Can Arthritis Be Reversed with Exercise?

Exercise may not be able to reverse damage that has already been done, but it can help prevent arthritis from worsening and has the added benefit of maintaining a healthy weight.


is essential for people with arthritis, as it increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and combats fatigue. When joint pain and stiffness are overwhelming, the idea of going for a walk or swimming a few laps can seem daunting. However, Michael Raab explains how exercise can reverse joint stiffness, pain, and weakness.

Ellie Heintze, ND, LAC (a naturopathic doctor and licensed acupuncturist) states that arthritis can be painful and persistent, leading to frustration when it's hard to find relief. Acupuncture is a non-invasive alternative treatment that has been proven in numerous studies to help reduce pain and increase mobility.

Acupuncture works by increasing blood flow to the area, which helps reduce inflammation, speed healing, and may reduce pain.

Studies show that acupuncture can help relieve pain by improving the body's nervous system, which can boost the production of pain-reducing endorphins. Following a prescribed treatment plan and frequency will help the joint heal in the long term and increase range of motion. Dr. Brian Meenan, DC adds: “Exercise programs focusing on the affected joint are one of the best ways to help prevent osteoarthritis.

These exercises are usually very specific and are often performed by a physical therapist so that the patient can increase proprioception in the area, increase joint stability, and improve muscle function around the joint. Meenan also states: “Especially when it comes to arthritis of the lower extremities, in the hips, knees or ankles, being overweight or obese can exacerbate or cause arthritis. The increased load on each of these joints leads to increased wear and tear, causing the joint to break more quickly. Additionally, people who are overweight and obese are not usually as active as those with a normal or “healthy” weight, which can lead to arthritis. Our joints are made with synovial fluid, which acts as a lubricant, similar to the oil in your car.

The joint must move so that the synovial fluid can circulate and lubricate it. When the joint is not moved frequently, the fluid becomes more viscous and thicker, thus losing its lubricating characteristics. Lisa Richards, nutritionist and author of The Candida Diet says: “Turmeric is a natural and effective anti-inflammatory compound. This feature makes it effective in reducing chronic pain, mitigating joint pain, and helping to improve the quality of life for people with various forms of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Turmeric makes a delicious tea with these additional benefits. Turmeric is also known for its antioxidant potential.

This feature allows you to fight free radicals and remove toxins from the body. Free radicals can damage cells in our body and cause various chronic conditions, including cancer. In this way, turmeric can be effective in preventing or mitigating many of these diseases. A cup of turmeric tea contains approximately 1 teaspoon of turmeric. Each teaspoon contains approximately 200 mg of turmeric and 400 to 600 mg is considered a safe dose.

With this in mind, turmeric is best absorbed on an empty stomach; therefore it is ideal to drink 2-3 cups a day before each meal. Karena Wu, physical therapist and owner of ActiveCare Physical Therapy says: “Keeping muscles flexible and strong around the joints can help “reverse” arthritis symptoms. When muscles are flexible, the joint's ability to move within its full range of motion increases. The movement helps the joint fluid to move which nourishes the bone ends. When muscles are strong, the amount of compression around the joint is reduced because strong muscles can absorb the forces between the bones. People who are overweight, tense and stiff are at greater risk; especially if they also do high-intensity and highly repetitive exercises.

Arthritis also has a genetic component; however in general osteoarthritis is repetitive wear and tear on the joint. The more you use your body; the greater wear and tear from repetitive and chronic use. However other factors such as not maintaining individual muscle strength; not being flexible enough; not being stable around joints; can increase risk of any damage to a joint. People can prevent arthritis by keeping their bodies strong by doing strength exercises that focus on stability; keeping their bodies flexible; adequate nutrition; hydration; massage; which helps keep soft tissues more flexible; able to function better. According to Dr Meenan; Osteoarthritis risk factors are related to all three ways to help stop arthritis. People with joint injuries; reduced muscle function; obesity have highest risk of arthritis.

We also know that women develop arthritis more often than men. Heintze explains: “People with autoimmune diseases may be more susceptible to later autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Prolonged joint wear and tear can make a person more susceptible to developing osteoarthritis. Heintze adds: “There are several different types of arthritis including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. As for rheumatoid arthritis it develops when immune system begins to attack joints causing pain & inflammation whereas osteoarthritis develops after normal joint wear & tear resulting in gradual deterioration of cartilage in joint space. It may be hard to believe but experts agree: Exercise can help alleviate joint pain caused by osteoarthritis (OA). Flexibility exercises such as stretching & yoga are also important for people with arthritis as many people with arthritis have joint stiffness that makes daily tasks difficult.

Doing flexibility exercises every day helps maintain range of motion so you can keep doing everyday things such as household chores; hobbies & visiting friends & family. To get substantial health benefits adults with arthritis should follow recommendations of Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans for active adults or active older adults whatever meets their personal health goals.

Jill Sizemore
Jill Sizemore

Total food lover. Passionate beer maven. Beer ninja. Proud web specialist. General twitter scholar.