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Bazgha from Fort McMurray asks: My wife has rheumatoid arthritis; she has pain in her hand joints. What kind of exercise would you recommend to ease the pain and stop the condition from getting worse.
Exercise is good for the body and similarly, good for joints. Keeping muscles strong around joints may help reduce pain and will help maintain function. Weaker muscles may lead to more pain and less ability to do day to day activities. Of course, everyone should always listen to their bodies – whether or not they have arthritis – so as not to over do it. If it is starting to hurt too much, take a break.
Shannon from Strome asks: Would you recommend the practice of yoga for inflammatory arthritis patients? Would you share benefits of a regular yoga practice and any cautions or concerns you may have?
While there are studies looking at the potential benefits of yoga for individuals with inflammatory arthritis, they are limited. That said, the results that have been published appear encouraging, with improvement in pain and quality of life. The risks of yoga, as would be the case for most forms of exercise, are small. It is generally considered quite safe. Just like someone who does not have arthritis, if something hurts, you listen to your body and stop. However, yoga should not make the arthritis itself worse and has many potential benefits to those who participate.
Rasa from Edmonton asks: I have fibromyalgia, but I am having a difficult time getting in to see a rheumatologist. Isn’t fibromyalgia treated by rheumatologists?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that presents with diffuse muscle and joint pain, poor sleep, and fatigue. Some patients also describe stomach ailments and have history of headaches. The symptoms may often be vague, but can be debilitating to patients with it. Rheumatologists often see patients with fibromyalgia before a clear diagnosis has been made. For some people, it is important to rule out other possibilities, including conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, and other autoimmune inflammatory diseases which require a different treatment approach.
If a diagnosis of fibromyalgia has been established, there is no specific expertise a rheumatologist has compared to other physicians, including family physicians. The first steps in managing fibromyalgia include a slow progressive increase in exercise, working on sleep hygiene, and learning more about fibromyalgia. Please visit our webpage on fibromyalgia to learn more the condition and resources available in the Edmonton area.
Daniel from Edmonton asks: My friend has psoriatic arthritis. He is in a lot of pain and is getting treatment to help deal with his condition. One thing he would like to do is start a fitness routine to help. I’m looking for advice on how to help plan and work in a fitness routine that could account for his joint pain.
Great question! We encourage our patients with inflammatory arthritis to stay active despite having arthritis. We know that maintaining activity and muscle strength is a positive, and can be an important component of treatment and well being. Further, activity itself should not make the arthritis worse. That said, every individual is different and we need to ensure an appropriate balance between remaining active and not causing pain. Physical therapists with expertise in inflammatory arthritis are often involved in consulting and developing activity plans. Your rheumatologist should be able to recommend an appropriate physical therapist to you.