Anyone living with arthritis knows how debilitating it can be. Arthritis is the most commonly reported chronic illness across the nation, impacting millions of people. Arthritis occurs when joints become chronically inflamed, resulting in pain, stiffness, and even loss of movement. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, and they can all be split into two categories: monoarthritis (where only one joint is affected) and oligoarthritis (where multiple joints are affected.) The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which develops from “wear and tear” of cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis is in a close second, which develops from overactive immune systems.
It is no secret that arthritis can create limits on several parts of your life – from work, to hobbies, to overall mobility. In fact, some people are so affected by arthritis that they are unable to work and have to go on disability. If the chronic pain of arthritis is limiting your life, contact James River Physical Therapy today to schedule a consultation. Physical therapy is a safe, healthy, and effective way to treat arthritic pain. We can help get you started on the path toward long-lasting pain relief in no time!
If you believe you may be suffering from arthritis, the first thing you should do is contact your primary care provider. You will go through a physical evaluation process where your doctor will look for signs of disease, such as chronic inflammation and/or deformities. Your doctor may also decide to run a series of diagnostic tests as deemed necessary, including x-rays, blood tests, joint fluid tests, or urine tests. If your diagnosis points to arthritis, your doctor will create a treatment plan for you, based on the location of symptoms and severity of your condition. This treatment plan may include rest, exercise routines, and medications as necessary.
You will most likely also be referred to a physical therapist for a large portion of your treatment plan. A physical therapist will help guide you through your exercise routines, in order to measure your progress and make sure that you are completing your targeted exercises in a safe and proper manner.
If you suspect you may have arthritic symptoms, it is in your best interest to consult with your primary physician as soon as possible. Early diagnosis is imperative, as it can help you avoid joint damage and disability.
Finding relief with physical therapy:
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for arthritis. However, there are plenty of ways to manage the pain and additional symptoms you may experience with it. Physical therapy is a non-invasive, natural, and effective aid in arthritic pain relief. In many cases, physical therapy has even been known to eliminate the need to rely on harmful pain medication or undergo surgical correction. According to the Arthritis Center at Johns Hopkins,
“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.”
When you are referred to a physical therapist for arthritis, you will receive an individualized treatment plan based on your specific needs. These plans will focus on relieving your pain and increasing your strength, range of motion, and mobility. The affected area(s) will be the main targets, as well as any surrounding areas that may be contributing to your pain.
Manual therapy will likely be part of your treatment plan, in order to improve joint and soft tissue mobilization. Other treatments may also be incorporated as deemed necessary, including deep tissue massage, ice and heat therapies, or electrical nerve stimulation. All of these treatments are passive modalities that work to reduce pain and inflammation, in addition to increasing blood flow and mobility.
If you are suffering from arthritic pain, contact us today to learn more about the numerous ways you can benefit from physical therapy. We are dedicated to helping you get your life back on track, and our licensed physical therapists will provide you with the resources needed to do so. Contact our Richmond office today to get started on your journey toward long-lasting relief!