Reasons You Need Physical Therapy When Dealing With Arthritis
Have you been diagnosed with osteoarthritis? Are you having joint pain in your knee, hip, shoulder or other joint? If so, you probably want to know how to relieve your joint pain and slow down the diseases progression. If the pain is limiting your activities, a physical therapist can help. The goals of physical therapy for arthritis include 1) improving the mobility and restoring the use of affected joints, 2) increasing strength to support the joints, and 3) maintaining fitness and the ability to perform daily activities. A skilled physical therapist can teach you how to do the following
Physical Therapy Goals For Arthritis Patients
Maintaining a good range of motion with your arms, legs, and torso is vital to performing the daily activities you enjoy. Increasing the range of motion of an arthritic joint is a main focus of physical therapy for arthritis, along with building and maintaining strong muscles.
Physical therapists provide customized exercise programs designed to preserve the strength, mobility, and use of your joints, whether your arthritis is widespread throughout your body or confined to one area of the body.
Physical therapy should begin as early as possible in order to reduce inflammation, pain, joint stiffness, and even deformity. In other words, physical therapy can help prevent or lessen the symptoms of arthritis.
After swelling and other inflammation levels subside, treatment will include customized exercises to increase range of motion and to improve and maintain fitness levels. The frequency, intensity, and duration of your physical therapy program will be tailored to your own abilities.
Is Physical Therapy Different For People Who Are Athletic
Athletes tend to be self-motivated. Theyre good at setting goals and achieving them in incremental ways. If they can only do five reps instead of 10, its not a big deal. Non-athletes often need external motivation. They tend to benefit from the support of working in a group. They wish they could do more, but they dont know how to self-motivate. The group setting is very helpful toward making them feel more comfortable.
The Arthritis Foundation has some wonderful collaborative programs. I keep a list of whats available for patients, and I connect them with the types of resources theyre more likely to use.
Recommended Reading: Does Tylenol Arthritis Reduce Inflammation
How In Motion Oc Can Help With Back Arthritis
Having arthritis in your back can be painful, frustrating, and make you feel alone in your suffering.
You do not have to face back arthritis alone.
You deserve specialized care and the best treatments available.
Let the excellent staff of physical therapists and personal trainers at In Motion O.C. help you like they have thousands of others.
We offer personalized treatment options, state of the art facilities, and a caring staff that will make you feel like the high-priority patient you are.
You dont have to take our word for it, you can trust us as the number one rated physical therapist in the nation according to users on Yelp.
today to make an appointment and take back your life.
*This information about physical therapy for back arthritis was reviewed by Dr Natalie Thomas, PT, DPT. If you have any questions, please dont hesitate to contact us here.
How Do You Know If You Have The Right Physical Therapist
Exercise is a form of medicine. Just as a rheumatologist will adjust your medication to find out what works best, you need a physical therapist wholl help you determine things, like whether youre in a flare and if you need to adjust your exercise. If a patients symptoms seem to be related to a flare, I suggest backing off on the exercise a little bit and giving their joints a rest.
Some physical therapists may understand exercise but not know the pathologies of the disease. The American College of Rheumatology maintains a database of providers specializing in rheumatoid conditions. Consider somebody who is orthopedic or OCS certified.
Recommended Reading: Is Exercise Good For Knee Arthritis
Back Pain And Stiffness
While back pain is a common symptom, not everyone with back arthritis experiences it.
Stiffness, which occurs as the joint hardens, is a frequent complaint among those with back arthritis. It can hinder you from doing simple activities, such as gardening or getting dressed.
Both of these symptoms can be helped significantly with exercise and physical therapy.
Increasing your flexibility and range of motion can help lessen the pain. Your physical therapist can achieve this with targeted movements that strengthen the muscles and take pressure off your joints.
Interventions For Pain Management
Interventions like over the counter or prescription medications and injections may help to relieve the inflammation, and associated pain. However, such techniques do not address any structural issues that may be causing the pain, inflammation, or loss of function in the joint. There are alternatives like hot and cold packs in addition to PT and OT that can help. These interventions are most effective when used in combination with a dedicated rehabilitation program.
Don’t Miss: What’s Better For Arthritis Heat Or Ice
Strength Train Without Weights
Some people arent up to pumping iron in the gym and thats totally fine there are lots of strengthening exercises you can do just with your body, Hirst says. Pilates is a gentle way to strengthen the muscles that stabilize arthritic joints while improving range of motion and flexibility, she explains. Other options are yoga, tai chi, or bodyweight strength workouts you find online. Just be sure to run it by your PT first so they can make sure they are appropriate for your arthritis, she adds.
How Do I Know If I Have Arthritis
According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis affects over 50 million people and it is currently the leading cause of disability across the nation. Arthritis causes pain and inflammation, and it can affect one or multiple joints at once.
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. This is caused when the cartilage around the joints wears down, either due to age or overuse. This causes pain in the joint, as the cartilage is no longer acting as the thick cushion that it once was. Without a cushion, the bones grind together, which in turn can cause the joint to become stiff and achy. Rheumatoid arthritis, also referred to as inflammatory arthritis, is also fairly common. It is an autoimmune disease that can affect the joints on both sides of the body, and it is typically more prevalent in females than males.
Those suffering from arthritis typically report sore or stiff muscles when they wake up in the morning, but the discomfort tends to fade throughout the day. You may notice popping or clicking sounds in the affected joint when you move it, and the joint may be sensitive or painful to the touch. Arthritis can also cause pain when you exercise or work, and the pain may go away after you stop doing that activity.
Read Also: How To Tell What Kind Of Arthritis I Have
Tristate Arthritis Has On Site Physical Therapy
Tristate Arthritis and Rheumatology is one of the few rheumatology practices offering on site physical therapy. This unique set up offers our patients with advanced arthritis and other chronic musculoskeletal conditions to work with both the therapist and doctor to tailor therapy individually for the optimal benefit of each patient.
Maintain Or Increase Joint Range Of Motion
Osteoarthritis can make a joint stiff. Physical therapy can improve your ability to bend and straighten a joint. Even incremental improvements in a joints range of motion can make a significant difference in joint function. For example, getting an arthritic knee to bend just 10 more may allow you to comfortably get in and out of low chairs.
You May Like: Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Cripple You
What Can A Physical Therapist Do To Help You
A physical therapist can help in a variety of ways. They help a patient build up better aerobic capacity. They put together a strength-and-conditioning program.
If the patients having trouble functioning at work, well do an ergonomic evaluation. We can help modify their workspace or even speak to their company to create a better work schedule to accommodate a patient. This could include working from home for part of the time.
Lighten Up Your Grocery List
Another easy adaptation is to consider the size and weight of things you normally buy at the store and consider alternatives, Ferri says. My patients with arthritis in their hands often have difficulty carrying a gallon of milk, which is heavy and hard to manipulate, so instead I tell them to get two pints, she says. Another option is to have your groceries delivered. It may be worth the fee to have someone else do the heavy lifting.
Don’t Miss: Is Tens Unit Good For Arthritis
How Does Arthritis Develop
As the most commonly experienced form of arthritis, osteoarthritis is typically easy to diagnosis. It can be caused by a sudden injury to the joint, or it can develop even if a previous injury has fully healed. For example, lets say you were a football player in college who experienced a harsh blow to the knee. You seek treatment, recover, and return to the game. Although the injury healed in its entirety. It is still possible for you to develop osteoarthritis from it later in life.
The same is true for labor-intensive careers. If you are a carpenter who swings a hammer in repetitive motions as a crucial part of the job. You may develop osteoarthritis in the joints of your elbows or hands. If you are overweight, you may also be at a higher risk for developing osteoarthritis, as additional strain is being put on your knee and hip joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis is not as easily understood. It develops as an autoimmune response, meaning that the immune system sees the joints as a threat and decides to attack them. Researchers have come to believe that your medical history, environment, and hormones could all be contributing factors toward the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Because it is an autoimmune condition. It is common for it to affect the same joints on different sides of the body.
How Physical Therapy Can Help Mobility When You Have Arthritis
Have you been diagnosed with arthritis? You may think the condition is more common as you get older, but surprisingly, almost two-thirds of those in the U.S. with arthritis are between the age of 18-64.
Perhaps youre an athlete in your 40s whos had a traumatic injury to your ankle. At Phoenix Foot and Ankle Institute, board-certified Dr. Jeffrey McAlister treats foot and ankle arthritis, most often caused by post-traumatic arthritis, a form of osteoarthritis, and sometimes from rheumatoid arthritis.
More than 100 different types of arthritis exist, but the two that are found most frequently are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Post-traumatic arthritis occurs when a joint eventually wears out because its suffered a previous traumatic injury from any number of sources a fall, a car accident, or other cause. The original injury weakens the cartilage and sometimes the bones so the joint develops wear and tear more quickly than it would otherwise.
Even if the ankle heals from the injury, its more likely to wear out than an ankle that hasnt been injured. If you love playing tennis and continue playing after your ankle heals from a traumatic injury, youre more at risk for post-traumatic arthritis. As with osteoarthritis, symptoms of post-traumatic arthritis include pain, inflammation, and swelling.
Read Also: Does Popping Your Fingers Give You Arthritis
How Can Physical Therapy Help Treat Arthritis
The pain and stiffness of arthritis can be miserable for those that suffer from it and currently there is no cure for it. Fortunately, the lack of a cure does not mean that there is no solution for arthritis sufferers. There may be as many as 100 different reasons that arthritis symptoms appear so proper treatment must start with a proper diagnosis. A physician will often prescribe medications for arthritis symptoms that only offer short-term relief. For long-term relief, patients are increasingly starting to rely on physical therapy.
How Rheumatoid Arthritis Therapy Is Included In Treatment
While physical, occupational, and specialized rheumatoid arthritis therapy treatments wont cure or stop the disease, they are critical components in helping patients adjust to their disease, improve their quality of life and achieve better health and well-being.
Physical and occupational therapies combined with well-rounded medications treatments can allow rheumatoid arthritis patients to live fulfilling and healthy lives despite their disease.
Read Also: What’s The Best Knee Brace For Arthritis
Motivation To Exercise When You’re In Pain
Its hard to get yourself up and motivated to exercise, especially when your pain is acting up, but hear me out. Exercise has too many benefits to ignore as part of your regular routine. Exercise can help reduce your stiffness, improve your overall mood, relieve your pain and may even slow down the progression of changes that occur in your spine as a result of arthritis. Plus, it may protect against such diseases as heart disease, cancer, and more.
Fitness and exercise programs generally consist of cardio, strength training and activities to increase your joint range of motion. Of these, the joint range-of-motion work may deserve much of your focus. Rajter says that range-of-motion exercises may interrupt the vicious cycle of stiffness, immobility, joint changes and pain often associated with arthritis.
For a basic low-back, range-of-motion program thats safe, but not particularly aggressive, Rajter recommends three exercises, described below. She says that if you also have other medical conditions, or you have fitness goals youd like to address without worsening your symptoms, you should make an appointment with a physical therapist for an evaluation and home exercise program.
Five Ways That Physical Therapy Can Help Your Degenerative Arthritis
Degenerative arthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It is also known as osteoarthritis. It occurs over time when there is a breakdown of the cartilage that cushions the area where two bones join together. This means that arthritis can affect any joint in the body. The most commonly afflicted joints are in the hands, knees, hips and spine.
Are you one of the millions of Americans who suffer from arthritis pain? Then you might want to learn how physical therapy can help you manage your condition.
You May Like: Can Liver Disease Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis
A New Study Comparing Tai Chi And Physical Therapy
Boston researchers publishing in the Annals of Internal Medicine describe a study of more than 200 adults with painful knee osteoarthritis. Half the participants were randomly assigned to standard physical therapy and the other half were assigned to tai chi, a traditional Chinese mind-body practice that combines meditation with slow, gentle, graceful movements deep diaphragmatic breathing and relaxation . Each course of treatment lasted 12 weeks.
Why did the researchers undertake this research? Preliminary studies had demonstrated that tai chi has clear benefits for people with osteoarthritis, but no previous study had compared it directly with standard physical therapy. And prior trials had found that tai chi can help treat conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia .
This new study found that
- both the physical therapy and tai chi groups saw significant improvements in the amount of pain they experienced, and each groups pain improved to a similar degree.
- the improvements the participants saw by 12 weeks lasted for a full year.
- the tai chi group improved more than the physical therapy group in measures of depression and in certain measures of quality of life.
One limitation of many studies of tai chi is that some of its effect may be related to the personality or charisma of the instructor. In this new study, the investigators thought of that and compared different instructors no differences between them were noted.
Physical Therapy For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Hydrotherapy and Low-impact Exercise for RA
Physical therapy is an effective and safe treatment for managing rheumatoid arthritis . But how does physical therapy help with rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, and how long will you have to do it?
This article answers these questions, as well as gives you tips on the benefits of physical therapy for RA.
You May Like: Is Monggo Beans Bad For Arthritis
Physical Therapy: Treating Arthritis The Safe And Easy Way
Anyone living with arthritis knows how debilitating it can be. Several people dealing with arthritic aches and pains end up resorting to steroid injections, antirheumatic drugs, or even joint replacement surgery, in order to manage their pain. However, physical therapy itself has proven successful for many arthritis sufferers. Before turning to potentially harmful drugs or an invasive surgical procedure, give physical therapy a try! Contact us today or visit us in Orland Park or Homer Glen, IL to schedule a consultation and learn how we can treat your arthritis the safe and easy way.
Nerve Pain Or Numbness
As the joint breaks down due to arthritis, bone spurs can form. These bone spurs can come in contact with nerves in the spinal column and cause pain, tingling, and numbness in other areas.
You may not notice these sensations all the time, but they can become problematic when doing even the most basic activities, like bending over to tie your shoes, or reaching up to get something from the top shelf.
Don’t Miss: Can Psoriatic Arthritis Cause Hip Pain
Turn Up The Heat Skip The Ice
Heat is one of the best tools you have for dealing with painful flare-ups in your joints, yet many patients still primarily use ice, often based on old advice for treating injuries, Lobert says. For chronic pain, use heat packs to help maintain blood flow and improve flexibility in your joints, she says. Ice is better suited for more acute injuries because it can make joints feel more stiff.