Are you living with arthritis? If so, you know how limiting it can be to one’s life. Arthritis is a disorder of the joints that millions of people live with. It results in joint inflammation that can cause aches, pains, stiffness, and limited mobility. While there are over 100 types of arthritis, they are typically split into two categories: monoarthritis, meaning only one joint is affected, and oligoarthritis, meaning multiple joints are affected.
The two most commonly reported types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis develops from “wear and tear” of cartilage, while rheumatoid arthritis develops from an overactive immune system.
While arthritis is debilitating, it can certainly be managed. If you believe you may be living with arthritic symptoms, contact Empower Physical Therapy as soon as possible. We’ll help you manage your arthritic aches and pains.
What should I do if I think I have arthritis?
First and foremost, if you believe you may be suffering from arthritis, you should contact your primary care provider. He or she will provide a thorough evaluation, looking for signs of disease, such as inflammation and/or deformity. They will review your symptoms, and may administer any blood tests, urine tests, joint fluid tests, or x-rays as they deem necessary. If you are diagnosed with arthritis after these tests, your doctor will create a treatment plan for you, in relation to the location and severity of the condition. This treatment plan may include rest, exercise routines, and medications as necessary.
It is very likely that you will also be referred to a physical therapist to help guide you through your exercise routines, in order to measure progress and make sure that you are completing your physical activity in a safe and correct manner. Physical therapy is a proven aid in arthritic pain relief, without the use of harmful pain-management drugs. According to the Arthritis Center at Johns Hopkins,
“Physical activity is essential to optimizing both physical and mental health and can play a vital role in the management of arthritis. Regular physical activity can keep the muscles around affected joints strong, decrease bone loss and may help control joint swelling and pain. Regular activity replenishes lubrication to the cartilage of the joint and reduces stiffness and pain. Exercise also helps to enhance energy and stamina by decreasing fatigue and improving sleep. Exercise can enhance weight loss and promote long-term weight management in those with arthritis who are overweight.”
Early diagnosis can be helpful in avoiding joint damage and disability, so it is imperative that you contact a doctor as soon as you think you may be developing arthritic symptoms.
What will my physical therapy plan look like?
While there is not yet a known cure for arthritis, physical therapy is a proven and effective way to relieve pain and ease inflammation. In fact, each patient is provided with their very own individualized treatment plan, based on the nature of their arthritic condition and their corresponding needs. Treatment plans help improve strength, mobility, and range of motion while also alleviating pain.
Your physical therapist will provide you with targeted stretches and exercises for arthritic relief, in addition to any other methods he or she may deem fit. This may include manual therapy, soft tissue mobilization, ice and heat therapies, deep tissue massage, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation. Any additional modality will be added under the discretion of your physical therapist, if needed for additional pain relief or mobility improvement.
Are you ready to relieve your arthritic aches and pains? If so, contact Empower Physical Therapy today. We’ll help you manage your pain so you can get back to living your life.
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