Arthritis Pain Sufferers- This Blog is for You!

Arthritis is a joint disorder, which features inflammation, pain and stiffness. There is also often a loss in movement with arthritis, as the joints are too inflamed to move. When only a single joint is involved it’s known as monoarthritis. If two or three joints are involved it’s referred to as oligoarthritis. To date there are over 100 types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs due to wear and tear of the cartilage and rheumatoid arthritis results from an overactive immune system. Arthritis is the most common chronic illness in the nation. Many people cannot work due to arthritis and have to go on disability. And it affects men, women and children. Arthritic pain can impede one’s mobility and quality of life. If you suffer from arthritic pain be sure to call Total Body Therapy & Wellness to schedule an appointment with our physical therapist. Physical therapy for arthritic pain has been proven by research to be highly effective.

Diagnosing Arthritis and Getting Treatment

Your doctor will examine your joints for deformity and inflammation, look for signs of disease and review your history of symptoms. Blood tests, urine tests, x-rays or joint fluid tests may be ordered. Early diagnosis can prevent disability and irreversible damage. Exercise routines, medications, rest and physical therapy may be recommended. A physical therapist can provide properly guided exercise regimens. It’s important that you do the proper, safe exercises to avoid injury.

The Role of Physical Therapy for Arthritis

Physical therapy is all about engaging in physical activity and exercise. “Physical activity is essential to optimizing both physical and mental health and can play a vital role in the management of arthritis. Regular physical activity can keep the muscles around affected joints strong, decrease bone loss and may help control joint swelling and pain. Regular activity replenishes lubrication to the cartilage of the joint and reduces stiffness and pain. Exercise also helps to enhance energy and stamina by decreasing fatigue and improving sleep. Exercise can enhance weight loss and promote long-term weight management in those with arthritis who are overweight.”

Arthritis pain can be miserable and debilitating for those who suffer from it, and unfortunately, there is no cure for it. A physical therapist will custom tailor a therapeutic exercise program to help mobility and strength. A physical therapist will create a treatment program that addresses all areas of the body. For example, if you suffer from arthritis pain in the knee an exercise program will address the lower back, hip and ankle, in addition to the knee. That’s because all of these areas contribute to proper knee control and mechanics. Carrying objects, lifting and squatting may also be a part of the treatment plan.

Physical therapy also consists of manual therapy. It has been proven that joint and soft tissue mobilization help patients suffering from arthritis pain. Deep tissue massage, TENS, ice packs and heat therapy may also be part of the treatment plan by a physical therapist. All of these treatments are passive modalities that increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, reduce pain and enhance mobility. All around, physical therapy is an effective, noninvasive method for arthritis pain. Plus, you won’t have to rely on those pain meds, which can lead to addiction.

If you’re suffering from arthritis pain, be sure to schedule an appointment with one of our certified physical therapists. Our research-driven treatments will help you get fast pain relief. Get your life back on track with treatment from our Total Body Therapy & Wellness physical therapists in Lillington, NC. Our physical therapy team is your partner in getting you well and committed to your success.

Treating Arthritis Pain Without The Meds

Arthritis is a catch-all term used to describe more than 100 different kinds of joint pain and joint disease. While arthritis is commonly believed to be a condition that afflicts the elderly, the reality is that it can strike people in early middle age. In fact, elite male athletes are more likely to develop arthritis than the general public. Arthritis medications and pain medicines can cause some nasty side effects. So, if you’re looking for a natural treatment for arthritis, consider meeting with a Total Body Therapy & Wellness physical therapist at our office to learn how you can kick the meds and reduce your arthritis symptoms.

What Is Arthritis?

Osteoarthritis: The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. This is caused by a reduction in joint cartilage as it wears away through age or “wear and tear.” This causes bones to rub together, which leads to pain and swelling. Physical therapy can often help to reduce arthritis pain without medication, especially if the arthritis is mild to moderate.

Inflammatory Arthritis: In certain cases, the body’s immune system will attack joint tissues with intense inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis is one example of this type of condition. Inflammatory arthritis often has a genetic cause, and doctors usually treat it aggressively with drugs. However, depending on the severity of symptoms, physical therapy may be recommended for treatment as well.

Metabolic Arthritis: The most common type of metabolic arthritis is gout, a condition caused by uric acid crystals building up in the joints of the extremities, especially the feet. It’s typically caused by reduced kidney function. Physical therapy can help gout patients restore range of motion in the affected area and even reduce the buildup of the acidic crystals that accumulate in the joints.

Arthritis in Athletes

According to a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, about 30 percent of elite male athletes who engage in contact sports such as football will develop arthritis in the knees and hips. That’s compared to about 19 percent of the general public. The wear and tear on the joints that results from high-contact sports increases the likelihood of developing arthritis. Soccer and handball players were found to be twice as “at risk” of arthritis later in life, and hockey players are three times as likely to develop arthritis.

Arthritis Medications

Depending on the type of arthritis that a person has, doctors may prescribe NSAID pain relievers, corticosteroids, antirheumatic drugs or antibiotics. All of these carry a risk of side effects, and some can be extremely serious. NSAIDs can lead to an increased risk of blood clots, heart attack or stroke. Corticosteroids can contribute to cataracts, cause high blood sugar levels or even contribute to bone loss — which is terrible when you consider that the patient is already dealing with arthritis!

Physical Therapy for Arthritis

The goals when working with a physical therapist for arthritis treatment will include preserving a good range of motion, increasing strength to reduce stress on the joints, and other natural treatment options. Here are some of the benefits of working with our physical therapists:

  • Your physical therapist will work with you to control your weight through exercise and diet. Controlling your weight helps to prevent added stress on weight-bearing joints.
  • Posture work will help to reduce stress on your joints.
  • Light exercises and stretching will help to increase range of motion in the affected areas.
  • Your therapist will also recommend a schedule for rest and sleep to complement your exercises. This helps the body to heal and hopefully reduce arthritic inflammation and pain.

Every treatment regimen is different based on your body’s needs and your particular type of arthritis. The best way to get started on a med-free treatment through physical therapy is by calling and scheduling an appointment with one of our Lillington, NC therapists.

Tips to Treat Your Arthritis Pain

If you are like the one in four American adults who suffer from arthritis symptoms, you are looking for options for managing the day to day aches and pains and often debilitating loss of mobility.  Fortunately, there are many things you can do that, when combined with physical therapy, can improve your strength, increase your flexibility and help you manage your arthritis symptoms. While these tips are helpful, they work best when paired with professional treatment, call us today to learn how we can help you live pain-free!

Weight Loss

Since many arthritis symptoms are exacerbated by obesity, weight loss is one of the most effective ways to manage those symptoms without medication. Fortunately, physical therapists are adept at creating weight loss or weight maintenance programs that take pressure off of your joints and increase blood flow for nutrient delivery throughout your entire body.

Time for New Shoes

Many people overlook the effects of footwear on arthritis of the knee. Whether it is special purchasing special footwear or adding insoles or orthotics into your existing shoes, this simple fix can help immediately relieve the pressure on the weight-bearing joints of your lower body. As an added bonus, the correct footwear makes it easier to walk or exercise without pain.

Hot & Cold, Hot & Cold

When it comes to arthritis, temperature matters. Many people discover that a warm bath or heat pack helps ease arthritis aches and pains. Others find that cold packs applied on a regular basis reduce swelling in the joints and relieve discomfort. Alternating between the two has been shown to provide the soothing comfort of heat with the anti-inflammatory properties of cold. However, it is important to consult with a medical professional about the proper procedures for applying both heat and cold in order to avoid skin irritation.

Exercise

As tempting as it is to “rest” when you are uncomfortable, there is nothing better for managing arthritis than exercising on a regular basis. However, many people are reluctant to begin an exercise program with arthritis for fear of injuring themselves. Physical therapy can not only help you discover the exercise program that is right for your condition, it can provide you with a long-term solution to your arthritis symptoms. Your physical therapist will show you proper technique, a variety of exercises and how to wear appropriate accessories like braces or wraps if necessary.

Arthritis should not stop you from living the life you deserve. The combination of physical therapy, a weight loss program, heat and cold, and footwear can help you manage your day-to-day discomfort for the rest of your life. Contact Total Body Therapy & Wellness today to get started on your personalized physical therapy program and start enjoying a symptom-free life!

 

 

 

Arthritis: The Silent Disability

Arthritis affects more than 50 million people in the United States. It is the nation’s number 1 cause of disability.  Even though it is so prevalent, arthritis is known as a “silent disability”.  This means that although someone may be suffering from arthritis, it may not be something that can be directly seen from the outside.

May is National Arthritis Awareness Month.  There are so many types of arthritis that affect so many different people throughout America.  Living with arthritis can be very difficult, but with proper care from a doctor can be tolerable.  The key is working with your doctor to figure out what treatment works best for your pain.  There are so many types of arthritis, each with their own set of symptoms, so your individual doctor would be able to best recommend treatments for your type of arthritis.

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One way to keep arthritis pain at bay is starting an exercise program.  A 2008 study showed that sedentary individuals with arthritis who exercised 2 times a week for an hours, saw declines in their overall pain and fatigue and saw an improvement in their own arthritis management.

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The Following Steps Will Help You Start Your Exercise Program:

  • Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.  They can help if there are any activities that you need to avoid when exercising.
  • Start with small goals.  Break your 30 minutes of exercise into three 10 minute sessions.
  • You can set smaller goals, like just taking the stairs instead of elevators
  • You need supportive, but comfortable shoes and comfortable, loose clothing
  • Reward yourself!  Research has shown that when people are awarded for good behavior, like exercise, they will continue it.
  • Schedule your physical activity so that it is non-negotiable
  • Try different types of workouts to see what is the best for you!

Getting active can help you control your arthritis symptoms and feel better overall.  Regular exercise allows you joints to stay lubricated, which makes moving easier.  It also releases endorphins which help with overall well being.  Overall the exercise increases your overall health and helps you sleep more peacefully at night.

So this May, in honor of Arthritis Awareness Month, get out and get moving.  Set your goals after talking to your program and get on the track to improving your arthritis symptoms!  Talk to your doctor or physical therapist to learn more about starting your program.