How to build muscle

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by Guest Posts on Tue Jan 25, 2022 10:14 am

How to build muscle

I have osteoarthritis in my shoulders, hands, knees and ankles. I am due a knee replacement but I would like to know how to build muscle as exercises hurt, do I just push through and suffer, I am on a morphine patch, gaberpentine and naproxen but am still in pain any help would be appreciated. Thank you (Joanne)
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David Vaux
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by David Vaux on Wed Jan 26, 2022 4:36 pm

Re: How to build muscle


Thank you for your question around how to exercise and build muscle when experiencing pain.

You are spot on in that it is always a good idea to try to build or maintain some strength in order to keep mobile and do the things that make us happy. We also know that strengthening the muscle around any joint will usually lead to less experience of pain. Remember there are many ways to strengthen a muscle. Often people have great outcomes from using exercise bands at home or even water to act as resistance to ones effort.

Its always a good idea to listen to your body and start to keep a diary of your activities and relative pain levels if you have not already done so. Armed with a good idea of what activities do and don't work for you, you can then plan out some activities and even try some new ones!

Give yourself permission to have some rest days if you are tired or have pain following activity. We call this pacing.

Perhaps look into a water based exercise at your local pool as a starting point and take heart that even a few minutes of gentle exercise can give long term health benefits and less pain.

It might also be worth considering a consultation with an Osteopath or Physiotherapist who has a special interest in Arthritis and or exercise. Arthritis Action offer subsidized consultations to such Allied Health professionals as part of ones membership offer. I have included this in the links below.

Or you might want to check out our online directory of local opportunities to get a little more active in your local area, link also included.

Below are some links to our website and some short talks on pain and exercising.

Best of luck
David ... arthritis/ ... directory/

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Tracy Corbett
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by Tracy Corbett on Mon Jan 31, 2022 8:39 pm

Re: How to build muscle

Dear Joanne

You're quite right to want to strengthen your muscles, especially in preparation for orthopaedic surgery. It can make a big difference to your recovery.

David's suggestion of keeping a notebook of your exercise and your symptoms is a very good one. Pacing yourself is so important. If you can exercise within your pain limits, you may benefit from exercise without suffering afterward. Physiotherapists will usually advise working out your baseline first: how much can you do before becoming symptomatic. For example, if you can walk for 5 minutes without pain, then you may benefit from walking for 4 minutes daily and gradually increasing your "dose". Sticking to your pacing plan could help avoid the "boom or bust" where you exercise, become more sore afterward, then can't exercise for a period.

There are some really good exercise plans available online for managing knee pain: ... -knee-pain ... -sheet.pdf

Exercising in water can be very useful, it helps to increase strength without the impact on your joints, and as it's against the resistance of the water, it helps build strength and cardiovascular fitness.

Your GP could refer you to your local physiotherapist who would be able to design an individualised, targeted exercise programme for you to help strengthen and protect your joints. Arthritis Action may also be able to refer you to a good physiotherapist or osteopath to help in this regard.
Tracy Corbett
Chartered Physiotherapist ... orbett.php

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