Arthritis is a debilitating disease that affects over 54 million Americans. It's also the most common disability in the country, making it difficult for many people to perform daily activities without experiencing pain. The pain and inability to perform normal routines often increase with time. If you're living with this condition, a physical therapist may be able to help you eliminate arthritis pain and increase your mobility. Contact our office today for a consultation.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a disease that causes stiffness and inflammation in the joints. It can affect men, women and children. An official diagnosis is usually made by a physician. Your doctor may examine your joints, take a complete medical history, and order urinalysis and blood panel tests. The following are several symptoms of arthritis:
- Redness and swelling
- Limited joint functioning
- Loss of cartilage
- Bone growth, particularly in the fingers
- Fatigue, fever and weight loss
- Causes of Arthritis
There are two general types of arthritis. These include rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type and is characterized by damage to the cartilage in joints. This type is also referred to as degenerative. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your body's own immune system begins to attack the lining in the joints. This type is sometimes called inflammatory. Infectious and metabolic are also different types of joint inflammation.
After enough damage has occurred, the results can be both painful and debilitating. Sometimes bones will grind on one another. In some cases, both the bones and cartilage are destroyed. There can be several causes of arthritis. According to the Mayo Clinic, causes and risk factors include the following:
- Genetics - Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid can run in families.
- Age - The likelihood that you'll suffer from some type of joint inflammation increases with age.
- Obesity - Excess weight will put extra stress on joints, especially those in the spine, hips, and knees.
- Previous Injuries - If you've previously suffered an injury in a joint, you are more likely to suffer from inflammation in that particular area.
How Physical Therapy Helps Arthritis
Currently, there is no cure for joint inflammation and damage. Medication is often prescribed for arthritis pain but only offers temporary relief. A physical therapist can help provide you with long-term relief from debilitating pain and symptoms. A trained physical therapist can put together a detailed treatment plan that addresses your individual needs and health goals. Physical therapy can aid in restoring your lost mobility and prevent further mobility loss from occurring. It's crucial to start treatment as soon as possible to receive the best outcome.
A physical therapist can create a treatment program that addresses your individual condition. This may include exercises tailored to improve strength, mobility and joint usage. A physical therapist can also teach you how to correct your posture to protect joints and how to properly use walking aids if needed. Physical therapy may also entail other methods such as joint protection techniques, thermal treatments, and using heat and ice to eliminate pain and relax your muscles. It's important to consistently follow your physical therapist's instructions and practice your exercises at home on a regular basis. If your condition changes, your physical therapist may alter your treatment and change your exercise program.
There's no reason that chronic pain and stiffness should affect your daily life. Our physical therapists can evaluate your condition and design specific treatments that will help you get back to your daily routine. Contact us at River Edge, NJ center so our physical therapists can get you started on a treatment plan as soon as possible. Don't suffer from arthritic pain another day!