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How to Treat Arthritis with Physical Therapy

Arthritis is a condition that affects millions of people around the world. It can cause severe joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, making it difficult to do everyday tasks. Fortunately, physical therapy is an effective treatment option for those who suffer from arthritis. In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of physical therapy for arthritis sufferers and how it can help reduce pain and improve mobility. 

Arthritis, simply put, is joint inflammation. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, and swelling and can be caused by over 100 different conditions. It’s not uncommon for people with arthritis to have stiff joints simply because they avoid movements that increase pain. However, by not moving arthritic joints, the stiffness and pain will only get worse. Therefore, people with arthritis tend to benefit greatly from physical therapy. Learn how to treat arthritis with physical therapy below!

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What is the goal of physical therapy?

The goal of physical therapy is to restore movement so you can move better, and so you can live better.

Physical therapists design an individualized treatment plan to preserve the strength and use of your joints to ultimately increase your range of motion in your joints. If you have arthritis, there are many benefits to participating in your trusted physical therapist’s customized care plan for you. You will

Arthritis is a progressive, chronic disease. Therefore, time is of the essence. Avoiding action or pushing through can lead to further damage.

The benefits of physical therapy for arthritis

Physical therapy provides a variety of benefits for arthritis sufferers, including improved flexibility and range of motion. A physical therapist will assess your individual needs and create a personalized plan to strengthen your muscles and joints in order to reduce pain and increase mobility. This plan may include exercises such as stretching, aerobic conditioning, muscle strengthening, balance training, and even massage. 

In addition to providing relief from pain, physical therapy also helps to prevent further damage to your joints from overuse or injury. Physical therapists are experts in identifying areas of weakness or instability that may be causing pain or impairing movement. They can provide guidance on how to properly perform activities without aggravating existing conditions or injuring yourself further.

Another benefit of physical therapy is that it can help you learn how to manage daily activities with less risk of injury or aggravation. A physical therapist can teach you proper body mechanics so you can move more efficiently while still protecting your joints from further damage. They may also suggest lifestyle modifications such as ergonomic equipment or dietary changes that could alleviate some symptoms associated with arthritis. 

How to prepare for your consultation

In order to treat your arthritis with physical therapy, consider a consultation with a few of the physical therapists you have researched.

The initial consultation is where you can express your pain levels, challenges, and symptoms of your condition. Once your trusted physical therapist understands your condition, he or she will run a series of tests to better understand your body’s condition. This examination often includes

Always wear comfortable, stretchy clothes even to your initial consultation, in case there’s time to start some exercises. At Desert Edge Physical Therapy, we have cubbies you can keep your belongings and we recommend to bring your own water bottle if needed.

After the evaluation, your physical therapist will share the treatment plan with you. A great physical therapist is completely transparent and willing to alter things as needed for you and your body.

To schedule a consultation with Mike King from Desert Edge Physical Therapy, click here!

After your consultation

Now that you’ve found a physical therapist you’re comfortable with and who understands your condition, it’s time to get to work. If there’s time, your physical therapist may start some exercises right after your initial consultation.

Sessions may be recommended to be done one to three times a week on top of some simpler at-home exercises. This depends on your current level of pain and mobility. It’s important to note that regular use of physical therapy ensures the best results. Don’t forget why you’re doing this – physical therapy can be frustrating, uncomfortable, even boring sometimes. A great physical therapist will keep track of goals and check-in with you regarding progress.

Learn more about what to expect here.

Why exercise is vital

Exercise is crucial for people with arthritis. While the thought of pushing your pain and stiffness limits may seem overwhelming, you don’t have to run a marathon or swim a few miles to achieve your goals. Even moderate exercise can reduce your arthritis symptoms.

To treat arthritis with physical therapy can strengthen the muscles around your joints, decreasing joint pain and stiffness. Exercise has shown to increase energy and improve balance, as well as improve sleep habits and control your weight. Keeping your muscles and surrounding tissue strong is essential for maintaining the support needed for your bones.

In addition, strength training doesn’t always mean lifting weights. There are exercises you can do that don’t involve pumping iron. Your physical therapist will provide you with everything you need that helps you to feel comfortable.

How to protect your joints

If you haven’t been active in a while, start slowly. Pushing yourself too hard too fast can worsen your joint pain. Keep impact low, like stationary bicycles, ellipticals, or exercises in the water to keep joint stress low.

Additionally, before you exercise, always move your joints slowly to warm up and take care of your joints after. This may include heat treatments such as warm towels or hot packs for about 20 minutes. If you notice swelling or redness in your joints, ice afterward for up to 20 minutes after activity.

All in all, trust your instincts. Take it easy and slowly increase your exercise intensity as you progress. If you’re ever unsure, you can discuss your symptoms and concerns with your physical therapist.

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Treat Arthritis with Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is an effective treatment option for those who suffer from arthritis pain and stiffness. It offers many benefits including improved flexibility and range of motion, prevention against further damage to joints due to overuse or injury, as well as instruction on how to manage daily activities with less risk of injury or aggravation. If you are experiencing joint pain and stiffness due to arthritis, consider seeing a physical therapist for an assessment today!

Everyone is unique, therefore every treatment will be unique. If you’re ready to take control of your arthritic pain, set up a consultation with Mike King today! If you’re still unsure, Desert Edge Physical Therapy offers a free 20-minute discovery session to answer all questions and concerns.

We’re excited to work with you! Our goal is to help you move better, so you can live better.

published on Thursday, November 10th, 2022