Can Physiotherapy Help Arthritis? Everything You Need to Know

 Physiotherapy in London

Are you or a loved one grappling with the challenges of arthritis? If so, you’re certainly not alone. Arthritis affects millions worldwide, causing pain, stiffness, and limitations in mobility. But there’s something that can help: physiotherapy. 

Can physiotherapy help arthritis? In this comprehensive guide, we take a closer look at arthritic conditions and uncover how physiotherapy can manage symptoms and improve quality of life. From understanding the details of arthritis and osteoarthritis to exploring the potential of physiotherapy interventions, our physiotherapists have written this article to help you take charge of your arthritis journey. 

P.S. You can learn more about how physiotherapy can pave the path to a more active, pain-free life in our Complete Guide to Physio!

Understanding Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition characterised by inflammation of the joints, resulting in pain, swelling, and stiffness. With arthritis, you might find that your joint mobility is severely limited, meaning you cannot carry out your usual daily tasks. It typically affects various areas of the body, including the ankles, knees, hips, wrists, elbows, shoulders and spine. 

There are over a hundred types of arthritis that you can get diagnosed with a qualified physiotherapist. Some of the most common types of arthritis we see in our London physio clinic include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Gout
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis

But what’s actually happening to the body when you have arthritis?

During arthritis, the joints undergo degenerative changes and inflammation. Cartilage, the smooth tissue covering the ends of your bones, breaks down, leading to friction between bones during movement. This deterioration causes pain, swelling, and reduced range of motion. 

arthritis joint anatomy diagram Physiotherapy in London

Inflammation in the joint lining, called the synovium, makes symptoms worse, further compromising your joint function and mobility. As arthritis progresses, bone spurs may develop, which can lead to joint deformities and even worse discomfort.

Arthritis vs Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is a broad term that covers various conditions that cause joint inflammation and stiffness. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, specifically refers to a degenerative joint disease that occurs with age and wear and tear. 

Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the bones gradually wears down over time, leading to pain, swelling, and reduced mobility. This usually happens in older adults. Other forms of arthritis can impact patients of any age, especially if they are associated with autoimmune or systemic inflammation.

Not sure if you have osteoarthritis or another form of arthritis? Fear not. A quick consultation with a physiotherapist can help you understand what’s wrong and where to go next.

What Physiotherapy is Good for Arthritis?

For arthritis, physiotherapy helps you find a treatment plan that works for your unique case of arthritis, whether it’s in your hands, knees, or widespread. There are many different types of physiotherapy, but for arthritis, we primarily use musculoskeletal physiotherapy – this addresses the muscles, bones, joints and connective tissues.

Through targeted exercises, manual therapy techniques, and education, our musculoskeletal physiotherapists help alleviate pain, improve joint function, and enhance overall mobility. 

Additionally, we might recommend other modalities, such as heat therapy, cold therapy, and ultrasound, to complement our clinic treatments. By addressing both your symptoms and the underlying factors causing your arthritis, our physiotherapy treatments help you better manage the condition and enjoy a better quality of life.

What Happens When You See a Physiotherapist for Arthritis

When you visit a physiotherapist for arthritis, the journey begins with an assessment and diagnosis. Licensed and registered physiotherapists in the UK are trained to evaluate your condition, understand your symptoms, and identify underlying factors to make a diagnosis – you don’t have to rely on your GP! This initial step is crucial for creating a treatment plan that meets your specific needs and goals.

Once the assessment is complete, your physiotherapist will help you develop a personalised treatment strategy. This may involve a combination of in-clinic sessions and at-home exercises designed to improve joint mobility, strengthen muscles, and reduce pain. Don’t worry if this is totally new to you – the physiotherapist will guide you through each step, providing support and expertise along the way.

At One Body, we have a strong team of physiotherapists who specialise in joint conditions, including arthritis. With their expertise and dedication, we can help you manage your arthritis symptoms and improve your overall quality of life. Whether you require hands-on therapy, exercise prescription, or lifestyle advice, we are here to support you every step of the way.

Physiotherapy Exercises

Exercise is part of the treatment for numerous types of arthritis. Some prescribed light exercises can improve joint flexibility, strengthen muscles to support affected joints, and reduce pain and stiffness. 

After assessing you, we might recommend a variety of exercises for your specific condition and goals. These may include:

  • Range of motion exercises: gentle movements to improve your flexibility and reduce stiffness.
  • Strengthening exercises: targeted exercises to build muscle strength around the affected joints, providing added support.
  • Aerobic exercises: low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, or cycling to improve your overall cardiovascular health and endurance.
  • Balance and proprioception exercises: movements to work on your balance and coordination, reducing the risk of falls and injury.

Your physiotherapist will adapt these exercises to your ability levels and make sure you are correctly exercising and using the proper form. Once you know how to exercise, consistency is the key!

showing how can physiotherapy help arthritis through strengthening exercises Physiotherapy in London

How Physiotherapy Helps in Osteoarthritis

Can physiotherapy help arthritis conditions like osteoarthritis?

As a degenerative condition, osteoarthritis will continue to worsen with age and wear. To help you manage the symptoms and maintain good joint health for as long as possible, we will focus on joint mobility and manual therapy techniques to reduce pain. We also like to address biomechanical imbalances and provide strategies to help you manage daily activities more effectively.

The ultimate goal of physio for osteoarthritis is to help you stay independent for as long as possible.

Physiotherapy for Arthritis at One Body

If you’re seeking expert care for arthritis, look no further than One Body. Our state-of-the-art London clinics are the perfect place to put your mind at ease with thorough assessments and treatments tailored to your needs. 

Our highly educated and experienced physiotherapists (you can browse all team members at One Body!) specialise in arthritic conditions, providing personalised care to improve your quality of life. Plus, we accept all forms of private health insurance, making access to our services hassle-free. 

Take the first step towards relief and book your physiotherapy appointment today.

FAQs

Is physiotherapy good for arthritis?

Yes, physiotherapy can be highly beneficial for managing arthritis symptoms and improving joint function. It is available on the NHS and privately for arthritis.

Can physiotherapy help osteoarthritis?

Absolutely, physiotherapy can play a crucial role in managing the symptoms of osteoarthritis and improving overall joint health.

What is the fastest way to relieve arthritis pain?

Most people find relief from arthritic pain through a combination of medications, gentle exercise, hot and cold therapy, and lifestyle modifications. For instant relief, medications and gentle manual therapy from a licensed physiotherapist are ideal.

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