Arthritis can be a debilitating and painful condition that may vary greatly in presentation, but nearly always inhibits safe and effective movement – the very thing that can alleviate or even prevent the condition.
The most common form of arthritis is known as osteoarthritis, which is caused by the deterioration of a joint and typically affects weight bearing joints, like the knee or hip, according to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). It may be characterized by stiffness after periods of inactivity or pain during activity and when you press on the joint.
With approximately 27 million Americans suffering from a form of arthritis, according to the CDC, there are many treatment resources available – and physical therapy (PT) is one of the most effective.
Physical therapy can provide patients who suffer from a form of arthritis with a number of exercises and resources to incorporate into their treatment plan that not only alleviate pain, but also improve mobility to lead a more active lifestyle. This is particularly important as it is sedentariness that can lead to weight gain, and then arthritis.
For a patient’s first PT appointment, the physical therapist will begin by taking a thorough history, examining your movement, range of motion and strength. From there, the physical therapist will determine the best exercises, movement strategies and, if needed, an appropriate assistive device to improve your mobility while managing your symptoms.
You may be given braces or splints to alleviate stress on particular joints, or advised on an aerobic exercise program that improves movement and can be continued at home. Your PT may even use manual therapy to improve the mobility of a particular joint and function of muscles. Often times, obesity is a contributing factor to developing arthritis, and your PT may recommend an exercise program to help you lose weight safely – and keep it off.
The key to progress is consistency. Working the program that your PT has designed for you is vital to improving your mobility and managing the pain caused by arthritis.
Do you have a physical therapist on your health care team? Integrate physical therapy into your arthritis treatment – click here find a PT near you.