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Can physical therapy help my arthritis?

Arthritis can apply to more than 100 conditions, but physical therapy can help the symptoms in almost every instance. Arthritis refers to joint inflammation, and it’s the no. 1 cause of disability in the United States.

Arthritis causes joint pain and stiffness that usually worsens with age, reducing your range of motion. It can be caused by wear and tear over time or be a symptom of other medical conditions.

Read on to learn about how physical therapy can help arthritis pain as well as potential treatment methods a physical therapist might use to reduce joint inflammation.

4 ways that physical therapy can help people with arthritis

Physical therapy can benefit people with arthritis in many facets, and possibly in different ways than you may assume. Since arthritis is so common, affecting 1 in 4 U.S. adults, physical therapists are well versed in the type of pain that can stem from joint inflammation. This allows them to help people with arthritis in a variety of ways by providing benefits like:

  1. Pain management — Since pain is the main symptom of arthritis, many people seek physical therapy when the pain gets to be too much, or even worsens. A physical therapist can combine hands-on methods with guided exercises to help arthritis. They can also teach you how to help decrease the pain on your own. They can offer lifestyle and home modifications that will reduce the pressure on your joints and prevent injuries.
  1. Improved gait and balance — Joints are integral to both your gait and balance. Arthritis can make it difficult to have a stable center of gravity as you move your joints. Instability can increase the risk of an accident. A physical therapist can make adjustments to both your posture and gait to decrease the pressure on your joints during movements.
  1. Personalized exercise plan design — Stretching and strengthening exercises can play a huge role in alleviating joint pain. But they have to be done in a safe and effective manner. A physical therapist can show you exercises to stretch and strengthen your muscles to decrease pressure on your joints.
  1. Increased range of motion — Arthritis pain and stiffness can make it difficult to have a complete range of motion. Decreased mobility can prevent you from carrying out your daily tasks. Physical therapy exercises and methods will help release tension that’s making it difficult for your joints to move freely.

3 physical therapy techniques that are often used to help people with arthritis 

There are quite a few physical therapy methods for arthritis pain. While some include hands-on techniques by the therapist, others include active participation.

Your therapist will determine the best options for you based on the severity and location of your arthritis. They will also consider your body’s capabilities.

A few common physical therapy techniques that help arthritis include:

  1. Joint mobilization — One of the best physical therapy techniques for arthritis targets the source of the problem: the joints. But the pain actually stems from the muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding the joint where the tension is held. Joint mobilization is a technique that involves a physical therapist using their hands to move the joint around. The goal is to find the restrictive tissue. By loosening up the tissue, the tension is released and your range of motion is improved.
  1. Balance training — A physical therapist can help you improve your balance that may be negatively affected by arthritis. This is especially for people with conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Balance training exercises can strengthen your center of gravity while you stand or walk in order to prevent injuries.
  1. Exercises — Stretching and strengthening the muscles surrounding your joints can decrease your arthritis pain and improve their flexibility and stability. A physical therapist can walk you through exercises that result in strong yet flexible muscles. Improving your muscles can increase your range of motion by decreasing the pressure placed on the joints. 

Back in Motion can provide physical therapy to help with arthritis

It’s important to not let arthritis pain prevent you from handling your day-to-day responsibilities. It also shouldn’t get in the way of you enjoying fun moments with your loved ones, like vacations and parties. Even though there is no permanent cure for arthritis, there are plenty of physical therapy treatment options that can alleviate the pain and increase your joint mobility.
When you’re ready to see how physical therapy can help arthritis, be sure to contact us today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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