If you’ve already been diagnosed with a common form of arthritis such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, you may have learned that these chronic joint pain conditions can’t be cured or reversed. It’s an unfortunate fact, but one that many people are forced to live with.
Did you know that at least 50 million Americans are struggling with arthritis? That’s a sizable chunk of the U.S. population, and if you have joint pain, there’s a good chance that you’re included in that statistic!
You might be wondering why even bother to pursue a course of physical therapy for your arthritis since there is no cure for it, and this blog is going to explain that to you. As it turns out, physical therapy can do quite a lot to help you control your symptoms and optimize your joint function. Keep reading to learn more about arthritis and how physical therapy can ease your chronic pain.
Arthritis: The Leading Reason For Chronic Joint Pain
Did you know that over 100 different underlying conditions can cause arthritis or joint pain? It’s true. Unfortunately, these conditions tend to be chronic, or long-lasting, in nature.
Take rheumatoid arthritis, for example. This painful condition attacks your joints over time due to an autoimmune malfunction, causing increasing amounts of swelling and damage to your joints.
The most common kind of arthritis, as well as the one you’re probably more familiar with, is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a progressive degeneration of the joint cartilage due to natural wear and tear. As the cartilage continues to disintegrate, your joints become increasingly stiff and painful over the years. This will end up hindering your mobility and functionality as it worsens, especially if you do not seek treatment.
Why not opt for surgery or medication for my arthritis?
There’s nothing more frustrating than sustaining painful physical damage that your body can’t repair or heal. In the most severe cases, some people with arthritis choose to undergo expensive, intense surgery to either fuse the joint in place (preventing painful motion) or replace the joint altogether with a metal implant. Surgery is not for everyone and it certainly is not the only option. If you can’t stomach the thought of major surgery, you might assume that your only recourse is life in a wheelchair or leaning on a walker, with a daily regimen of painkillers. The problem with this strategy is that the less you use your joints, the stiffer they will get, forcing you to take increasing amounts of medication just to get through the day.
Medications also only provide temporary relief and don’t get to the root source of your problem. They also won’t make you stronger and won’t preserve your mobility.
Preserving Mobility And Decreasing Pain With Physical Therapy
The sad truth is that we can’t turn back time when it comes to our health. Once a chronic, incurable condition develops, it’s here to stay.
There’s no reason to despair, however. Even if you can’t turn back the clock on the damage done to your joints, you can still do those joints a world of good through physical therapy. The kind of treatment our physical therapist recommends will depend in part on your baseline health and fitness, the type of arthritis you have, and the severity of the condition.
Your physical therapy plan will also be based on your specific goals, from relieving chronic pain to restoring your ability to perform particular activities. It may include:
- Walking or cycling to keep your joints as limber as possible
- Strength training to build up the muscles that support and articulate your arthritic joints
- Massage therapy to increase blood flow, relieve chronic inflammation, and reduce joint swelling
- Corrective exercises and postural education to help you move around safely, either on your own or with an assistive device
- The use of heat and cold to ease joint pain without drugs
These physical therapy treatment methods and other techniques can have a profoundly positive effect on your arthritis. You’ll find that you can move more freely and comfortably and that you no longer feel the need to keep drugging yourself or enduring grueling surgery. By controlling your inflammation and preventing more stiffness from setting in, you’re setting yourself up for many more years of optimal mobility — despite your arthritis.
Are You Ready To See One of Our Physical Therapists?
If you’re interested in getting the ball rolling with treatment for your arthritis through physical therapy, don’t keep sitting around, waiting for us to call you! You have to take the first step towards bettering your health when it comes to a chronic condition like arthritis, so what are you waiting for?
Contact Activa Physical Therapy today to learn more about our services. Then schedule an appointment so that we can devise an effective arthritis management plan for you!