When you can’t do the activities that you love to do because of arthritis, it can take its toll on your physical and mental health. Arthritis affects over 50 million adult men and women, and even children. More than 100 different types of arthritis exist, but the two that are found most frequently are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, the most common of all types of arthritis, is caused by overuse, wear, and tear on your joints that occurs over time. It affects women more than men and is more common in older adults. With osteoarthritis, the cartilage that acts as a cushion between your joint socket and joint bone wears away, causing your bones to rub against each other. Symptoms include pain, inflammation, stiffness, and swelling.
Rheumatoid arthritis, also called RA, is an autoimmune disorder. With RA, the body’s immune system attacks the body’s joints, causing them to swell and stiffen. Both types of arthritis can be painful and debilitating. Fortunately, physical therapy and other treatment options can help you reduce pain and increase mobility.
What is physical therapy?
Physical therapy is a type of healthcare practice where a specialist assesses your condition and develops an exercise and strengthening program to help you regain mobility, improve balance and flexibility, and decrease physical pain.
During a physical therapy session, Dr. Chad Mathey uses a variety of modalities to help you improve mobility, strengthen muscles supporting your joints, and also help improve balance. Physical therapy can also help prevent re-injury.
How physical therapy helps reduce arthritis symptoms
Physical therapy can help people with arthritis in many ways. Depending on your issues, a physical therapy session may include:
- Applying pressure to a joint to strengthen it
- Core-building exercises to maximize spinal support
- Mobilizing and repositioning your spine or joints
- Stretching exercises to increase flexibility
- Weightlifting for muscle strength and bone density
These practices help reduce arthritis symptoms such as stiffness, pain, and trouble getting around by strengthening the muscles surrounding your problem joint to relieve pressure, and getting your blood moving to help increase flexibility and movement.
The key is to take the exercises you learn in your physical therapy program and practice them regularly at home. Doing exercises once or twice a week during your physical therapy session is not enough to build strength. As you start to show improvement, Dr. Mathey may change up your exercise routine to further improve strength, flexibility, and balance.
For more information on how physical therapy can help improve mobility when you have arthritis, call Crown Medical Center, with offices in Huntsville, for an appointment, or request one through this website.