Regular Exercise Reduces The Pain Of Arthritis
The following are just a few exercises you can try to help improve the flexibility and strength of your joints, and allow you to live more comfortably and independently. Be sure to consult a doctor or other healthcare professional before beginning this or any other exercise program.
Neck Exercise 1
Neck Exercise 2
Neck Exercise 3
This exercise will help you improve your posture by strengthening the muscles that support your neck.
Neck Exercise 1: Lie down with a cushion underneath your head. Push your head down onto the cushion with your chin slightly tucked in. Its helpful to think of a heavy weight being pushed down on your face and neck down your arms with your elbows bent at a right angle (90 degrees) and forearms vertical. Push your shoulder blades toward each other. Slowly count to 5. Repeat 10 times.
Exercises 2 and 3 will help you improve the mobility of your neck. Do not attempt these neck exercises if you have pain, numbness, or tingling down your arms. For both of these exercises, sit on a firm, comfortable straight-backed chair. Keep your shoulders square by gently putting your hands at the side of the chair to help make sure you're not tilting your shoulders.
Neck Exercise 2: Tilt your head gently to the left, bringing your left ear toward your left shoulder. When your neck becomes tight, push a little further and count slowly to 5. Slowly bring your head back to the center. Repeat, tilting your head to the right. Remember to keep your shoulders square during the exercise. Repeat the left and right sequence 10 times.
Neck Exercise 3: Tuck in your chin. Turn your neck slowly, moving your chin toward your left shoulder, as if attempting to look over your shoulder. When it feels tight, gently push a little further. Slowly count to 5. Gently bring your neck back to the center. Remember to keep your shoulders square during this exercise. Repeat, turning your head to the right. Now repeat the left and right sequence 10 times.
Shoulder Exercise 1
Shoulder Exercise 2
Shoulder Exercise 3
The following exercises will help stretch the muscles around your shoulders and make them easier to move. When performing these exercises, rest your hand on the arm of a chair for stability. If this is not comfortable, try leaning your entire forearm on the back of a chair or counter.
Shoulder Exercise 1: Swing your arm gently alongside your body, backwards and forwards.
Shoulder Exercise 2: Swing your arm gently from side to side across your body. Hold your arm away from your body.
Shoulder Exercise 3: Slowly swing your arm in a circle in front of your body. Then swing your arm in the opposite direction.
This exercise will help make it easier and more comfortable for you to move your elbows.
Elbow Exercise: Lie down and hold a broom handle or plunger stick with your palms facing down. Bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle, keeping your upper arms flat on the floor or mattress. Now fully extend your arms, pushing the stick straight up toward the ceiling. When you feel some discomfort in your elbows, try to go a little further. Slowly count to 5 and bring the stick back down to your chest. Repeat 10 times. With time, you may wish to add some weights to the stick to increase muscle exertion.
This exercise will help make your back and abdominal muscles stronger. Do not attempt this exercise if you currently have back pain, unless you have already discussed it with your doctor or physical therapist.
Back Exercise: Lie down on the floor or on a firm mattress with your knees bent, feet flat. Tighten your abdominal muscles and press your lower back down. Keep the small of your back pressed down against the floor or mattress throughout this exercise. Hold this position, slowly count to 5, then relax. Repeat 10 times.
After doing this exercise the first few times, you may experience some abdominal pain that could last from minutes to half an hour. If the pain continues for an hour or more, you should consult you doctor or physiotherapist.
Hand Exercise 1
Hand Exercise 2
Hand Exercise 3
Hand Exercise 4
The following exercises will help you move your wrist and fingers more comfortably.
Hand Exercise 1: Sit at a table, resting your entire forearm flat on the table. Place your other hand about 1 inch above the wrist of your arm on the table to keep the wrist still during the exercise. Slowly move your hand left and right from the wrist in a wiping motion while keeping your forearm still. Repeat 10 times.
Hand Exercise 2: Sit at a table, resting your entire forearm flat on the table. Place your other hand about 1 inch above the wrist of your arm on the table to keep the wrist still during the exercise. Slowly hang your hand over the edge of the table so that your fingers point straight downward. Next, slowly bring your hand up until your fingers point upward. Repeat 10 times.
Hand Exercise 3: Make a circle with your fingers by moving the tip of your index finger to touch the tip of your thumb. This should form an O shape. Next, move the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your thumb, then move the tip of your ring finger to the tip of your thumb; finally, move the tip of your little finger to the tip of your thumb. Fully open and stretch the fingers before forming the O with the next finger. Try to hold your thumb as still as possible while doing this exercise. Repeat 10 times.
Hand Exercise 4: Begin to bend your fingers at the joint closest to your fingertips. Next, bend the middle joint of your fingers, until your fingertips are touching your palm (or as close to your palm as possible). When your fingers are bent, move your thumb so that it touches your middle finger. To straighten your fingers, do the movement in reverse, stretch the fingers apart for a count of 5 between each flexion. This exercise should be done slowly and gently. Repeat 10 times.
Knee Exercise 1
Knee Exercise 2
This exercise strengthens and stretches the muscles above and below your knees. It is important to do this exercise before any other knee exercises. You will need a firm bed or sofa with some cloth to elevate your heel slightly.
Knee Exercise 1: Sit on a firm bed or sofa with your leg straight with the cloth under your heel. Flex your foot, and straighten out your leg even further by tightening the muscles above your knee; at the same time, try to slide your heel along the tray. You should try to do this so the gap between your knee and the bed or sofa disappears. Slowly count to 5. Repeat 10 times.
The exercise below will also help make your knee easier to move.
Knee Exercise 2: Sit on a firm bed or sofa with your legs extended. Place a rolled-up towel or blanket under your thigh just above the knee. Straighten your leg and lift your foot, pulling your toes toward you. Hold this position and slowly count to 5, then slowly lower your foot. You should feel the muscle get tight with each set of 5 counts. Repeat 10 times. With time, you may want to try performing this exercise with a weight on your ankle to make the muscles work harder.
Foot Exercise 1
Foot Exercise 2
Do not wear shoes or socks while doing the following foot exercises. The exercise below will help make it easier and more comfortable to move your ankles.
Foot Exercise 1: While seated with your legs dangling, slowly rotate both feet from the ankles, using a circular motion. Do this 5 times circling inward, and then 5 times circling outward. Try to keep your legs still while performing this exercise.
The exercise below will help to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your feet.
Foot Exercise 2: Point your foot downward and curl your toes, tightening your foot muscles as if making a fist with your foot. Slowly count to 5. Relax your foot. Next, bend your ankle upward and spread your toes out like a fan. Slowly count to 5. Repeat the sequence 10 times slowly with each foot.
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