Are there times when you feel discomfort in your joints while doing your daily tasks? Do you experience stiffness, redness, or even tenderness when sitting down and relaxing? If so, you’re likely dealing with arthritis.
But despite these discomforts and pain, there are ways to treat arthritis, and physiotherapy is one of the best solutions. Here we look at how it will help and what treatment options are available. Read on to find out more!
How Will Physiotherapy Help Arthritis?
While there isn’t any cure, physiotherapy can help manage the symptoms of arthritis that are related to daily activity and mobility. The exact treatment you’ll receive will depend on your individualised care plan and diagnosis.
The primary goal of physiotherapy with arthritis is to keep you mobile and improve your quality of life. This is done by decreasing joint stiffness, optimising joint movement range, and keeping your muscles strong.
Alongside this, you’ll also likely be recommended to increase your exercise. Exercise is important for managing weight, as keeping your weight down will also reduce the stress on your joints. Added to this, exercise can also release endorphins to improve your mood.
When you have arthritis, it’s important to stay active despite many people worrying it will cause more pain or damage to the joints. Being inactive will also increase stiffness while weakening the muscles surrounding your joints.
When undergoing physiotherapy, you will be asked about your current activities and the specific pain you’re experiencing. The physiotherapist will also check your joints to determine muscle strength and movement range.
Once an initial assessment has been completed, you will receive a tailored programme of exercises, treatments, and activities to meet your needs.
Arthritis and its Causes
Arthritis is the swelling or inflammation of the joints, and its symptoms include stiffness and pain, which worsens as you age. The most common forms are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
There are different types of arthritis, but the causes of some aren’t fully known. However, rheumatoid arthritis is due to a fault in your immune system, which influences the body to attack its joint tissues.
Aside from issues with the immune system, other causes of arthritis include metabolic conditions like gout, but mainly it’s due to the wear and tear that your joints receive over the years. This damage can be hastened by risk factors such as a previous leg injury or obesity.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types of arthritis:
This form of arthritis causes cartilage to break down and is considered wear-and-tear arthritis or degenerative joint disease.
It usually happens in your hips, hand, and knee joints. As the cartilage within the joint degenerates, the underlying bone starts being affected.
Rheumatoid arthritis is considered an autoimmune and inflammatory condition that attacks the joints.
It starts attacking the joint linings and healthy cells in the body, causing painful swelling on the affected parts. Compared to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis simultaneously attacks multiple joints.
This kind of arthritis is usually caused by infections and is challenging to diagnose. It can develop at any age, however, it is commonly seen in younger people. The swelling and pain it causes are triggered by infections from another part of your body, like the urinary tract or intestines.
It often targets the ankles, knees, and feet, while inflammation can also affect the skin, eyes, and urethra. Reactive arthritis can last a few weeks, but it can also last for up to six months.
There are a variety of physiotherapy treatments which will help relieve the pain you’re experiencing due to arthritis. We’ve made a list of the most common treatments used in physiotherapy, and we’ll see why these help with arthritis.
This type of treatment takes place in a special chamber filled with cold air. The liquid nitrogen does not directly spray onto the skin. Instead, it slowly fills the chamber until temperatures drop below freezing. This activates a healing response in your body and can reduce inflammation. This is a great whole-body treatment for arthritis.
Ultrasound frequencies offer a convenient way to target damaged tissues with the help of gentle beams. You can even buy your own device to enjoy this type of treatment from home, with ultrasound devices not being too expensive.
Like a mini massage, these ultrasound waves stimulate the tendons, ligaments, and fascia. Fortunately, the treatment can be utilised for those suffering from arthritis, muscle strain, and tendonitis.
Range of Motion Exercises
It’s important to keep moving when you have arthritis. This will stop your muscles from stiffening up and allow you to move more freely. As movement is important, your physiotherapist will most likely talk you through a series of exercises which you can also do at home.
When you frequently move the affected muscles and joints, muscle atrophy and other postural problems will be prevented. With the help of range of motion exercises, which include stretches and motion exercises, you can improve the flexibility of your joints and increase mobility.
Can Physiotherapy Cure Arthritis?
No, physiotherapy cannot entirely cure arthritis because there is still no cure for it. The goal of physiotherapy treatment is to reduce or alleviate pain and inflammation while preserving your joint functions.
Treatment options for physiotherapy include weight reduction, medications, exercise, as well as surgery. Simply put, physiotherapy helps reduce arthritis symptoms and prevents these from getting worse.
It can be disheartening to know that there isn’t a cure for physiotherapy. However, not doing anything will only make your pain worse and cause a more rapid progression of your symptoms. Physiotherapy can get you up and moving again.
Having arthritis is frustrating, but luckily, we have physiotherapy available to help reduce pains and problems caused by arthritis. Physiotherapy help arthritis with the best impacts on the symptoms of arthritis, allowing you to move better while improving your well-being.
To get the best results and to recover faster, continue doing your daily activities and exercise as much as you can. With regular appointments, you can work with your physiotherapist to ensure that arthritis has a minimal impact on your life.