You still think you are 15-20 years younger than your age…in your mind! But your joints are not cooperating! You are sooo stiff in the mornings and getting out of your comfortable chair is a struggle. Gardening or playing with the grandkids, well, you still do it but you sure pay for it afterwards. If it makes you feel any better, you are not suffering alone. About 20% of the US population struggles with arthritis. And no, knowing this does not help your pain. Yes, you can take drugs for it, but more often than not they only promise temporary pain relief. They also come with some mean side effects.
But there is a healthier and often more effective way of dealing with arthritis: Physical Therapy. Contact Grelot Physical Therapy today to schedule a consultation with our physical therapist. We will get you started on your first steps toward healthy pain relief and more functional life.
What is Arthritis?
There are over 100 different disorders under the arthritis category. They all share common symptoms such as chronic inflammation and pain; and as they progress, deformity of the joints. Some of the more common types are:
- Osteoarthritis – A degenerative joint condition and the most common form of arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis – the second-most common form of arthritis, in which auto-immune reactions target (in some cases, disfigure) the joints
- Psoriatic arthritis – Another type of arthritis triggered by the immune system, seen in individuals who often also have psoriasis.
- Gout – A painful form of arthritis that commonly likes to attack the joints of the big toes but can occur in other joints as well.
What Causes Arthritis?
Osteoarthritis occurs when joints wear down. This can be due to repetitive overuse of the joints or the natural deterioration that comes with age. Obesity can also contribute since extra weight means extra stress on joints. (obesity, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet also figure heavily in gout.) The “wear and tear” of osteoarthritis can cause severe pain in the joints, as the cartilage is no longer acting as a cushion and shock absorber. Without thick cartilage, the bones begin to rub together, resulting in tight, sore, and painful joints.
In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system launches a misguided attack against the tissues of the joints, resulting in painful swelling, joint deformity, or bone erosion. Even a more accurately-targeted response against a proper germ can produce the inflammation of infectious/septic arthritis.
How Physical Therapy Helps Arthritis
It turns out that improving the strength and mobility of the soft tissue and arthritic joints help reduce the pain and typically gets people much more functional. Various modalities and manual therapy ease the pain and a structured exercise program is vital in getting you back on track.
Your physical therapist will get to know your arthritis in as much detail as possible before recommending a physical therapy program. Once we understand the underlying cause of your arthritis, and exactly how that arthritis is affecting your quality of life, we can devise a personalized treatment regimen which may include:
- Exercise – The Arthritis Foundation heartily recommends physical therapy exercises for osteoarthritis; this approach can also prove invaluable for rheumatoid arthritis. Depending on the severity of your condition, we may prescribe passive range of motion exercises, strengthening exercises to stabilize the joints, and/or light aerobic exercise to get the blood flowing and boost your cardiovascular wellness.
- Soft tissue therapies – Manual therapy techniques such as massage or deep tissue therapy can help a great deal to relieve arthritis pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Dry Needling, electrical muscle stimulation, ultrasound, and other soft tissue therapies can also help.
- Dietary and lifestyle changes – Our physical therapist can recommend specific strategies to get your weight down, improve your nutritional balance, and adopt a more joint-healthy lifestyle.
Contact Grelot Physical Therapy:
Arthritis can greatly limit daily life, making it difficult to work, exercise, and participate in leisure activities. Anyone suffering from the aches and pains of arthritis could greatly benefit from physical therapy. When you schedule an appointment with Grelot Physical Therapy, you’ll be greeted by one of our licensed Mobile physical therapists who will determine your best course of treatment through a thorough evaluation. Treatment plans will be dependent upon the nature of your condition and your personal medical needs. They will include specific techniques for alleviating your arthritis pain, which may include manual therapy, ice and heat therapies, or ultrasound. They may also include additional services as needed, such as weight management techniques to help ease some stress on your joints, and/or posture improvement to relieve stiffness and prevent injury.
If you have arthritis, or you think you may be experiencing arthritic symptoms, contact our Mobile physical therapy office today to consult with one of our physical therapists.
What causes arthritis pain?
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.
What are the different types of arthritis?
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.
Is exercise good for arthritis pain?
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.
What is the best pain relief treatment for arthritis?
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