Spinal arthritis exercises can be an important part of any physical therapy program aimed at relieving the pain that accompanies spinal arthritis. Before you begin stretching and strengthening practices for arthritis, however, it is important to know how the disorder affects your body.
A normal joint is like a well-oiled hinge. Movement comes easily and painlessly because cartilage and synovial fluid keep the joint lithe and free of obstructions. An arthritic joint, however, means that the joint has either degenerated (osteoarthritis) or become inflamed (spinal rheumatoid arthritis), causing every movement of the joint to be extremely painful. Spinal arthritis exercises should, therefore, be aimed at strengthening muscles and ligaments around the joint so that a weight burden can be reduced in the arthritic area. Exercise also serves to help individuals affected by spinal arthritis to lose weight, reduce stress, increase blood circulation, experience a better night’s sleep, and alleviate depression.
Your physical therapist or doctor may talk to you about the spinal arthritis exercises listed below. It is extremely important, however, to consult with your doctor before attempting any exercise for your spinal arthritis, as some exercises could make your condition worse.
- Neck and back: gently move head from side to side, then practice bending forwards and backwards
- Range of motion: keep muscles limber by doing small arm circles. Plus, a mild game of golf can keep the lumbar (lower) and cervical (upper) regions of your spine flexible
- Aerobic exercise: build endurance without doing high-impact activities by swimming easy laps in a pool or training on an elliptical machine
- Meditation: Very light stretching and rhythmic breathing can help calm your mind and body, thereby allowing your inflamed joints to relax
Spinal arthritis exercises can be done in conjunction with over-the-counter or prescription pain medication, though remember that no exercise program should ever be attempted without the input and approval of your physician and/or physical therapist.
If you have been diagnosed with spinal arthritis and you find that conservative remedies, like spinal arthritis exercises, are not providing you with enough pain relief to continue your everyday activities, Laser Spine Institute (LSI) may be able to help. Our award-winning surgeons have developed several innovative, minimally invasive endoscopic procedures that have helped tens of thousands of people improve their spinal health. Contact us today for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan.