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ETpro's avatar

Exercising through the pain of osteoarthritis: medication equals dedication or no pain, no gain?

Asked by ETpro (34232 points ) November 13th, 2011

The Celebrex commercial warns, “It’s simple physics, a body at rest tends to stay at rest, while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. As true as that may be, all NSAIDs including aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen carry risk factors, as this rather spooky Celebrex commercial so ably points out. So is medicating the answer, or is it better to just grit your teeth and continue to exercise through the pain?

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16 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Only Celebrex was guilty of killing people.

If you can tolerate NSAIDs ( and most people can just fine), why not take them? They are life savers.

HungryGuy's avatar

I watched it briefly. I didn’t watch the whole thing. But I wouldn’t worry too much about one infomercial attacking Celebrex. While all drugs have their risks, their advantages outweigh the risks by far. That’s why doctors generally watch you carefully when they prescribe a new med. If you can take the med without complications, then those complications don’t apply to you (unless you change the dosage). Low-dose aspirin, for example, is an excellent drug to take regularly to reduce the risk of heart attack.

gailcalled's avatar

I have an aging body and some extra damage due to a mild scoliosis.

I use a heating pad and then some yoga stretches designed for my by a physical therapist.
Then I get on the tread mill.

My view is to avoid all meds. and gradually let my body do what it can. If it likes to walk for 5 minutes, great. That will lead, over several months, to 45.

Therefore, I would say do neither. Generating teeth-gritting pain is a very bad idea.

There are also a lot of new and legitimate studies that suggest switching to whole grains, veggies, fruits and nuts and giving up animal protein and all dairy. Your body may well feel a lot better, you will be ingesting far fewer hormones, heavy metals, fat and bacteria. You will also be adding lots of fiber to your diet, which your GI tract will love.

john65pennington's avatar

I have taken Celebrex for five years and could not function without it, after 16 surgeries.

I agree the exercising route is the best. But, where is the dividing line between exercising not helping and its time to turn to outside help, like Celebrex?

john65pennington's avatar

Marinelife, was it not Viox, not Celebrex that was guilty of creating heart attacks in humans?

gailcalled's avatar

@john65pennington: I know that you have had a lot of chronic pain issues; we all must find our own solutions.

If you need some outside help, then get it. You have certainly tried all of the alternatives. I have been lucky, I know, in spite of my own aches and pains. I can work around them if I am careful

Mariah's avatar

There is danger in taking NSAIDS on a regular basis for a long time. My grandmother developed a stomach ulcer from doing this, which at her age she never bounced back from.

However, I don’t necessarily think that less medication is always better. Being in pain is harmful to the body too, no to mention extremely unpleasant.

There’s no one answer to this question. It’s best to get a personal recommendation from a doctor.

john65pennington's avatar

Mariah, I agree 100% with your answer. All of us are different. jp

marinelife's avatar

@john65pennington I’m sorry. You are correct. It was Vioxx.

philosopher's avatar

This a personal choice. My husband and I use medication only when we must.
My husband has Arthritis since about thirty. He also has Stenois. Diet plays a large role too.
I have a bad back do to a car accident. I work out all the time and I feel much worse without it.

faye's avatar

I have intense pain if I try to ‘work out’. I have very little cartilage left so exercising becomes bone on bone and so detrimental. You have to move atound enough to not stiffen up. I do a lot of isometric exercise. Pain sometimes means stop.

JLeslie's avatar

About the stomach ulcers. I once got really really bad ulcers in my esophagus from not swallowing ibuprofen well. I didn’t take it with enough water probably, I split the pill be ause it is very difficult for me to swallow pills, and I immediately went to sleep afterwards. I literally wound up in the ER being scoped, I have photos of the ulcers, you would not believe them if you saw them. I still take ibuprofen and have never had a problem since. I only take the candy coated Advil, drink at least 6 ounces of water, and I eat with it.

I think if the osteoarthritis involves inflammation (I am not really up on the various types of arthritis) it is beneficial to take NSAIDS which are antinflammatory, it is not just pain control. Tylenol is a pain blocker, works more on the transmission in the nervous system. It seems to me constant inlammations can cause a variety of problems. I have a relative wo has osteroarthritis and a few time when it was very very bad she took a course of steroids. Steroid side effects can be awful, but it did her a lot of good and was short term. She still takes ibuprofen at times, and some sort of natural herbs I think? Glucosamine maybe? Not sure.

philosopher's avatar

@faye
Have you tried Yoga?

JilltheTooth's avatar

I’ve had osteo-arthritis for over thirty years and had a number of doctors all tell me the same thing: keep your range of motion as great as you can by running through all the joint/range exercises every day. Don’t push til the pain is really bad, then you’re just doing more damage. They recommend pain relievers only to gently work before exercising, so you don’t push too far. Yoga, walking, hand and foot (and ankle) stretches, all the basic good sense stuff. It’s a bear to have to grunt every time you do stuff.

faye's avatar

@philosopher No, I bought the book though!! I keep meaning to.

ETpro's avatar

Thanks everyone. It’s very late tonight. Had a riush job to get out. But I will try to reply in detail tomorrow.

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