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Fighting Arthritis Pain

June 2012
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I heard a commercial about a website that is advocating exercise, not surprisingly, as a combatant against arthritis pain.

I have written about this many times, but let’s look at what the site says:

“Scientists are very interested in this question and actively investigating the effects of exercise on OA-afflicted joints. A few things about exercise are known. Exercise strengthens the muscles around joints and keeps them flexible. Strong, flexible muscles do a better job supporting and stabilizing joints than weak muscles. Strong muscles also relieve pain and prevent the pain from activity. Exercise also loosens stiff joints, preserving their ease and range of movement. Finally, exercise that revs up your heart and breathing releases brain chemicals that reduce pain and make you feel good while helping to make or keep you fit.

But, there may be even more that exercise does to help people with OA. One theory is that exercise somehow protects joints from the damaging effects of the disease. In a review of 28 studies of knee OA, exercise was found to be associated with an increased amount of cartilage within knee joints and fewer cartilage defects. Another study discovered a surge of anti-inflammatory activity within the knee joints of women with knee OA immediately after performing intensive quadriceps (thigh muscle) strengthening exercises. While these findings are exciting, further research is needed to fully understand the effects of exercise on joints affected by OA.

Here’s what I wrote:  “Joints are, in fact, strengthened and modified by exercise“.  According to that first link, the exact opposite [of the original statement, that running is bad for the knees] is true…  Only 20% of runners developed arthritic knees while 32% of the control group did over the long haul.

And this in April:  “I have written detailed posts on this before – studies show that stress on your joints is necessary.  Our knee cartilage contains cells that sense the impact and repair/build more – without the impact, knees can actually deteriorate faster.  As proof, scientists tracked distance runners for decades and found they developed knee arthritis at a lesser rate (30%) than their control group that didn’t run.  In addition, the impact triggers the brain to increase bone mass density – without that trigger, bones can deteriorate – and even worse, if all of the cardio and strength training is low to no impact, they become brittle.  The low/no impact myth is only used to sell stuff you don’t need nowadays.  Now, if you’ve had an injury that changes how your legs perform the task of running, as in Carl’s case (in the commercial), then you do need the low impact – but that’s hardly what the commercial suggests”.

Earlier, in March, I quoted an article that said this:  ““Articular cartilage actually has its own feedback mechanism to respond to exercise. Chondrocytes, the living cells that make up just 1% of cartilage, sense the loading of articular cartilage and regulate the production of matrix components to repair and remodel the tissue in response to stress”.  What this means in layman’s terms is that 1% of your cartilage is made up of cells that sense and respond to loading on the cartilage and that causes the production of more of the cells which repair the tissue in response to the loading.  To break it down further, your body is made for this stuff – even your knees”.

If you happen to know someone with arthritis, please pass the information along.  One can only hope that it will help someone get off the couch.

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2 Comments

  1. […] mine), he had more cartilage than the average person – I’ve written about this before, many, many times – running signals the brain, and the responsive 1% of cells present in the cartilage […]

  2. There may be noticeably a bundle to know about this.
    I assume you made sure good points in features also.

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