Arthritis is a common joint pain issue that can affect people of all ages. And while there is no cure for arthritis, with physical therapy you can learn to manage your arthritis pain naturally.
For many people with chronic arthritis pain, prescription pain medications may seem like the only pain relief option. However, our experienced physical therapists recommend completing a variety of different targeted exercises to reduce inflammation, increase mobility, and relieve your arthritis pain.
PT for arthritis
If you are experiencing arthritis pain, you can try a few different exercises to help ease your pain and other symptoms, such as stiffness.
Some of our favorite exercises include:
Hand Exercises — Rheumatoid arthritis can often result in limited use of the hands over time. By bending the wrists up and down, slowly curling your fingers, and spreading your fingers wide in a repetitive exercise cycle, you can greatly improve mobility and relieve chronic pain.
Water Exercises — This is a great low-impact way to get in your physical therapy exercises and relieve joint pain.
Walking — Going for a walk is a great way to improve your joint health, boost your overall mood, and help with aerobic conditioning.
Stretching — This simple exercise helps to improve flexibility, increase your range of motion and reduce stiffness caused by arthritis.
What’s causing my arthritis?
There are many types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is the most common type. The cushioning surface on the bones wears away, and bone rubs against bone.
The joints can lose strength, and joint pain is often chronic. With inflammatory arthritis, the immune system goes awry. It attacks the joints with inflammation. This can cause joint erosion and joint pain.
Because there are different types of arthritis, there is not one main cause of this type of joint issue.
However, there are certain risk factors that may increase the likelihood that you may develop arthritis in your lifetime.
The risk of developing certain types of arthritis, like osteoarthritis and gout, increases as we age.
Did you know that women are much more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men? But on the other hand, men are more likely to develop gout.
If you’ve injured a joint in the past, you have an increased risk of developing arthritis in the same area later in life.
Certain types of arthritis can be genetic issues that run within family lines. If your parents or siblings have a specific type of arthritis, you are much more likely to develop it at some point in your life as well.
When you are carrying excess weight on your body, you are putting increased strain on your joints. People with obesity have a greater chance of developing arthritis, particularly in the knees, hips, and spine.
Try physical therapy before opting for surgery
According to Harvard Health Publishing,
“Trying physical therapy before opting for surgery may be the better choice. You may be able to spare yourself the expense, pain, and recovery time of surgery, says physical therapist Karen Weber, clinical supervisor at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Outpatient Centers in Braintree and Quincy, Mass.
There is growing evidence supporting that idea. In the past few years, studies have indicated that physical therapy is just as effective as surgery for relieving pain and restoring function for people with arthritis in their knees or backs.”
Do you have these symptoms?
For most people with arthritis, joint pain is the most common complaint. But depending on the type of arthritis an individual has, they may experience a variety of different symptoms, including:
Impaired range of motion
Arthritis is characterized by a swelling or tenderness in one or more of the joints in the body. The most common complaints of those with arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, and these symptoms can actually worsen with age. While there are many types of arthritis, the 2 most common types are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
With osteoarthritis, the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones at the joint starts to breakdown, resulting in recurring pain and stiffness. However, rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack various joints, beginning in the actual lining of the joints and breaking them down over time.
Interested in learning more about the benefits of physical therapy treatment for arthritis pain? Contact our friendly and experienced physical therapist to learn more.