Emmy-nominated choreographer, nine-time Dancing with the Stars professional and creator of LaBlast dance fitness program Louis Van Amstel is not typically associated with painful joints. But now he is working with HealthyWomen and Endo Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Endo International plc (NASDAQ: ENDP) (TSX: ENL), to help raise awareness of osteoarthritis (OA), which his mother suffers from, and encourage others with the condition to take healthy steps toward joint pain relief.
The Making Your Move: Taking Healthy Steps Toward OA Joint Pain Relief campaign is designed to encourage people living with OA to get up and get active. Low impact exercise is known to be one of the best ways to help manage OA joint pain. Exercises that incorporate strengthening, aerobic conditioning and range-of-motion, can also help increase cardiovascular fitness and flexibility, maintain weight and improve mood. Dance, one form of exercise that combines these elements, can be a fun way to increase physical activity. Patients can learn more by visiting www.healthywomen.org.
“My mom suffers from osteoarthritis in her hands and fingers, but after working with a doctor to develop a simple dance routine, dance made a huge difference – she’s not only exercising, she’s having fun,” said Van Amstel. “A lot of people are concerned that the twisting and turning associated with dance might aggravate their joint pain, but there are a lot of ways we can modify dance moves so that they can still enjoy all the benefits and fun of this form of exercise.” Those suffering from OA joint pain should consult with their doctor before starting dance or any new exercise regimen.
OA can be a serious condition. It affects nearly 27 million Americans ages 25 or older. It occurs when cartilage around the joints and bones breaks and wears away, leading to joint pain, and may limit some daily activities. A combination of exercise, weight control, and medicine for some patients, can help to manage the symptoms of OA joint pain. It is important for a patient with OA to speak with their healthcare professional about all their treatment options, including exercise and medication.
“In addition to OA’s physical impact on patients, some people may be affected emotionally. Sometimes a patient may have given up activities they once enjoyed, including long walks, dancing and sports,” said Dr. Christopher Gharibo, Medical Director of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology at New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases. “Exercise, such as dancing, can be a nice complement to treatment options that reduce symptoms of OA joint pain. Exercise through dance can help patients lose excess weight, improve their muscle tone and joint mobility, and can also enhance their moods.”
For the Making Your Move campaign, Van Amstel shares a variety of modifications patients can make to their dance routines to reduce joint pain and ensure safety. For example, if dancing results in:
- Knee Pain: Instead of doing high-impact jumping moves, patients can try salsa, or kicking their feet forward to do the jive.
- Ankle/Foot Pain: If patients are worried about the jumping and fast pace moves like the quick-step, patients can try the Lindy Hop. This simple move is an easy way to start increasing flexibility.
- Elbow/Hand Pain: Patients can also improve flexibility in their hands and elbows while dancing the disco.
By visiting www.healthywomen.org/osteoarthritis, people with OA joint pain can access resources and information on ways to better manage their condition. In addition, Van Amstel created videos showcasing some simple OA-friendly dance routines to help people get up and get active. As with any new exercise regimen, a healthcare professional should be consulted before beginning any new physical routine.