If you're regularly experiencing stiff, sore joints you may have one of several types of arthritis. Arthritis affects nearly 54 million Americans, causing various degrees of pain and debilitation for those who suffer from this disease. Physical therapy may be able to help ease pain and stiffness in your joints. Request an appointment at High Desert Physical Therapy today to find out how a Pocatello physical therapist can create an individualized program to help you move more effectively and reduce your arthritis pain!
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is not one single disease. There are actually over 100 different types of arthritis. General symptoms of arthritis can include sore joints, pain during activity, stiffness, and cracking and popping in the joints. The joint may also be sensitive or tender to the touch. Arthritis can affect a single joint or several joints throughout the body. The following are a few of the specific arthritic diseases an individual may suffer from.
- Osteoarthritis: This occurs when cartilage wears down and the bones begin to rub together. Joint pain is the primary symptom, and the condition normally worsens over time.
- Infectious arthritis: According to the Mayo Clinic, infectious arthritis is also known as septic arthritis. This painful condition is usually caused by germs that infect a joint.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: This kind of arthritis is an autoimmune condition. It occurs more often in women than in men.
Causes of arthritis
The cartilage that covers the bones is prone to daily wear and tear that can lead to arthritis. There are several factors that can contribute to an individual having arthritis.
- Repetitive use: Repetitive motions can make it easier to develop arthritis in certain joints. This often occurs due to repetitive motions at a job or in an athletic activity. Everyone from tennis players and ballet dancers to office workers are at risk of repetitive injury.
- Age: Most arthritis conditions occur more frequently as a person ages. Rheumatoid arthritis, however, can develop at any age.
- Injury: Besides repetitive injuries, a sudden traumatic injury can lead to arthritis more easily developing in that particular area of the body.
- Weight: Excessive weight can contribute to wear and tear on the joints, tendons and ligaments.
- Genetics: Certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are believed to be caused by genetics and hormones.
How physical therapy helps arthritis
According to the Arthritis Foundation, participating in regular physical exercise may be the most effective non-surgical method of dealing with osteoarthritis. Physical activity may also help reduce pain and increase mobility in a variety of other arthritic conditions. The best place to start is by working with a physical therapist. A licensed physical therapist will be able to recommend specific exercises for your age range, ability level, and arthritis symptoms. There are several ways that a physical therapist may be able to assist you.
- Manual therapy: This is also called hands-on physical therapy and can help improve your range of motion in joints that have been affected by arthritis. There are several types of massage methods that can work wonders to relieve arthritis pain. These include trigger point massage, deep tissue massage, and Swedish massage.
- Aerobic exercise: Aerobic exercise can increase your stamina and help you move better. Swimming and brisk walking are both great cardio workouts for those with arthritis.
- Home exercises: A physical therapist can provide you with exercises to do in your own home. The physical therapist may also make suggestions regarding changes you can make in your home to help you move around more efficiently.
- Ice/heat therapy: Icing can help reduce swelling and inflammation, while heat therapies can relieve stiffness and lubricate the joints.
You no longer need to suffer from arthritis pain or believe it's just a part of life you have to accept. Physical therapy can help you move more effectively while reducing the pain in your joints. Contact us at Pocatello, ID center today to see how Pocatello physical therapy can help you overcome arthritis pain and more easily participate in your daily activities!