Get Moving to Stop Stiffness

Active in his twenties, Ping Enriguez noticed a change when he hit his thirties. He said he started waking up with unexplainable pains, stiffness in his lower back and a loss of flexibility.

Ping was diagnosed with arthritis, but he didn't let that keep him sitting still. He says you can't afford to become sedentary.

Cotton-O'Neil rheumatologist Dr. Doug Gardner says exercise may be one of the most neglected treatments for osteoarthritis. He says that may be because the pain stems from the breakdown of the cartilage cushioning our joints. He says as the cartilage thins and narrows, the bone comes closer and closer together. He says there are nerves in bones, so it can be painful if they touch.

Dr. Gardner says you can't get the cartilage back, but exercise can help what's around it. He says it's not just the cartilage that cushions the joints - it's the muscles and tendons surrounding it that hold everything together in balance.

That's why Ping's still moving. He may not run marathons, but he does walk, stretch and lift light weights. He says it makes all the difference.

You can get moving and help find a cure for arthritis by joining Topeka's Arthritis Walk. It's May 7 at the Big Gage Shelter House. For more information, call 272-8461 or log on to www.arthritis.org.


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