Arthritis is an extremely common ailment that causes inflammation in the joints resulting in stiffness and pain. Often worsening with age, arthritis can make every day activities difficult. Patients often assume that this pain is something that they will have to live with for the rest of their life. In reality, with the help of your physical therapist, the pain can be addressed and alleviated so that every day activities do not put you in pain.
Goals of Treatment
Prevent Loss of Joint Movement
There are many goals a physical therapist may have for patients suffering from arthritis. Primarily, a physical therapist’s goal is to prevent the loss of the use of the body’s joints. When one loses the use of their joints, moving around is debilitating. A physical therapist will give exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding the areas in pain, so that strain is taken off the joints. By strengthening the body, the patient is less likely to lose joint movement.
Although it may cause you pain to move, when you stop moving around your joints will only become stiffer. Physical therapists work to increase the range of motion within your joints, so that everyday activities are possible. They are trained in ensuring that motion is restored without causing further damage to the joints. It is important to follow a physical therapist’s directions for exercise so that the joints are protected.
When you start seeing a physical therapist, you will be educated in exactly what kind of arthritis you have and how to deal with it. People with arthritis often complain of flare ups, times when the joint becomes agitated causing the patient a lot of discomfort. Your physical therapist will give you exercises and advice that can be implemented wherever you are, so that you can relieve yourself of the discomfort.
Methods of Treatment
There are several methods that physical therapists utilize to accomplish treatment goals and get arthritis patients back to living their lives without pain. Many patients suffering from arthritis do not realize the power of physical therapy techniques in alleviating pain and restoring movement.
Specific exercises prescribed by your physical therapist are vital toward alleviating pain and restoring range of motion in the joints. Physical therapists know exactly which exercises you should be practicing to build strength without compromising the integrity of your joints. Water exercise is a popular treatment route for patients with arthritis because it decreases the body weight being put on the joints, while strengthening the muscles. Warm water will also help to relax muscles and relieve joint pain.
Physical therapists want their patients to be able to do all of the normal day-to-day activities they did before they suffered from arthritis. While this is possible, care needs to be taken as to how these daily activities are performed. The joints in the human body are sensitive to those with arthritis, so the physical therapist will provide you with tips on accommodations you can make to protect your joints while doing everyday activities. This might include tips on moving from sitting to standing, or how to better bear weight when walking. Every tip a physical therapist gives you is with joint protection in mind.
A physical therapist may also recommend devices to make everyday life less stressful on your joints. Some common devices recommended include a bench or stool in the bathtub so that you do not have to stand and risk a fall, or some bars around the house to help you when standing up. These devices are intended to give you a helping hand so that you are not stressing your joints.
Life Doesn’t Have to Be Painful
The physical therapists at JAG are here to help you with your arthritis pain. Arthritis is not something you have to sit back and let control your life. With physical therapy, they can get you back to moving safely.