The most recent EULAR recommendations for pain management in inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis (OA) include physical activity and exercise as a part of a patient’s treatment plan. Physical activity has been shown to significantly ease joint pain and increase mobility, for this reason, exercise is increasingly being prescribed by physicians and other healthcare providers.
Some examples of well-known and effective exercises for people with arthritis include walking, biking and swimming. These are low-impact aerobic exercises, meaning they will generally be easier on the joints and cause your heart rate to increase. Are there other activities that could also benefit people living with arthritis, such as yoga?
The Canadian Physiotherapy Association describes the profession as “anchored in movement sciences and aims to enhance or restore function of multiple body systems. The profession is committed to health, lifestyle and quality of life. This holistic approach incorporates a broad range of physical and physiological therapeutic interventions and aids”.
Unlike inflammatory arthritis, there are currently no medications to treat the underlying disease process of OA. For this reason, non-medication therapies such as those provided by a physical therapist are important to help slow or stop the progression of OA and help maintain function.
Fitbit’s are wearable devices that individuals can use to track their daily physical activity and increase motivation to do physical activity. Fitbit devices offer real time data on various aspects of daily life including number of steps taken, energy expenditure, time spent asleep, and time spent in different levels of activity. Fitbit devices are becoming increasingly popular in the health-conscious consumer public; they are also being used more frequently in research as measurement tools and to inform healthcare decisions. But are they accurate?
A team of researchers at Arthritis Research Canada and the University of British Columbia, lead by Dr. Lynne Freehan, recently conducted a study to find out how accurate Fitbit devices are as measurement tools. Currently, several devices exist that have been identified as a “research standard” for activity tracking. In this review, researchers measured Fitbit’s accuracy by comparing the readings to that of the research-grade devices.
Arthritis affects people of all ages and can cause stress, and in more serious cases, depression and anxiety. Pain researchers are discovering how emotions, thoughts, and behaviours can influence the level of pain someone experiences and how well they adjust to it. For instance, how an individual responds to stress can predict how well they will recover from hip replacement surgery. Even how a patient feels about whether their coping strategies are working, or not, can affect their experience of the pain itself. Other factors that can influence how well you manage with your disease are whether you feel helpless, tend to spend a lot of time thinking about your pain, whether you decide to accept your pain and carry on in spite of it, and how well you handle stress. Arthritis Broadcast Network believes people living with arthritis deserve extra relaxation on National Relaxation Day and hope that the following tips will help you relax!
Rhythmic breathing and deep breathing can help release tension from everyday life. The former involves inhaling and exhaling slowly while counting to five; the latter can be accomplished by filling your abdomen with air, like inflating and deflating a balloon.
Harvard Health summarizes the benefits of exercise as follows: Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. Endorphins are responsible for the “runner’s high” and for the feelings of relaxation and optimism that accompany many hard workouts — or, at least, the hot shower after your exercise is over.Continue reading →
With summer upon us, millions of Canadian youth are participating in sport activities every day. Sport and recreation is a great way for youth to get exercise, socialize, develop teamwork skills and improve mental and physical health. Unfortunately, the benefits of sport also come with the risk of injury. In fact, one in three youth aged 11-18 years will sustain a sport-related injury that requires medical attention each year, with knee and ankle injuries being the most common. Research has shown that these youth sport injuries, if not treated properly, can lead to osteoarthritis (OA) within 15 years, specifically a form known as post-traumatic osteoarthritis. Youth sport injury can also lead to obesity later in life, which happens to be another major risk factor for OA. This means that youth with 1 major risk factor for OA (joint injury) are in danger of acquiring a second risk factor for the disease (obesity).
Osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown of cartilage in the joints and affects more than 5 million Canadians nation-wide; the disease can cause moderate to severe pain, disability and even require surgery. Osteoarthritis symptoms generally appear 10-15 years after a joint injury, and by this time the disease is very difficult to treat. Unlike inflammatory arthritis, there are no medications to slow the disease process of osteoarthritis, so preventative measures are of even greater importance. The upside? We can ensure our youth take proper precautions to avoid injury and hugely minimize their risk of developing OA.
The benefits of exercise in inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis
ACE has frequently written about the benefits of exercise in inflammatory arthritis (IA) and osteoarthritis (OA). During a series of EULAR presentations, speakers provided evidence for regular physical activity for IA and OA patients.
Anne- Kathryn Rausch, an academic from Zurich University, spoke about how general recommendations for physical activity are effective, safe and feasible for patients with ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis. Continue reading →
The research literature on exercise is growing, and it is now generally accepted that there are many benefits of exercise for arthritis and osteoporosis. General benefits of exercise include improved heart and lung function, weight control, and improvement of self-esteem and self-confidence.
Before starting an exercise program, at home or at a gym, it is important to speak to a health professional trained in exercise for arthritis and osteoporosis. They can help you to design an exercise program that will be both safe and effective.
Before, during and after exercise:
It is important to warm-up and cool down before and after exercising. Use range of motion or heat.
If you are still experiencing pain more than two hours after exercise – you may have done too much.
Use slow, planned movements when doing ROM and strengthening exercises.
Practice in front of a mirror until you feel confident you are doing the exercise as demonstrated by your health professional.
New research shows that patients undergoing total joint replacement are younger now than they were in 2000. According to a review from the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database, the average patient undergoing a total hip replacement (THR) in 2014 was 64.9 years, while the average patient in 2000 was 66.3 years. In parallel, the average patient undergoing a total knee replacement (TKR) was 65.9 in 2014, and 68.0 in 2000.
Dr. Matthew Sloan, lead researcher and orthopaedic resident at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, tells Reuters Health by email: “These differences may not seem like much, but an average decrease of two years in a pool of 1 million people is a significant difference. It’s also a meaningful difference when you take into account the fact that these total joint replacements have a finite lifespan.”
Dr. Sloan further explains: “The technology for total hip and knee replacements continues to improve. However, at some point, the implant wears out. We believe modern implants without any unforeseen complications should last 20 years or more. The problem with an increasingly younger group of patients having these procedures, it becomes more likely that the implant will wear out during their lifetime. When this happens, a second surgery is required to revise the joint replacement. These procedures are not as successful as the initial surgeries, they are bigger operations, they take longer, and now the patient is 20 years older and not as strong as they were when they had the initial procedure.”
Because a second surgery is riskier and prone to complications like early failure or infection, the goal is to wait as long as possible so that a patient will undergo one surgery in their life. Other findings presented at the American Society of Orthopaedic Surgeon’s annual meeting include: Continue reading →
Total hip arthroplasty (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA), also known as hip/ knee replacements, are surgical procedures in which parts of the joint are replaced with artificial material to restore function and ultimately reduce pain. As an arthritis patient, if other forms of treatment have not improved the joint’s ability to function or been able to prevent additional damage, your rheumatologist may recommend arthroplasty.
A recent study conducted by a team of Canadian Physiotherapists at The University of Western Ontario has discovered valuable information regarding the impact of prehabilitative care prior to arthroplasty. The team wanted to see if education and exercises for patients before surgery (prehabilitation) impacts pain, function, strength, anxiety and length of hospital stay after surgery (post-operative outcomes).
Getting “Patient Satisfaction” from Arthritis Health Care
To celebrate Arthritis Awareness Month in Canada, in this issue of JointHealth™ insight, we highlight three international surveys that have helped identify gaps in arthritis models of care from the patient perspective. We want to know what you think. Please complete the three mini surveys in this month’s JointHealth™ insight. Your responses will help drive our 2018 information and education programs to support patients and improve the way health care is delivered by the rheumatologists, allied health professionals, health policy decision makers and others who provide care to Canadians with all types of arthritis.
In this issue, you will also:
Read about the model of care for rheumatoid arthritis
Find a Letter to the Editor template to increase awareness about arthritis in your community