Many of us have experienced joint pain in various parts of our body. Sometimes the pain is severe and may affect one’s ability to perform routine daily activities as simple as walking, dressing, reaching, and driving. This may be due to a common medical condition known as arthritis. But what is arthritis and what can be done to relieve the symptoms associated with it?
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. There are several forms of arthritis, but the two most common forms are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is more common in adults, but can occur among children and young adults.
OA is the most common form and it occurs with breakdown of the cartilage. RA is an autoimmune disorder that affects the synovium, which plays the role in lubricating the joints. Left untreated it may lead to breakdown of the joint.
So what are the symptoms of arthritis? The typical symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints. Symptoms of RA include joint stiffness, swelling as well as fatigue, fever and weight loss.
The next question is, how can we treat the symptoms of arthritis? The possible treatment options include medication, physical therapy and surgery. Patients sometimes overlook the effectiveness of physical therapy in the treatment of arthritis.
The role of skilled physical therapy in arthritis is to manage pain while restoring joint mobility and function. This is accomplished by creating a specific exercise plan targeting the affected joint and the surrounding muscles. The exercises will incorporate both stretching and strengthening components to improve flexibility, stability and strength, thereby reducing stress on the joint. Physical therapists may also use manual therapy to supplement the exercise. Manual therapy can include, but is not limited to, joint mobilization, soft tissue massage, trigger point release, muscle energy techniques, myofacial release techniques and taping techniques. Modalities such as moist heat, cold packs, ultrasound and electric stimulation can also be utilized to reduce pain and swelling around the joint and soft tissue. Most importantly, therapists can provide patient education to prevent further joint pain and damage, through posture awareness, joint conservation concepts, home exercise program, and use of braces and assistive devices when appropriate. At SportsCare we realize that each patient is unique. After a thorough evaluation your SportsCare Physical therapist will put together a therapy program that is specifically tailored to the individual for maximum results.
Please contact your SportsCare Physical Therapy location to schedule an appointment.
We look forward to meeting you.