Our fitness expert explains exercises and products for arthritis pain relief

What Are The Best Exercises And Products For Arthritis Pain?

While exercise is vital for everyone, people with arthritis know the importance of staying active. Unfortunately, back, hip or knee pain means there are only a limited number of exercises you can safely do. If you’re struggling to find the right exercises to help you stay fit and keep arthritic pain to a minimum, you’re not alone.

As a performance improvement specialist and founder of Serious Fitness, Judd NeSmith knows how to help people achieve optimal fitness. So we asked him for advice on the best exercises and products for arthritis pain relief.

What you should know about osteoarthritis

What is osteoarthritis?

With over 100 types of arthritis, it is not really a single disease and cannot be linked to a specific cause. Instead, arthritis is often used to refer to joint pain or joint disease. Some common types are osteoarthritis, where the cartilage that cushions bones wears away, and inflammatory arthritis. Inflammatory arthritis includes rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and gout. “Sometimes it’s just a matter of being born with that particular genetic map for arthritis to run in the family,” NeSmith said.

Arthritis treatment tips

  • “Exercise will not cure arthritis. However, it can prevent it from getting worse. Exercise builds a stronger joint, builds muscle mass, and provides greater stability,” NeSmith noted.
  • Massage is excellent for arthritic inflammation. If you have a massage gun, use the pinky attachment and use it to work the forearm muscles attached to your hand.
  • One way to reduce pain is to increase blood flow. Increased blood flow warms the soft tissue and makes it more supple.
  • Weight gain over the years can put too much stress on the joint and cause arthritic pain. Losing weight primarily relieves the hips, knees and ankles.

Exercises to relieve pain in arthritis

Regardless of the type of arthritis, one of the best ways to reduce pain is to stay active. According to NeSmith, “Starting with a simple exercise routine could make a big difference across the board. It would really reduce pain, improve mobility, and make you stronger.” However, the exercises that benefit you depend on where your arthritis is bothering you the most.

Arthritis in the spine or back

Pain in the spine or back often occurs with age due to improper movement patterns and poor posture. To reduce the pain, focus on strengthening your mid-upper back, which will ultimately help you get back into alignment.

Resistance bands are helpful for back exercises, but make sure they have a grip. NeSmith recommends doing standing row rows to relieve your spine or back pain. For this exercise, attach the band to a pole, door, or something solid. While facing the bar, grab the resistance band with your hand and pull it toward your belly button, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart. “Doing three sets of 15 reps consistently every other day can really help a person reduce cervical spine pain due to arthritis,” he said.

arthritis in the hips

If you’re primarily feeling pain in your hips, modified squats are the most beneficial exercise. Instead of squatting all the way down, adapt this movement by going only part of the way down or by using the wall or a chair for support. Modified squats not only strengthen the quadriceps around your knee, hamstrings, and glutes, but also increase blood flow to the joints. While it looks like a simple exercise, NeSmith finds it to be one of the best ways to treat and even slow down arthritis.

arthritis in the hands

One of the easiest ways to minimize arthritic pain in your hands is to train with hand strengtheners like grip balls or hand grippers. It promotes blood circulation in the hands and strengthens the fingers. To do this properly, wrap both fingers and thumbs around the handle. The goal is to achieve 20 to 30 repetitions three times a day.

Osteoarthritis in the knees

Wearing a knee brace while walking or exercising is essential for anyone with arthritis in their knees. Some recommended exercises include modified squats and calf stretches. Knee osteoarthritis is common, and unfortunately sometimes knee replacement surgery is the best option. However, NeSmith cautioned that even if you feel like you have a brand new knee, you should limit the amount of activity.

Best Arthritis Pain Relief Products

TheFitLife Exercise Resistance Bands with Handles

With a sturdy carabiner and adjustable tension level, users can customize the resistance level by stacking multiple bands. This set includes two padded handles, a waterproof carry case, two ankle straps and five labeled anti-snap latex bands in different resistance levels.

Sold by Amazon

Serenilite Hand Therapy Exercise Stress Ball

Serenilite Hand Therapy Exercise Stress Ball

This package contains a soft, medium and hard density ball with a high tenacity gel core and smooth Lycra cover. They are durable and hypoallergenic and will keep their shape.

Sold by Amazon

Slip Grip Strength Trainer

Slip Grip Strength Trainer

Because you can easily adjust the resistance level from 20 pounds to 90 pounds, this grip strength trainer is ideal for all training levels. It is compact enough to take with you on the go and has a curved design and non-slip grip to provide safety and comfort.

Sold by Dick’s sporting goods and Amazon

Shock Doctor Bio-Logix knee brace

Shock Doctor Bio-Logix knee brace

The bilateral aluminum hinges provide support during exercise while allowing a natural range of motion. In addition, this knee brace uses a compression sleeve and a combination of soft and rigid materials to provide maximum comfort.

Sold by Dick’s sporting goods and Amazon

Copper Fit ICE knee compression sleeve

Copper Fit ICE knee compression sleeve

This knee compression sleeve offers the cooling sensation of microencapsulated menthol to reduce stiffness and pain. Plus, the seamless anti-chafing design and four-way stretch ensure you stay comfortable.

Sold by Dick’s sporting goods and Amazon

Theragun Elite massage gun

Theragun Elite massage gun

Relieve tension, relieve pain and tame arthritic inflammation with this ultra-quiet massage gun. It has a battery life of 120 minutes and connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth.

Sold by theragun and Amazon

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Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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