Arthritis is an unfortunate reality for millions of Americans, musicians included. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), arthritis numbers are expected to continue to climb as Baby Boomers enter their golden years. They project that 78 million people (26% of the population) are expected to have arthritis by the year 2040. Additionally, there are many forms of diagnosable arthritis, including rheumatoid and osteoarthritis (also known as wear and tear arthritis).
Musicians, who often rely upon fine motor movements on keyboards or guitar frets, may find that the repetitive motions cause arthritis flares. It should also be noted, however, that regular movements such as those required to play an instrument can also improve both dexterity and strength when done properly. Here are some helpful tips to help musicians (and others) prevent, and manage the symptoms of arthritis:
Preventing and Managing Arthritis
Exercise: When it comes to arthritis prevention, exercise plays a major role. When your joints are hurting, the last thing most people want to do is exercise. And yet, exercising, when done right with proper warm ups and cool downs, can be an effective way to help maintain joint health. Regular activity combined with a balanced diet can also help you lose weight, which puts less strain on your joints. Your doctor, or physical therapist, can also provide you with specific exercises to help keep your joints limber and strong, including those important smaller joints of your wrists, hands, and fingers.
Diet: Did you know that your diet can help you avoid arthritis flare-ups? An anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce soreness and strengthen bones and joints. A balanced diet, rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, lean meats, and nuts can provide a firm foundation for overall health too. Tart cherries, strawberries, and raspberries all have known anti-inflammatory properties. They are also high in micronutrients and antioxidants. There are even some spices, such as the yellow spice turmeric, that have especially potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Supplements: research has shown that certain fatty acids such as those containing Omega 3’s can also reduce inflammation levels. Other helpful supplements can include cat’s claw (uncaria tomentosa), ginger root, the right amount of vitamin C and D, and others. Be sure to talk to your doctor before adding any supplement to your diet, as some may interfere with medications or have other side effects.
Appropriate Medications: your doctor may prescribe medications which can help you to manage the damaging effects of chronic inflammation. He or she may also recommend targeted injections or other treatments for arthritis.
If you or a loved one, musician or not, need help with any form of arthritis, bone or joint related condition or injury, we can help. From targeted injections and precise therapies to surgical intervention and complete joint replacements, Movement Orthopedics offers leading-edge treatment for musicians, athletes, and people from all walks of life. To learn more about preventing and treating arthritis, please call us today at (586) 436-3785 or request an appointment online.