When you live with an ongoing or chronic condition, such as arthritis, it can be difficult and painful to complete daily tasks. These tasks include using a computer mouse to running errands. But exercise therapy can ease arthritic pain.

While arthritis limits your range of motion, treatments, such as manual therapy and a therapeutic exercise program, can help you keep moving. Many people opt to visit a chiropractor for a therapeutic exercise program. It can help you manage and alleviate arthritis-related symptoms like arthritic pain, rather than turning to surgery or prescription medication.

Professionals like Dr. Kenneth Stelsoe, a chiropractor based in Waterloo, Ontario, often prescribe specific therapeutic exercises to help their patients alleviate arthritis-related pain.

Use it or lose it

If discomfort limits your activity level, your muscles will begin to lose their strength. As your muscles lose strength, your range of motion declines and your pain increases. “It’s the golden rule of nature. If you don’t use it, you lose it,” Dr. Stelsoe explains. “Most patients will benefit from prescribed exercise therapy. This therapy can include stretching, strengthening, postural awareness, balance training and neuromuscular exercise.”

For some people, exercise-based therapy is a challenge because our initial reaction to discomfort is to stop any action that triggers pain.

“The mentality is sometimes it hurts, so I won’t do it,” explains Ed Ziesmann, vice-president, education programs and services for the Arthritis Society. Pushing through discomfort and stopping when true pain is felt can ensure the exercise is healing you, rather than adding to your pain.

Find the right exercise for you

Although exercise has an increasingly positive effect on your body, it’s important to ensure you do the right exercises for your body.

Use controlled movements to build strength and improve your range of motion. Swimming, low impact aerobics, cardio gym machines and weight-bearing exercises are good examples of controlled exercises that can help get you moving again, with less pain.

If you have a limited range of motion, consider lower impact activities like yoga, Pilates and other stretching-based activities, along with chiropractic care, massage therapy and physiotherapy.

While exercise therapy helps people living with arthritis, exercise recommendations vary from person to person.  Choosing which exercises are best for you depends on your specific issues, as well as your current fitness level and strength.

Chiropractors are committed to helping you be more physically active. A chiropractor can evaluate your strength and range of motion, as well as screen for anything that may limit your physical ability. Ask your chiropractor for an evaluation before you start.

Then work with a chiropractor to create an   exercise therapy plan that can ease your arthritic pain, instead of adding to it.

To find a chiropractor near you, use the chiropractor locator on our website. In Ontario, you can visit a chiropractor without a referral from a doctor, nurse practitioner or other health care professional. If you already have a chiropractor and/or another health care professional, join our Partnership4BetterHealth online patient advisory community. Then, you can share your ideas on how to enhance chiropractic services and make a positive impact on our health care system. It’s confidential, free, and always your choice to participate.