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My Joints Hurt – Is It Safe To Exercise?

Brad Banker, PT, DPT, NCS

The short answer:  Yes.  Often with joint pain you don’t really want to move.  It may be counter intuitive, but often that’s exactly what you need to do.  Multiple research studies have shown that exercise is an important intervention FOR joint pain. 

Exercise has been shown to be effective in the management of hip, knee and spinal osteoarthritis over and over again.  Having a thorough assessment is important to find out what the best form of exercise is for you.  Everybody is different and tolerates exercise differently.  Typically low impact exercise is the safest, and should include cardiovascular training, strength training and flexibility training.  Both Yoga and Tai Chi are excellent options that have been found to challenge all of your systems including your balance, strength and flexibility.  Walking is also a form of exercise that has been shown to have cardiovascular, muscular endurance, bone density and cancer preventative benefits. 

General guidelines for pain management are that you should get your heart rate up to the point that you are sweating a little and breathing a little more.  This should last for at least 10 minutes to be effective.  Three 10 minute bouts have been found to be as effective as 30 continuous minutes, and often makes it a little more manageable. 

As we say in PT, “motion is lotion.”  Movement will typically make you feel better.  The best form of exercise is the one you’ll do, so stay with what you like and makes you feel better.  A thorough PT evaluation will help you figure out what the most safe and effective exercise program is for you. Click here to schedule your appointment today! No referral required (based off your insurance plan).