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5 tips to help manage arthritis pain

October 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Learn five tips that could help you lessen the pain of arthritis and maybe even avoid it altogether."I've been having problems walking up and down stairs, which is really odd considering my age," said Karen Stevens. "I don't feel old. I don't act old."

But her knees felt old. Stevens is in her early 40s and thought she just may of pulled something.

"I thought maybe I tore something while taking a pilates class," said Stevens. "He took X-rays and a MRI and told me I had the beginnings of arthritis, which shocked me."

Stevens suffers from osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, the degenerative joint disease.

While it mainly affects people over the age 55, wear tear on joints is the reason why it is becoming a younger person's disease.

"Just like your tires thin out over time with the more miles you put on them, the more you move those joints around, the more you'll have problems with arthritis," said USC's Dr. Tom Vangsness.

Dr. Vangsness sees a lot of wear and tear in athletes. He gives his patients five simple tips that can help prevent and lessen the pain of osteoarthritis.

"Get the joints moving," said Dr. Vangsness. "Get them moving and get them strong."

Do exercises that strengthen the muscles around the knees and hips. This will take some of the burden off of your joints.

Warm up before a workout and always cool down. Stay close to your ideal weight.

"And even just an extra 10 to 20 pounds on you will make a difference," said Stevens.

Include a low impact exercise into your regular routine. And stretch regularly.

"Read about it. Go online and read about tips on how to be well, in terms of exercise and eating well," said Dr. Vangsness.

While it may seem counter-intuitive to work your joints more when you are in pain, Stevens says the advice is helping.

"It feels odd, but I'm strengthening the joint," she said.

Osteoarthritis affects more people than rheumatoid arthritis which is an auto immune disease. Most people with wear and tear will feel it in their hips and knees. People with rheumatoid arthritis will feel it more in their hands and wrists.


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