Treating Arthritis Through Physical Therapy
Live Life Comfortably: Relieve Arthritic Pain With Physical Therapy
When we talk about arthritis, we are generally referring to Osteoarthritis (OA), which is degeneration of a joint over time. OA is a very common condition, affecting over ~50% of people over the age of 65. Degeneration in joints over time can be caused and increased by many factors and can be seen on x-ray images as decreased joint space. The cartilage in joints becomes damaged, leading to discomfort during movement, joint stiffness, and aching. The causes of arthritis are numerous and many times symptoms can be decreased through appropriate physical therapy interventions. Many people live with the pain associated with arthritis, however there are many proven benefits of physical therapy in decreasing symptoms and improving function. Contact Athletic Advantage Physical Therapy today.
Why do I have arthritis?
Osteoarthritis is fairly easy to diagnose because it is the most commonly experienced type of arthritis. There are a few ways that osteoarthritis can develop. Sudden injuries to the affected joint can cause osteoarthritis, or it can develop after a previous injury has fully healed. Even if your injury healed completely, it is still possible for osteoarthritis to occur later in life, especially if you continued running and jumping on the affected joint. Muscle weakness following an injury may also lead to altered forces imposed on a joint which can cause degeneration.
Labor-intensive careers can also cause osteoarthritis to develop. If you have a job where you have to swing tools in repetitive motions (such as a carpenter or roofer), your joints are at a higher risk for developing osteoarthritis. An additional factor that increases the risk of osteoarthritis is obesity, since additional strain is being put on the hip and knee joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that develops as an autoimmune response. When someone is diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, it means that their immune system sees the joints as a threat and decides to attack. This causes pain and inflammation in the joints. While research is still being done in order to better understand rheumatoid arthritis, many experts believe that your medical history, environment, and hormones could all be contributing factors. Since rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, rather than an injury or general “wear and tear” like osteoarthritis, it is common for the same joints to be affected on both sides of your body. This is one way that Osteoarthritis is differentiated from Rheumatoid arthritis.
Find pain relief for arthritis with Athletic Advantage Physical Therapy:
Many recent Randomized Controlled trials, the strongest form of clinical research, state that those suffering from arthritis can greatly benefit from physical therapy. After scheduling an appointment with Athletic Advantage Physical Therapy, one of our physical therapists will conduct a physical examination to evaluate your specific impairments and identify the best course of treatment for you. Treatment plans typically include weight management to help ease some stress on your weight-bearing joints, strength training, joint mobilization, and strength training, and aquatic therapy. Unfortunately, many physical therapy clinics in the area do not have access to aquatic therapy treatment. We believe in the importance of utilizing water in the plan of care for patients with arthritis and made sure to have a pool installed when we opened over 10 years ago. Our HydroworxⓇ pool is fully equipped with an underwater treadmill, water massage, and resistance jets for more advanced patients.
Arthritis treatments are aimed at alleviating pain and decreasing stiffness, stress, and inflammation by changing the amount of force imposed on joints. If you have arthritis, or you think you may be experiencing arthritic symptoms, contact our office today to consult with one of our physical therapists.
Because arthritis is a catch-all term, pinpointing what causes arthritis may be difficult. In most cases, arthritis is caused by overuse, wear and tear, or injuries. It is also possible for arthritis to be caused by infections, such as Lyme disease, an immune system dysfunction, such as rheumatoid arthritis, or an abnormal metabolism, which can lead to gout.
There are over 100 different types of arthritis, containing monoarthritis (where only one joint is affected) and oligoarthritis (where multiple joints are affected). Some of the most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, which develops from “wear and tear” of cartilage, and rheumatoid arthritis, which develops from overactive immune systems.
Targeted exercises can help ease your arthritic pains. It is possible to maintain an active lifestyle while living with arthritis, but you may need some assistance. Your physical therapist will conduct a physical evaluation to determine what the best course of treatment will be for you. Your physical therapist will then guide you through prescribed gentle exercises that become more intensive as you progress in your treatments, in order to help you achieve your highest levels of physical capability.
Regardless of the cause of arthritis, physical therapy plays a major role in the treatment of its symptoms. Physical therapy should always be the first method of treatment, before resorting to more aggressive procedures, such as surgery. In fact, in many cases, physical therapy can even eliminate the need for risky treatment methods altogether, such as harmful pain-management drugs or invasive surgical correction. If the condition is severe and surgery is required, physical therapy can also help you prepare and recover from your procedure