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Weeklong Series on Arthritis: Arthritis Part Four

| November 25, 2013


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Arthritis is a chronic health condition affecting millions of Americans. While the common thread of symptoms include joint pain and inflammation, doctors treat more than a hundred different kinds of arthritis. Some modes of treatment are a necessity for patients going from pain to pain free. Arthritis patient Janet Sawyer exercises three times a week. Living with arthritis for ten years, staying active has helped REDUCE her pain and IMPROVED her quality of life. “If I didn’t I would be sitting in a chair not moving at all because of the pain but you have to work through the pain that’s what I have been doing,” says Sawyer. While joint pain, inflammation, stiffness and swelling are some of the symptomatic issues that accompany arthritis THERE IS HOPE in treating the disease say healthcare practitioners. If you include something else…a healthy lifestyle. Bradley Ala is a Physical Therapist for the Aroostook Medical Center and says “the treatment really is lifestyle modification so proper diet, maintaining a healthy weight.” Sawyer says she changed her way of living once she was diagnosed with arthritis. One thing she immediately started to do…was GET ACTIVE. And while regular activity and motion might discourage arthritis patients because it ENCOURAGES PAIN, Ala says exercise is the best way to beat arthritis. “Initially its painful for them to do the exercises because motion is going to irritate some of these things but as they go along and their muscles get stronger it actually helps to alleviate the pain. The only thing that happens if you don’t start something is its going to get worse so its never too late to try to make improvements in your life and help minimize the pain,” says Ala. Although there are a hundred different kinds of arthritis that medically exist, Ala says regular exercise is a known way to treat most of them. Along with a healthy diet and exercise he says patients should also talk to their doctors about treatment options that include medication. He adds “You want to talk to your doctor about antiinflammatories, different immuno suppressants that they take as well, in terms of therapy you’re still going to be strengthening those joints, maximizing range of motion and good proper strength.” Sawyer says she refuses to let arthritis pain keep her from living life to its fullest. “I feel better and that’s what I needed, I needed to feel better to be able to get up and start moving and the pain, I have no pain,” says Sawyer.


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