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Exercise Reduces Musculoskeletal Pain & Effects of Osteoporosis

Physical exercise may actually decrease the pain associated with musculoskeletal problems, according to the American Orthopaedic Society For Sports Medicine (AOSSM).

The same aches and pains that you may cite as your reasons for staying away from exercise programs may actually be alleviated by physical exercise.

"In exercise, like everything else, moderation and common sense are the keys," said Dr. Nick DiNubile, one of the two AOSSM members who contributed to the Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health. "The safest thing to do is to listen to your body. If something hurts, you need to modify your program. However, an occasional sore shoulder does not give you a reason to become a couch potato. Everyone, including people with musculoskeletal problems, can benefit from a properly designed exercise or activity program."

According to AOSSM, this is especially true for people with arthritis and low back pain. Regular exercise can help alleviate the symptoms of these and other musculoskeletal problems. AOSSM offers some advice for combating the pain associated with musculoskeletal problems including:

Aching knees. Riding a bicycle — stationary or regular — may actually help rehabilitate the knee joint. Additional exercises to build up quadriceps and hamstring flexibility may also help relieve some of the pain associated with knee problems.

Shoulder pain. Shoulder pain is most commonly caused by overuse, according to AOSSM. Tennis lovers need to make sure they stretch their shoulder joints before playing and that they don't squeeze too many games into one weekend. Symptoms may diminish with a strengthened rotator cuff muscle.

Lower back pain. Regular exercise is the most common treatment for sufferers of lower back pain, said the AOSSM. Exercises that improve muscle strength for spine support and increase flexibility will best relieve the pain associated with this musculoskeletal problem. Swimming is a good activity if you are already active, yet suffer from occasional back pain. Proper posture and lifting techniques also may help.

The effects of osteoporosis can likewise be lessened by exercise, according to Dr. Don Bradley, vice president of medical management for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

Regularly engaging in weight-bearing exercise, such as running, walking or stair climbing can contribute to alleviating the problems associated with this disease.

Addresses: American Orthopaedic Society For Sports Medicine, 6300 North River Road, Suite 200, Rosemont, IL 60018; (847) 292-4900, fax (847) 292-4495; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, P.O. Box 2291, Durham, NC 27702; (919) 489-7431, fax (919) 490-7786.

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