By Curtis Child
DHAC Exercise Physiologist
Osteoarthritis (DJD) is the most common and most frequentlty disabiling of the joint disorders. OA begins in your 30s and peaks between 40-60 years of age. By 40 years of age, 90% of the population have degenerative joint changes in their weight bearing joints, even though symptoms are usually absent. 50% to 80% percent of the elderly population have OA. OA effects an estimated 26.9 million US adults while 409,000 hospitalization where accounted for as a primary diagnosis in 1997. OA of the knee is 1 of 5 leading causes of disability among non-institutionalized adults.
Some risk factors for osteoarthritis include age, obesity, previous joint damage, frequent occupational or recreational repetitive use, and plain old genetics. Symptoms include pain, morning stiffness, instability or buckling, limitation of motion and locking of a joint.
OA often occurs in weight bearing joints (hips, knees, cervical and lumbar spine) and in the fingers and knuckles. There are no medical treatments that stop the degenerative process. But preventive measure can slow down the progress.
Certain over the counter medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve) and other prescription medications can alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis. So can the exercise prescription.
What is the exercise prescription – just what it sounds like! Daily exercise prevents early cartilage degeneration and maintains normal articular cartilage. By combining strength training and low impact aerobic exercise you can slow arthritic progression and reduce pain – all without a single pill! Of course, results will vary for everyone, and we’re not telling you to forego medical treatment. But you just might be surprised at how much better exercise makes you feel.
Never exercised before? No worries! DHAC caters to fitness enthusiasts and newbies alike. Visit us to learn more!