Arthritis patients are advised to exercise and move as much as possible. However, many people who suffer from this condition lead a sedentary lifestyle; either because they have chosen to do so, or because their job enforces that kind of lifestyle. Long-term sitting significantly aggravates arthritis symptoms. Here is what sitting does to our bodies and what we can do to reduce the effect of sitting down on our joints.
The effects of long-term sitting on arthritis patients
- Hip pain is one of the most common symptoms mentioned by arthritis patients who are sitting down for long periods of time. It is most commonly very sharp pain of high intensity which does not last for long and can sometimes transform into dull pain. This is a very clear sign that your arthritis has progressed and that the thick cartilage that surrounds the hip has fallen out of its socket. If you frequently feel this kind of pain, you should seek expert advice because your hips are more prone to injuries than they were while the cartilage was in its socket.
- Knee pain is another symptom that occurs after long-term sitting as reported by arthritis patients. If you suffer from arthritis, the worst chair for you is the one high enough that your feet cannot touch the ground. You should avoid sitting on bar stools. The weight of the lower leg while sitting in that position puts additional strain on the ligaments which have already been weakened by arthritis, so getting up from that position is usually very hard. You should not be sitting with your legs crossed because it additionally burdens your knees. It is recommended to take dietary supplements which contain chondroitin sulfate to help better mobility of your joints. This ingredient has been proven to have positive effect on cartilage renewal and help reduce the stiffness that you feel.
- Neck and spine pain is common even in people who don’t have arthritis because long-term sitting in the same position weakens the muscles that support vertebral column. While sitting down you should turn your head to left and right every once in a while to prevent neck stiffness. You should also try to make your spine into a regular arch while sitting down. Don’t save on the office chair. Many of these symptoms can be reduced by choosing the right chair.
Morning stretching exercise routine
Majority of patients complains about pain and stiffness in the morning. It is hard to bend joints painlessly after the body had been still during the night, seldom changing position. It is very important to start the day with stretching exercises that last only a few minutes and they significantly better the mobility throughout the day. Good news is that you don’t have to be physically fit or especially skilled to do these exercises. Stretch your knees, hips, hands, spine, and neck. Regardless of the type of exercise you choose to do that (yoga, Pilates or any other program) it is very important to do your routine every morning, as soon as you get up.
When starting your day, keep in mind 30-30 rule which physiatrists claim is the key rule for arthritis patients. For every 30 minutes of sitting down, change your position and stretch your body for 30 seconds.