Arthritis is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the joints. There are more than 100 types of arthritis that can affect any joint in the body. Two of the most common types include:
- Osteoarthritis: A degenerative condition that progresses over time, this type of arthritis can affect any joint, but most often, it affects the hips, knees, neck, back, fingers, and toes. Years of wear and tear on the joints can cause osteoarthritis. Infections and injuries can speed up the development of the condition.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. An autoimmune disease, with this type of arthritis, the immune system views the tissues of the body as a foreign substance and attacks them. Rheumatoid arthritis attacks impact the soft tissue in the joints, which can eventually destroy the cartilage and bone.
Whatever kind of arthritis you have and no matter which part of the body is affected, one thing is certain: you are experiencing discomfort. The pain and stiffness that is associated with arthritis can be unbearable. It can limit your mobility, too. In general, this condition can be all-consuming and impact your quality of life. Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for arthritis, and while medications can help, they can come with a host of side effects; not to mention the fact that you can become dependent on them.
There is a way that you can manage the pain, restore your mobility, and improve your quality of life. How? – With physical therapy.
There are various tactics that can be employed in physical therapy to manipulate the damaged joints, making them more mobile and reducing your pain.
Physical Therapy Modalities Used for Arthritis
The strategies that a physical therapist will use to treat arthritis depend on your condition and how it is affecting you. However, some of the most commonly used tactics include:
- Exercise. A physical therapist will teach you how to do certain exercises that specifically aim to strengthen the damaged joints, thereby alleviating stiffness, reducing pain, and increasing your ability to move.
- Massage. A therapist can massage the joints and muscles that are affected by arthritis to release tension, soothe pain and improve your range of movement. Massage is also just a great way to improve your overall well-being.
- Heat and ice treatments. The application of heat and ice can reduce inflammation in the joints, which can help to ease pain and stiffness, making it easier to move the parts of the body that are affected by arthritis.
- Electrical nerve stimulation. Mild pulses of electricity can be applied to the areas that are affected by this condition. This stimulation has been proven to provide temporary relief for pain.
- Diathermy. A specific type of heat therapy, diathermy uses radio, ultrasound or microwaves to heat up the tissues located within the affected joints. This heat kills the damaged cells that are causing your pain, thus reducing the symptoms that are associated with arthritis.
Benefits of Physical Therapy for Arthritis
Physical therapy can provide a wide range of benefits for patients who suffer from arthritis. Some of the most notable benefits include:
- Restore mobility. The stiffness and pain that is caused by arthritis can make it difficult to move the affected joints. Physical therapy can help to increase flexibility, improve strength, and reduce pain, which will make it easier to move the damaged joints.
- Ease pain. As mentioned, physical therapy can help to alleviate the pain that is associated with arthritis. This will not only help to preserve the use of the affected joints, but it will also improve your quality of life.
- Education. You’ll learn valuable information about your specific type of arthritis. In order to better manage your condition, it is important to be well-informed. A physical therapist can teach you how to properly care for your body to reduce the stiffness and pain you are experiencing. For example, you can learn about certain dietary recommendations that might be helpful, or find out about or receive products that can support the affected area, such as a brace for your knee or insoles for your shoes. You’ll also learn how to conduct strategies on yourself at home between treatment sessions, which will allow for greater pain relief and mobility.
- Reduce the need for surgery. For some arthritis patients, surgeries are recommended to restore joints that have become extensively damaged. Physical therapy can help to reduce the need for surgery.
Physical therapy has proven to be a highly effective method for treating arthritis symptoms. If you are suffering from this condition, contact our office to set up a consultation with one of our therapists today. We will conduct a thorough assessment of your condition and device a treatment program that will be customized for your specific needs with the goal of reducing your pain and improving your movement.
Our physical therapists have worked with countless arthritis patients and have delivered favorable results. To find out how we can help you, call us today! Your comfort and well-being are our top priority.