If your knee hurts when you walk, you tend to walk less, drive everywhere instead, and take the elevator instead of the stairs. Your knee function worsens, other muscles suffer, and you lose the cardiovascular benefits of walking, which affects your health in other ways.

“Joints will stiffen up and become more painful if they’re not moved through their full range of motion,” explained Dr. Eileen Wong, who specializes in Pain Management, as well as Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for Pima Pain Center.

“In addition, movement helps maintain muscle mass and metabolism, which is important during winter because we tend to sit and eat more.”

Tips to keep moving

Don’t wait for New Year’s resolutions to reap the huge cardiovascular and mood benefits of exercise. Get started now with these tips:

• Use a heat pack, sleeve or brace, or self massage to warm up sore joints initially.

• Wear gloves when it’s cold to keep your joints warm.

• Walk until you’re a little out of breath.

• Use cans from your kitchen as weights to build muscle.

• Pushing a vacuum is good exercise, too.

Providing a wide range of treatments

Dr. Wong combines both Western and Eastern medicine to offer patients a wide range of treatment methods, from very conservative to invasive. Acupuncture, for example, is a gentle treatment for many problems, from headaches to post-stroke pain.

For help with chronic pain of any kind, call Pima Pain Center at 520-399-6000 for an appointment.

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