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Arthritis Exercises to Alleviate Pain

Arthritis Exercises to Alleviate Pain

Q: I have been trying to deal with arthritis for a few years. It is mostly in my hands and neck. I take fish oil, MSM, tumeric, minerals, eat a diet very low in animal fats, lots of whole grains. One cup of coffee a day. Anything you can suggest that I am not currently doing?

A: While I can’t necessarily argue with any of the interventions you are currently using, the one glaring omission from your list is exercise.

Exercise has been shown to alleviate pain from osteoarthritis even better than some pain medications. Strengthening the muscles around affected joints helps to stabilize the joint, off-load pressure and reduce pain.

A good exercise for the hands is to fill the sink or bathtub with warm water, hold a rolled up washcloth in your fist, submerge your hands and squeeze on the cloth as if you are trying to squeeze the water out of it. You can also do this with a ball of clay or therapeutic putty.

If you haven’t already, ask your physician for a referral to a physical therapist who can teach you some good exercises for your neck and upper shoulders

Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at

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Dr. Brent

As an undergraduate, Dr. Brent Ridge majored in public health and environmental science, studying the way the state of the natural environment impacts our health choices. As a physician, he specializes in the field of aging. Send your health questions to Dr. Brent at


+ add your own
10:23AM PDT on Mar 26, 2012

Thanks for posting.

4:35AM PST on Mar 8, 2011

Thanks for the article.

7:06PM PST on Nov 30, 2010

Good tips thanks. I'm a Senior & suffer pain every day from a prior car accident w/surgerys. I do my a.m. stretches before I get out of bed, it really helps!

11:03AM PDT on Jul 17, 2010


5:40PM PDT on Jun 29, 2010

I was really hoping for more exercises than just the one. What about knees?

4:04PM PDT on Apr 26, 2010

My hands were so bad that I thought I would have to retire at the end of this year and go on disability. Then, I found CieAura pain chips. I no longer where the hand braces at all. At times, I wear the pain chips if the pain is too bad. For more information, check out There are no drugs involved at all.

6:29PM PDT on Mar 25, 2010

I have recently heard that tumeric is good. But, when I fell down a flight of concrete stairs about 15 years ago, I really hurt my writing hand. A close friend of mine brought to my office a couple of metal balls, which she found in an acupuncturist's shop. She told me to put them both in my hand and "roll them around" with my hand closed. It worked. Even though my doctor told me that I would probably get arthritis in that hand, I never did. I attribute that to those metal balls, which I used religiously for a couple of months.

4:43PM PST on Feb 28, 2010

Not sure if I also added to my posts to keep hydrated. This helps the muscles and tendons and connecting ligaments. Reduce your coffee to 1 or 2 a day and dont drink soft drinks or ease off them to if you have to once a week. diet foods and drinks do you no good at all as they are all preservative and additive laden. Fresh is best!
Keep walking and keep moving and a little resistant exercise is quite good. Do your own research and read and read and cross reference b/c its up to you not the medical profession to cure you or help you, you have to be willing to try many things but the most important thing is to address your food and drink intake as this reflects on your health and muscles. Usually its a huge allergy to foods, preservatives and additives that will impact on your body. SWEET POTOTOES ARE EXCELLENT to eat. I dont eat capsicums which are peppers and yet capsicums are ground down and put into arthritis creams..go figure! Any Deadly Nightshade foods can and will impact on your body if you are allergic and there are many who dont know that they allegic. Potato's, capsicums/red/green peppers, aubergines or eggplant, tomato's, cayenne pepper and tabasco sauce, pepita's is the website it might help you understand.

hope it helps you, keep learning!

4:37AM PST on Feb 28, 2010

thank you

1:04PM PST on Dec 17, 2009

I have arthritis and if I didn't exercise on a regular basis, I would not be able to move!

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people are talking

I've printed these out and will definitely include them in my fitness regimen.

Thanks for sharing.

"I’m a strong supporter of natural health therapies, which sometimes also lack scientific proof…

I think I'll take the chocolate over the garlic. ;-)


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