Physical therapy can be an important part of treatment for many people with arthritis. If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in your knee, hip shoulder, or other joint, you probably want to know how to relieve your joint pain and slow down the disease’s progression. Physical therapy can help you do both. A good physical therapist will employ a variety of techniques, including targeted exercises and stretches, manual therapy, and biomechanical analysis among other things. They can help you maintain your health long-term by creating a program that you can use out of the office, giving you the tools to manage arthritis flare-ups and improve your daily quality of life. The following are reason that physical therapy make sense for those with arthritis…
Physical Therapy Will Help You…
Maintain or Increase Joint Range of Motion
Osteoarthritis can make a joint stiff. Physical therapy can improve your ability to bend and straighten a joint. When your joints move they produce a liquid called synovial fluid, which reduces friction in your joints. This means that your joints might ache a little initially when you start moving the joint, but the discomfort should improve with continued movement as you get more fluid to lubricate it. Your doctor or physical therapist can show you a model or diagram of what your joints look like when they move and how arthritis can change that.
Strengthen the Muscles that Support an Arthritic Joint
Strong muscles help keep weak joints stable and comfortable and they protect them against further damage. A program of strengthening exercises that targets specific muscle groups can be helpful as a part of your arthritis treatment. When osteoarthritis causes protective cartilage to wear away in a joint, there can be painful friction between the joint’s bones. A skilled physical therapist can identify areas of impairment and teach you how to address these impairments with functional strengthening to help you improve strength and stability in your joints.
Individuals with osteoarthritis often have impaired balance resulting from muscle weakness, decreased joint function, decreased mobility, and other factors. Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee has been reported as a risk factor for falls and reduced balance in the elderly. Physical therapies help improve balance and will reduce fall risk among patients with knee OA. Tai Chi and aerobics exercises are also recommended as fall prevention strategies for individuals with OA.
Good posture is important for everyone but it’s essential for people with arthritis because poor biomechanics when you sit, walk, or lift can put extra strain and wear and tear on joints. A physical therapist can help to correct your biomechanics. They can help correct your bad habits and postural problems so you wear down your joints less, thereby helping to slow the progression of arthritis and reduce pain.
Use Assistive Devices
Walker, canes, crutches, splints, and shoe inserts may be recommended to help take the pressure off certain arthritic joints depending on the severity of the condition. Your physical therapist will give you patient education for walking with these devices. A skilled therapist can teach you how to properly fit and use certain assistive devices while also fostering an environment for you to work toward your functional independence. While it is impossible to turn back the clock to eliminate the effects of osteoarthritis, physical therapy is proven to be able to help individuals decrease their symptoms of pain and stiffness and to slow down the degenerative process by improving, strength and stability in muscles that surround a given joint.
Start Making Changes Now
One of the things we wish patients with arthritis understood is that time is of the essence. Arthritis is a progressive and chronic disease. Avoiding action or “powering through” can cause further damage to occur. The sooner you start taking steps to deal with and treat your arthritis, the better your prognosis can be.
We Have On-Site Physical Therapy!
Tristate Arthritis and Rheumatology is one of the few rheumatology practices in Cincinnati offering on-site physical therapy. This unique set up offers our patients with advanced arthritis and other chronic musculoskeletal conditions to work with both the therapist and doctor to tailor therapy individually for the optimal benefit of each patient. Patients with advanced arthritis and other chronic musculoskeletal conditions have often become discouraged after going through therapy at facilities geared towards less chronic conditions such as sports injuries. Other orthopedic outpatient therapy can be too vigorous for patients with chronic arthritis, and can leave patients hesitant to try therapy again. > Learn More
For persistent joint pain that is interfering with your daily activities, see a Tristate rheumatologist to make the correct diagnosis and begin the proper treatment.
Contact Us (859-331-3100) For More Information to Request an Appointment
Tristate Arthritis and Rheumatology is first and largest Rheumatology practice in the Northern Kentucky area. Founded by Dr. Arthur Kunath in 1986, our rheumatology practice now consists of six doctors who are board certified in both Internal Medicine and Rheumatology and a Physician Assistant. Patients see one doctor (except in emergencies), thereby assuring continuity of care and an individualized doctor-patient atmosphere giving the physician the ability to establish personalized and detailed relationships. Our doctors have received numerous awards, including being listed as “Top Doctors” in Cincinnati Magazine, receiving the Patient’s Choice Award, the Most Compassionate Doctor Award, and the American College of Rheumatology’s “My Doc Rocks” award.
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