Physical Therapy for Arthritis

Physical Therapy for Arthritis

November 27, 2020

Are your joints hurting again? It’s that time of the year again where joints ache due to the cold weather. What’s more frustrating is the number of medications you have to take just to treat the pain. What if I tell you that Physical Therapy can help you reduce those medications and can actually help you manage your arthritic pain? Yes, your therapist can help you or your family member with arthritis!

In the United States, 23% of all adults, or more than 54 million people, have arthritis. It is a leading cause of work disability, with annual costs for medical care and lost earnings of $303.5 billion. Sixty percent of US adults with arthritis are of working age (18 to 64 years). This is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Anyone who has arthritis will tell you that, it’s a painful condition. Women are more likely to experience joint pain than men, Statistics would show that two-thirds of those who suffer from arthritic joint pain belongs to the working-age (age 20-65 years).

Pain medications can help in reducing the pain but there’s no pill that will cure the problem. That is why understanding different ways to deal with this pain is one of the best approaches. And this is also the reason why physicians also recommend Physical Therapy as a part of a patient’s pain management,

There’s actually several types of therapy that can be done for Arthritis, these are:

1. Physical TherapyOccupational Therapy
2. TENS Therapy
3. Diathermy
4. Massage

But we will focus on Physical Therapy alone.

The goal of physical therapy for arthritis would typically include improving your mobility and restoration of the affected joints, increasing the strength to support the joints, maintain the patient’s fitness, and preserve the ability to perform daily activities.

How does Physical Therapy help relieve arthritis pain?

1. It helps improve the patient’s range of motion (ROM)

The goal here is to support the optimal joining functionality of the affected area. Improving your range of motion will make it do so.

2. Physical Therapy targets the source of joint pain

If you’ll read different literature, it will tell you that arthritis is triggered by so many factors, including environmental. Your physical therapists can provide you some help especially with those causes and help you in making some needed adjustments if the factors for your joint pain are mostly environmental- in doing so, manages your level of discomfort.

3. It Improves muscle strength

Muscle weakness can add stress on your joints, that’s why Physical Therapists would give you routine exercises that would strengthen your muscles.

Now, here are some tips/advice that Physical therapists would likely to tell you in your sessions:

4. Surgery is not a cure-all option

The truth is, surgery is not a quick fix to your arthritis. Yes, joint replacement surgery is a necessity for many patients BUT it will not solve your mobility problems. If you already have the surgery, your best treatment will always be your PT.

5. Don’t forget the reason why you’re doing therapy

Physical therapy can sometimes be painful, frustrating, or even boring. It’s important to keep yourself motivated and reminded why you’re doing it in the first place. Keep your eye on the prize! Your goal is to progressively get stronger and be able to move more.

6. Don’t overdo it

While some people with arthritis do too little activity, others may also be overdoing it- and this can add stress to the joints. The point of exercising is to help you, so if a routine becomes intense for you it requires hours of recovery and also supervision from your PT.

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