Restricted mobility and sedentary lifestyle may not only lead to obesity but may be a serious cause of arthritis striking one at later stages of life. The slogan of World Arthritis Day that was observed on October 12 2012 was ‘move to improve’, city doctors recounted the benefits of mobility for the health of one’s bones. Even for those who have already fallen prey to these diseases, keeping active and mobile can arrest the progress of the disease, preventing it from worsening, they say. Speaking about the importance of physical activity, Dr Sajal Mitra, head of the orthopaedics department of Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) said, “Research has shown that even small amounts of physical activity can not only benefit people with rheumatoid arthritis, helping them to stay mobile, independent and able to participate in society, but are also important in helping to prevent some joint problems and conditions such as osteoporosis.”He said arthritis not just affects the joints but also the ligaments, muscles and tendons surrounding the joints. “The point of origin of pain is these internal structures and not bones alone. Movement streamlines their condition. Though we can’t reverse the damage done to the bones, the quality of structures can be improved by movement, thus relieving the sufferer of pain to certain extent,” he said. “Most of the elderly women in India have some bone related problems like osteoporosis, osteomalacia or osteoarthritis. Middle aged women can delay the onset of these diseases by regular weight bearing exercises as these activities stimulate the bones. Patients of these diseases can perform non-weight bearing exercises like swimming,” said orthopaedician Dr Sushrut Babhulkar. Mobility of the joints lubricates and nourishes them so as to reduce the speed of progression of these ailments, he added. He pointed out that among Indians, arthritis of the knee joint was much more common than that of hips which is more common in other countries. “This could be perhaps because of our practice of squatting to sit down, an action that lubricated the hip joint or it could have a genetic predisposition,” he said. “The aim of treating a bone-related ailment in most cases is to increase the mobility of the patient. Being bed-ridden increases stress, which has been proven to be an important factor in worsening the condition of an arthritis patient,” said former president of Vidarbha Orthopaedic Society (VOS) Dr Sanjiv Chaudhary. Except for inflammatory arthritis or that caused by infections like tuberculosis, where movements should be restricted, those with other forms of the disease must remain physically active, he said. As many of the sufferers of the disease are in their 40s and 50s, inability to move affects many other aspects of their lives, said Dr Makrand Dhopavkar. He advises regular exercises and controlling body weight as measures to slow down the progression of the disease. “Walking and cycling are among the best exercises for arthritis patients. They should, however, avoid putting undue pressure on their knees in the advanced stages of the disease,” he said.
Source : The Times Of India