Physical Therapy can help ease arthritic pain and restore mobility.
Mobility is one of the most important aspects of a healthy, fulfilling life. Most of us are fortunate enough to never experience a serious mobility issue, but the majority of us will face at least one during our lives: arthritis. Approximately 54.4 million adults in the United States are diagnosed with arthritis, and almost half of them have their mobility affected in some way.
Arthritis can be managed in a variety of different ways, including physical therapy! At Physical Therapy Partners, we’re committed to alleviating your pain and helping you live the life you deserve.
What is Arthritis?
At the highest level, arthritis means joint inflammation of some kind. There are over 200 specific arthritis conditions, all with similar symptoms: joint pain and stiffness, especially during movement. Most of these 200 varieties can be split into two categories.
Osteoarthritis occurs when joint cartilage breaks down, causing the underlying bone to be unprotected. Osteoarthritis manifests over time, typically after an injury younger in the patient’s life. In addition to pain, telltale signs include swelling and redness at the affected area.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune system disorder where the body’s immune system attacks joints. This also affects the underlying bone and cartilage, causing severe pain. Some variants of rheumatoid arthritis also affect the organs.
How We Treat Arthritis
Physical activity has a significant positive effect on arthritis. Given that the pain can make physical activity difficult, physical therapy is an effective method for gentle stimulation of those tender joints. This not only relieves pain, but can also prevent further injury.
Techniques we use include:
- Mulligan mobilization with movement: carefully targeted “repositioning” of arthritic joints.
- Maitland mobilization: varying movements of the extremities to ease stiffness.
- Soft tissue work: mobilization of soft tissue around the affected area to reduce pain and restore mobility.
- Joint protection: taping, bracing, and education on how to minimize effects of the arthritis.
- Stabilization training: a regimen of active exercises that, over time, stabilize the arthritic joint.
- Posture training: correct posture can significantly mitigate the effects of certain types of arthritis.