Health Watch -- Arthritis Treatment (Part 2)

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

One of the best treatments for arthritis doesn't come in a pill.

Osteoarthritis is caused by the wearing down of joints, usually because of age. It's the most common form of arthritis and usually affects the hips, knees and hands. Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say exercise is one of the best ways of treating this kind of arthritis.

A good exercise program tailored for the needs of arthritis patients has a number of benefits. Strengthening the muscles around a joint helps stabilize and take pressure off the joint. Exercise also improves flexibility and promotes an overall sense of health and well-being. Just doing something about your condition helps you feel more in control, and exercising with a group of people in the same situation gives you the opportunity to share experiences.

Dr. David Karp, chief of rheumatic diseases at UT Southwestern, says there are a variety of exercise programs available for arthritis sufferers, including water exercise programs that help take weight and stress off of knee and hip joints.

It's important to work with a doctor or physical therapist when developing an arthritis exercise program to make sure you're taking proper precautions. Your local Arthritis Foundation chapter can help you find arthritis exercise experts.


April 2004