Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints and can often cause joint stiffness, discomfort, or pain that may worsen with age. There are over 100 different arthritic conditions that can affect joints and the connective tissues around the joints, but some of the most common types of arthritis include Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Arthritis impacts millions of individuals every year and some of the most common symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and decreased range of motion. Many individuals who deal with arthritis often decrease their activity levels because they fear that physical activity can worsen the discomfort. Inactivity can actually worsen joint pain from arthritis, which is why it is essential for adults who have arthritis to become more active to mitigate their arthritis symptoms.
Take a look at how physical therapy can help individuals with arthritis by getting them moving again to increase their activity levels and learn how physical therapists can help treat arthritis with physical therapy.
Physical therapy cannot prevent arthritis from occurring, but it can help manage symptoms, mitigate further damage to joints, and reduce the risk of developing arthritis for those who don’t have it. Arthritis can stem from a variety of different causes including the natural aging process, genetics, injury, surgery, or years of wear and tear.
Physical therapy cannot prevent arthritis, but it can be an effective treatment option for those individuals who currently have arthritis and are looking to alleviate pain, improve their fitness levels, and continue to do all that they enjoy doing with minimal disruptions. Physical therapy can help individuals who have arthritis through several core objectives as part of a unique treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs and goals. Take a look at some of these core objectives and see how physical therapy can help treat arthritis.
Physical therapy can help you increase your strength levels and improve the range of motion of your joints. One of the contributors to joint issues and the development of arthritis is inadequate strength. Inadequate strength around your joints may cause instability or make performing activities difficult. Your physical therapist will work with you to identify areas where strength levels are inadequate and help you improve your strength through functional exercises. Over time through the course of treatment, these functional exercises will help you build strength to help support your joints.
Arthritis can also impact your range of motion as it can cause joint discomfort which then limits your ability to move in certain ways. Your physical therapist will work with you to improve your range of motion which may make activities easier and increase your mobility.
Another way in which physical therapy can be an effective treatment option for arthritis is the focus on reducing the risk of further joint deterioration. Physical therapists may offer suggestions on how to perform certain maneuvers and can recommend lifestyle changes that may help to avoid further joint deterioration by reducing the strain on your joints. In addition, physical therapy will provide education on how to perform exercises properly. Physical therapists can also suggest assistive devices like canes or walkers which can help lessen the strain placed on your joints and provide guidance on when to use assistive devices or highlight how they can be useful tools as you work to improve your activity and strength levels. Supervised exercise can help reduce the stiffness and pain associated with arthritis and maximize mobility to remain active.
Physical therapy can help treat arthritis by identifying trouble spots or activities which can contribute to arthritis pain and discomfort. For example, there might be several activities you participate in throughout the day that can have a delayed effect and cause discomfort several hours later due to your arthritis. A physical therapist can work with you to evaluate potential activities which can contribute to your arthritis pain and suggest alternatives for those activities or provide education on how to mitigate potential arthritis discomfort.
Individuals who experience arthritis often decrease their activity levels due to the pain or discomfort they experience. During your physical therapy treatments, a physical therapist will work with you to improve or maintain your fitness levels so you don’t have to let arthritis slow you down and you can continue to be active.
Physical therapy can also help you improve your ability to perform everyday activities. Individuals who have arthritis often complain about struggling to do many of the same things they used to enjoy doing. Your physical therapist will work with you to identify everyday activities that you struggle to complete and will suggest modifications to the activities or the way in which you perform them so you can continue to complete many of the everyday activities you enjoy doing.
Physical therapists are movement experts who can help to alleviate pain and improve joint function. Through a tailored treatment program based on your unique needs and goals, a physical therapist will work with you to reduce arthritis pain and strengthen supporting muscles to alleviate pressure on your joints.
By reducing the pain associated with arthritis or associated symptoms, the need for expensive surgeries diminishes. Expensive surgeries require extensive rehabilitation which often includes physical therapy after surgery, but for many individuals who have arthritis, surgery isn’t always necessary. Physical therapy can be a less invasive alternative for those individuals who are seeking arthritis pain relief.
While physical therapy cannot cure arthritis, it can be an effective treatment option for patients who are looking to preserve joint health, alleviate pain, and improve their quality of life. We treat patients with arthritis every single day and we work to help them manage their symptoms, improve their range of motion, and strengthen their muscle function so they can continue to do all of the things they love most. Booster physical therapy sessions have been shown to be highly effective in managing symptoms of arthritis. A booster session is when a patient comes in every three to four months for one to two visits, similar to a tune-up for a car. These PT sessions can help keep joints healthy and lubricated.
A licensed physical therapist will work with you to help you alleviate pain and avoid joint pain or discomfort. Schedule an appointment today at a physical therapy clinic near you to see how physical therapy can help you!