Physical Therapy Offers Effective Symptom Relief for Arthritis Sufferers
“Arthritis” is a term that is used to describe a type of joint disease and/or pain within the joints. There are more than 100 individual arthritis types and associated conditions. Individuals of all ages, of all races, and of all backgrounds suffer from arthritis. In fact, this is considered to be one of the leading causes of disability within the country. There is currently no cure for arthritis.
Instead, there are treatment plans that are designed to preserve the function of the impacted joint or joints, reduce inflammation, and limit the pain experienced. Physical therapy is one of these treatment plans. In fact, it has been determined that physical therapy offers effective symptom relief for those that suffer from arthritis. Continue reading to learn more.
How Does Physical Therapy Help People with Arthritis?
Whether it be in your knees, hips, or anywhere else in the body, Physical therapy helps people with arthritis by increasing mobility, managing symptoms, and improving physical function.
The physical therapist that you will work with will provide very specific exercises – tailored to your individual needs.
Additionally, you will be instructed on an assortment of techniques that will help you move with a higher level of ease and a lower level of pain.
Will Physical Therapy Reverse Arthritis?
No, physical therapy does not reverse arthritis; however, it does aid in slowing the progression of the condition and reducing the symptoms experienced with the condition.
By participating in physical therapy, you have the ability to live more comfortably.
Your therapist will prescribe you exercises and various stretching techniques that are targeted for your individual health. These will aid in ensuring that joints remain mobile and that you experience as little pain as possible.
Will Physical Therapy Help Reduce Inflammation?
Yes, various exercises and physical therapy techniques will reduce inflammation in and around the joints of the body. The physical therapist that you work with will evaluate you, your medical history, and the impacted region of the body, and try to determine the underlying cause of the inflammation. Then, a treatment plan will be established for you.
What Are the Benefits of Physical Therapy for Arthritis?
If you are prescribed physical therapy for arthritis, you may experience one or all of the following benefits:
- Increased Muscle Strength – In arthritis patients, the muscles that surround the impacted joints may become weak. This is often due to the extra level of stress. In turn, they may become very painful. Physical therapy will help in increasing the strength of the muscles. As the muscles become stronger, the weak joint will be stabilized, and pain will be decreased.
- Optimized Range of Motion – One of the most common of all complaints among arthritis sufferers is stiffness in the joints. Physical therapy provides exercises that help in stretching out the joints and associated components. This helps increase the range of motion.
- Assistive Device Assistance – If you have to use assistive devices – such as a walker, a cane, braces, etc. – physical therapy helps in teaching you how to properly use the device so that stress is eliminated from the muscles and the joints that are negatively impacted by arthritis.
- Pain Reduction – Physical therapists are highly knowledgeable in strategies to alleviate pain. Additionally, they may assist you in the adjustments of your activities so that you are not in as much pain.
How Does Physical Therapy Work?
The physical therapist that you work with will review your medical history and attempt to create a treatment plan to benefit you and provide relief from arthritis. The following may be expected:
- You may be provided with an individualized treatment plan that includes custom exercises for your specific situation.
- You may be educated about various pain relief strategies and they even may be administered. These may include heat packs, ice packs, ultrasound strategies, and even electrical stimulation.
- Many physical therapists will administer soft tissue massage, hands-on joint therapy, and mobilization techniques.
- You may be encouraged to use assistive devices. If so, the physical therapist will educate you on the proper use of those devices and inform you about the maintenance of such devices.
How Often Does an Arthritis Sufferer Need to See a Physical Therapist?
In most instances, arthritis sufferers will see a physical therapist at least once a week. It may be more – depending on the severity of the issue. If acute pain and discomfort is experienced, a physical therapist will need to be seen more often.
As you learn the exercises and techniques offered in physical therapy, you will likely be seen less often. Appointments may be moved to once every 2-4 weeks or once every few months. It all depends on your overall progress.
What Forms of Physical Therapy are Best for Arthritis?
In most cases of arthritis – without severe complications – passive treatments are considered to be best. These include custom exercises, hands-on massage therapy, techniques that place an emphasis on joint mobilization, and even electrotherapy. In addition to this, many may benefit from modifications to the home and even orthotics.
Does Physical Therapy Cure Arthritis?
No, there is no current cure for arthritis. Physical therapy is an effective solution for managing the symptoms of the condition – such as limited mobility, activity intolerance, pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
To date, physical therapy is considered to be one of the most effective treatments for arthritis symptom relief. This treatment may help in slowing the overall progression of the issue.
Is it Best to Exercise or Rest When You Have Arthritis?
Arthritis is a very painful condition. As a result of the discomfort it causes, it is likely that you will not feel up to engaging in exercises. If it is possible, though, it is best to exercise! This will help reduce inflammation around the joints and in turn reduce the amount of pain that is experienced.
Are There Other Ways – Apart from Physical Therapy – to Help Slow the Progression of Arthritis?
Physical therapy is one of the best ways to slow the progression of arthritis. In addition to this, the following helps to slow the progression of the condition:
- Healthy Diet
- Control of Blood Glucose
- Regular Exercise and Stretching
- Over-the-Counter Medication
- Prescription Medications
- Healthy Body Weight
- Joint Support
- Healthy Lifestyle Choices
- Regular Doctor Follow-Ups
What is the Best and Fastest Way to Stop Arthritis Pain?
Ultimately, combinations of heat and cold will help stop arthritis pain. Apply heat directly to painful joints. You may use heat in the form of a hot bath, a hot shower, warm paraffin wax, and the use of a heating pad.
If you elect to use a heating pad, be sure to avoid using it for more than 20 minutes at a time.
You may transition between hot and cold therapy every 20 minutes for optimal relief.
A physical therapist will be able to provide detailed instructions on the use of heat and cold to stop arthritis pain.
What Causes Arthritis Flare-Ups?
An arthritis flare-up typically results from overactivity or trauma to the joints that are impacted by the condition. Examples of triggers include stress, cold weather, repetitive motions, barometric pressure changes, infections, weight gain, and inflammatory-based diseases.
Contact Us Today
If you have arthritis, we here at Back to Motion Physical Therapy can assist you! We will work with you to create an individualized care plan. Reduce inflammation, eliminate pain, and improve your mobility today!