediately to the general diagnosis of arthritis. However, just because you have stiff joints does not necessarily mean you have arthritis. Joint stiffness can be a symptom in itself and be completely harmless, or it can be a symptom of other illnesses. However, the tips in this post are not just for ordinary joint pain. Even if you have been diagnosed with arthritis, this blog post will show you how to handle joint stiffness.

Ordinary Joint Pain
In many cases, experiencing joint pain can be completely normal. Particularly for people who are very sedentary and tend to stay in the same place or who spend a long time during the day in a particular position, such as office workers or drivers. In this case, symptoms of stiffness or pain in the back or neck are common and are normal due to the lifestyle.
This kind of joint pain can be easily managed with a few daily tweaks and lifestyle changes. Infusing periodical walking breaks to shorten and break up the amount of time you spend sitting. You can also add an activity that causes you to move around for a few minutes to your schedule.

Arthritis Induced Joint Pain
There are different types of arthritis, but for this article, we will focus on the two most common and well-known types;
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect any joint in the body, causing pain, swelling, warmth and stiffness. To diagnose arthritis, your doctor or rheumatologist will take a thorough history and perform several tests. Your medical history, physical examination, and blood tests will be part of the factors for the diagnosis of Rheumatoid arthritis.
Sadly, Rheumatoid arthritis cannot be completely treated. The main goals of treatment for Rheumatoid arthritis are to control symptoms, improve function and ability to perform daily activities, and slow disease progression.
There are many effective joint pain medications and lifestyle choices for people with Rheumatoid arthritis which is specific to each person and can only be prescribed by a specialist. If you feel you have arthritis, you can reach out to a Specialist at Physio Fit here . Medication will likely be the most important factor in managing pain from Rheumatoid arthritis, but there are also important lifestyle changes to consider.

Osteoarthritis is often referred to as “wear and tear” arthritis and is the most common type of arthritis in the world. It happens when the cartilage (protective material) inside your joints starts to weaken. The joints most commonly affected are usually the knees, hips, spine or hands. Symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion, “bone on bone” sensation when moving, bone swelling.
The development of arthritis can be a normal effect of aging, but some people are more prone to developing Osteoarthritis. Women and people who are overweight have been proven to be at a higher risk of developing arthritis. Read more about that here. You are likely to develop arthritis in joints where you have had a previous traumatic injury (such as a shoulder, ACL or knee meniscal tear) and genetics also plays a role in the development.
Osteoarthritis is often diagnosed through a combination of physical examination and x-rays.
If your osteoarthritis is severe and progressive, total joint replacement may be required. The most commonly affected joint is the hip or knee. The thought of having joint replacement can be expensive, but it is an effective option for improving quality of life for people living with arthritis.

Arthritis Symptoms Control
We have discussed two different types of arthritis, however, the lifestyle advice for both conditions are similar.
o Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise is very beneficial for overall health and can help reduce joint pain or stiffness. The recommended amount to aim for is 30 minutes/day of moderate intensity exercise at least 5 days per week. However, if you currently live a sedentary lifestyle, this may seem like an impossible task. You don’t need to plan for 150 minutes per week right away. Start with a slow, steady amount that works for you based on your symptoms, even if it’s just 15 minutes of walking a day. If you manage to incorporate the practice of daily aerobic exercise into your life, it will greatly benefit your health in the long run.

o Resistance Training
Resistance training is something that should be recommended for anyone with osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid arthritis. The idea of doing resistance training may seem daunting, but you don’t need to join a gym to get started. Core weight training in the comfort of your own home can be very effective, especially if you are someone who does not do strength training. This will be especially important if you have arthritis, because strengthening the muscles around the joint will help reduce the load on the joint and improve your movement and ability to carry out daily tasks.

o Movement Exercises
Restricted movement is a common symptom of arthritis. For this reason, it is very important to include daily range of motion exercises to support the affected joint. This can help you improve on your movement and regain function.

o Nutrition
Good nutrition is important for everyone, especially if you have a condition such as arthritis. General guidelines for a healthy diet for these conditions include: low intake of saturated fat, high intake of fruit/vegetables and whole grains, lean meats, omega 3s and low alcohol intake. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, it may be beneficial to see a dietitian for customized nutritional advice.

Joint stiffness, when present without any other symptoms, may be harmless. In this case, some forms of physical exercise may be beneficial. If you have other symptoms, it is important that you see health professionals to get clear examination and treatment plan. You can book an appointment here.

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