Simple exercises to help relieve spinal arthritis symptoms

Spinal arthritis exercises

Spinal arthritis exercises can be an important part of any physical therapy program aimed at relieving the pain that accompanies arthritis in the neck or back. However, before you begin stretching and strengthening practices for arthritis, it is important to know how the disorder affects your body and which specific exercises give you the best chance of overcoming your discomfort.

A normal joint is like a well-oiled hinge. Movement comes easily and painlessly because cartilage and synovial fluid keep the joint flexible and free of obstructions. An arthritic joint, however, has degenerated and become inflamed, causing every movement of the joint to be potentially very painful. Spinal arthritis exercises should, therefore, be aimed at strengthening muscles and ligaments around the joint so that weight burden can be reduced in the arthritic area. Exercise also serves to help individuals affected by spinal arthritis to lose weight, reduce stress, increase blood circulation, experience a better night’s sleep, improve flexibility and alleviate depression.

Your physical therapist or spine specialist may talk to you about the spinal arthritis exercises listed below. It is extremely important, however, to consult with your physician before attempting any exercise for your spinal arthritis, as some exercises could make your condition worse.

Popular exercises for spinal arthritis

Here are some examples of common spine exercises:

  • Range of motion. Keep muscles limber by doing small arm circles. A mild game of golf can keep the lumbar (lower) and cervical (upper) regions of your spine flexible.
  • Meditation. Very light stretching and rhythmic breathing can help calm your mind and body, thereby allowing your inflamed joints to relax.
  • Neck and back. Gently move your head from side to side, and then practice bending forward and backward.
  • Aerobic exercise. Build endurance without doing high-impact activities by swimming easy laps in a pool or training on an elliptical machine.

Spinal arthritis exercises can be done in conjunction with over-the-counter or prescription pain medication, which can help relieve discomfort so that you are able to pursue a more active lifestyle. Remember, however, to keep your physician and/or physical therapist informed about any medications and supplements you are taking.

What if exercise doesn’t help?

If you have been diagnosed with spinal arthritis, and you find that conservative remedies, like spinal arthritis exercises, are not providing you with enough pain relief to continue your everyday activities, Laser Spine Institute may be able to help. Our team of surgeons have perfected several minimally invasive stabilization and decompression procedures that have helped tens of thousands of people find relief from chronic neck and back pain. Our outpatient procedures are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck and back surgery.^

To determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive outpatient procedures, we can provide a free MRI review.* For more information about our procedures, contact the caring team at Laser Spine Institute today.