Arthritis is a chronic condition that affects millions of people around the world. It causes pain, stiffness, inflammation, and other symptoms that can interfere with daily activities and make life difficult. However, physical therapy can be an effective treatment option for those who suffer from arthritis. This blog post provides you with insights into how physical therapy can help manage arthritis symptoms and helps you make informed decisions about your care.
Reducing Pain and Inflammation
Physical therapy can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. It primarily involves exercises and stretches that increase muscle flexibility and function, reducing joint pain, and improving overall mobility. In addition, your physical therapist may use techniques such as ultrasound, heat, or cold therapy to decrease pain and stiffness in the affected area.
The key to managing arthritis is to first get the pain under control. Once the pain is under control we can use the exercises below to improve the tolerance of your joint to loading. In our clinic we see patients every day who have moderate to severe arthritis but are pain free in those joints.
Increased Range of Motion
Arthritis sufferers often experience reduced joint flexibility and range of motion. Physical therapy can be an excellent solution to increase joint mobility and maintain the flexibility needed to perform daily tasks. Physical therapy exercises increase flexibility around the joint, which helps reduce pain and improve function.
Your physical therapist can help you to slowly gain range of motion. Remember, physical therapy doesn't need to be painful. In fact, it's better if it is not painful. We always tell our patients that physical therapy is not a no pain no gain situation.
Physical therapy helps strengthen muscles around the affected joints, reducing the load-bearing impact on the joints and improving overall function. Stronger muscles can absorb shock and help prevent future damage around the joints.
If the joint is really painful we can use isometrics and slower eccentric loading to gain strength of the joint while avoiding causing more pain in the joint. Strength is one of the greatest keys to managing the pain and limitation associated with arthritis.
Improve Balance and Coordination
Arthritis can impair your coordination, balance, and walking ability. Physical therapy can improve your balance, movement, and coordination. Physical therapists use a wide range of interventions, including exercise and manual techniques, to enhance stability and mobility, minimize pain, and prevent falls.
Physical therapy is crucial for postoperative rehabilitation following joint replacement surgery or other surgical procedures related to arthritis. It helps patients regain mobility, strength, and function. The goal of physical therapy after surgery is to achieve the highest level of function possible for the patient.
Physical therapy can be an invaluable tool for managing arthritis, reducing pain, increasing function and mobility, and improving daily quality of life. Physical Therapy can play a vital role in your arthritis treatment plan, helping you to manage your symptoms and improving outcomes. The key is to work with a physical therapist qualified in treating arthritis, who can design a customized treatment plan based on your specific needs and goals. So, if you suffer from arthritis, seek out physical therapy, and work together with your physical therapist to develop an effective arthritis management strategy.