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Staying Active to Prevent, Reduce Pain of Osteoarthritis

By Brad Hauber on 
Posted on July 13, 2020

Staying Active to Prevent, Reduce Pain of Osteoarthritis

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Levy, please contact 440-349-7137. If you are experiencing back, neck or joint related issues, the Spine and Orthopedic Institute at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center can help. We are offering same day appointments today at: 216-861-6200, option 5. Your health is our priority.

For those suffering with pain from osteoarthritis, exercise may seem like the last thing they want to do. However, research shows staying active may be the best way to ward off progression and pain from the disease.

“While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there is a lot we can do to reduce pain and improve function,” said Matthew Levy, MD, St. Vincent Charity Spine and Orthopedic Institute. “Regular, moderate exercise helps to strengthen muscles surrounding the affected joints and improves flexibility and balance.” 

Exercise can also help to reduce joint stiffness, build endurance, improve mood and self-esteem, improve sleep, help to manage weight and provides energy. The CDC recommends adults participate in at least 150 minutes of cumulative, moderate exercise each week. Exercise does not have to be continuous to yield health benefits, but rather, can be broken up into three or four 10-minute sessions per day.

Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States affecting both men and women equally. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time. While osteoarthritis can damage any joint, most often the disease affects hips, knees, spine and hands.

Before beginning an exercise program, Dr. Levy encourages patients to first talk with their doctor to discuss their specific situation to identify the best exercises and activities. In some cases, Dr. Levy recommends consultation with a physical therapist to help develop an appropriate exercise and strengthening routine and to ensure exercises are performed properly to prevent injury.

  • Flexibility/range of motion exercises—Daily upper and lower body gentle stretching and tai chi can help maintain and improve your joints’ ability to move through the full range of motion, relieving stiffness and delivering more freedom of motion for regular activities.
  • Strengthening exercises—Exercises, such as overhead arm raises, seated leg raises, lying leg lifts and hip abduction, help to maintain or strengthen muscles to better support and protect joints affected by osteoarthritis.
  • Endurance exercises—Walking, biking and yoga are effective and safe low-impact aerobic exercises for those suffering from osteoarthritis. In addition, swimming and water aerobics are ideal because buoyancy makes moving in the water easier on the joints, allowing movement that would be painful on land.

For those just beginning an exercise routine, the American Heart Association has developed a Six-Week Beginner Walking Plan that can easily be implemented from home. In addition, the National Institute on Aging offers a number of articles and tips on how to fit exercise into your daily routine safely and motivation to get moving.


Dr. Levy is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in general orthopedics and sports medicine at the Spine and Orthopedic Institute at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in Solon, Independence and the SVCMC Medical Office Building in Cleveland. For a consultation, call 440-349-7137.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Levy, please contact 440-349-7137. If you are experiencing back, neck or joint related issues, the Spine and Orthopedic Institute at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center can help. We are offering same day appointments today at: 216-861-6200, option 5. Your health is our priority.

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