Exercise, To Do Or Not To Do

Dear Doctor, I am 73 years old. My doctor tells me I need to exercise but I have arthritis in both hips and I hurt when I exercise. Should I exercise even if I hurt? Ms. Karen, Byron, Georgia

Dear Karen, Exercise is important for health. Sedentary lifestyle is one the major risk factors for heart disease. Estimates from the American Heart Association report that up to 250,000 deaths per year in the U.S. are due to lack of exercise on a regular basis. Many people who have arthritis, or other joint pain, cannot engage in even simple regular exercise because of pain. If joints hurt with exercise then you cannot do that particular exercise. The very best exercise for all people is aquatic therapy (swimming pool). Unfortunately, this is not available for most people. Any activity that gets you moving around is good. Just routine house work is good exercise: it's bending, and stretching, and lifting and more. Any repetitive movements like in walking or bike riding tend to inflame joints and cause more pain and/or damage. Most studies have shown that 30 minutes three times a week will change your health, and increase your basal metabolic rate, which is the rate at which you burn calories when sitting still. So, in summery, exercise is good but I could not recommend any exercise that causes pain. You may want prunelax to try something similar to prunelax. Good luck.

Dear Dr, I have been diagnosed with Soft Tissue Rheumatism. Will this turn into Rheumatoid Arthritis? I do have pain in my joints, and my Aunt has Rheumatoid Arthritis. Angela in Oklahoma City, OK.

Dear Angela, Soft tissue rheumatism is an illness in which the muscles are the problem, rather than the joints as in Rheumatoid arthritis. In some cases most of the skeletal muscles will be involved, or in other cases only a particular group of muscles is involved, such as the shoulder girdle. Rheumatoid factor from lab results will be negative, sedimentation rate on lab values will sometimes elevated-but not always. Treatment with an anti-inflammatory medicine usually yields good relief. Warmth applied to muscles increases blood flow which helps to get lactic acid out of the muscle. Sometimes a muscle relaxer will help with relaxing and healing the muscles during sleep. The word rheumatism can be applied to many musculoskeletal pains, including arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, and a vast array of other complaints. This illness does not lead to rheumatoid arthritis, although when muscles contract and/or spasm they pull on their insertion site which feels like joint pain. Keep warm and drink plenty of fluids.

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