Arthritis & Pain: What is it and How to Live with It

“Arthritis” is not a single disease, but instead an informal way of referring to many types of joint disease and pain. Its hard to know the true number of individuals with arthritis since many don’t seek treatment until their symptoms become severe. However, recent studies say that as many as 91 million Americans suffer from arthritic changes.

There are different risk factors that increase your risk of developing arthritis over time. These include:

Gender: Females typically suffer from arthritis more.
Genetics: Arthritis can be linked to certain genetic components, making it more common within certain families.
Nutrition: Being sure to eat a diet full of calcium and vitamin D is important for bone and joint health.
Obesity: Individuals with extra weight, tend to wear down their joints quicker due to increase force.
Occupation: High manual labor jobs with repetitive movements take a toll on our joints

There are different types of arthritis, but the most common is osteoarthritis. This is a chronic condition that is caused by “wear and tear” of the cartilage. The breakdown of the cartilage in the joint can lead to pain, swelling, and problems moving the joint. There are many other types
of arthritis; including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematous, Sjorgen’s syndrome, and scleroderma, just to name a few.

No matter what type of arthritis you are suffering from, it is important to diagnosis early. Research shows that there is a “window of opportunity” and if we can catch the joint changes earlier, we can help preserve joint function & prevent other serious health problems.

So where do you go for help? Physical therapy is a great place to start! Physical therapy can help by increasing the strength surrounding the affected joint which will offload the arthritic area, helping decrease pain. Movement is also key with this condition, since movement and exercise help to increase the joint fluid, lubricating the joint and making range of motion easier.

Your treatment in Physical Therapy may include:

Pain relieving modalities (hot/cold pack, electrical stimulation, ultrasound)

  • Manual therapy
  • Trigger point dry needling
  • Cupping
  • Aquatic/pool therapy
  • Functional activities
  • Balance activities
  • Paraffin wax treatments

Jenna Woelfel, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Ramsey Physical Therapy

April 24th, 2019

Posted In: General

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