Arthritis, a common condition that affects 52.5 million people in the United States, is characterized by pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. It is a degenerative disease that can affect a single joint or multiple joints. If your mother or older ones from your home have arthritis, you can opt for physical therapy, which is the best treatment for arthritis pain relief in salt lake city UT.
Before proceeding to the physical therapy treatments that promote arthritis pain relief, you must understand this disease, its causes, and its symptoms. This understanding would assist you in helping your loved ones reduce symptoms and prevent future recurrence of pain.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that can affect people of all ages but is more common in older people. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common types of arthritis, even though hundred different types of arthritis prevail with different causes.
Osteoarthritis is caused by the wear and tear of the cartilage, a flexible connective tissue made of cushion-like substance, and reduces friction between the bones. The process of wear down of cartilage can occur gradually and worsens over time, leading to pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. This condition primarily affects the joints in the hands, neck, lower back, hips, and knees.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy tissues resulting in inflammation in the affected parts. The inflammation causes pain, swelling, and stiffness, making it difficult to move the joints. People may get affected by swollen joints, fever, fatigue, and appetite loss when they are affected by rheumatoid arthritis.
The most common symptoms of arthritis include
- Swelling, pain, and stiffness in the joints
- Tenderness when touching a joint
- Difficult to move the joints
- Redness in the joints
- Muscle weakness
- Morning stiffness
Risk Factors of Arthritis
- People with a family history of arthritis can also get the same problem as it is found that arthritis runs in the family genes.
- Women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis when compared to men.
- The risk of getting arthritis also increases with age.
- Overweight individuals and obese people put extra stress on their hip and knee joints leading to arthritis.
How Physical Therapy Helps with Arthritis Pain Relief
Physical therapy helps arthritis patients to get moving safely. Physical therapists analyze their patients and provide them with a specialized treatment plan. They help their patients with exercises and other physical therapy modalities along with education on some lifestyle changes to prevent the recurrence of arthritis pain.
1) Therapeutic Exercises
Physical therapists prefer therapeutic exercises as their primary treatment to curb the pain and swelling caused by arthritis in the joints. They find the affected areas where the joints are deteriorated and train the patients with strengthening exercises to improve stability in their joints. These exercises strengthen the muscles around the joints and improve joint flexibility.
Range of motion exercises relieve stiffness in the joints and increase the patients’ ability to move joints without pain. Some of these exercises may include raising the arms over the head or rolling the shoulders forward and backward.
Low impact aerobic exercises help with overall physical fitness by improving blood circulation and removing waste products from the body. Exercises like walking, cycling, swimming, yoga, tai chi enhance cardiovascular health and help control weight, which is one of the primary causes of osteoarthritis in the knee.
2) Massage Therapy
Physical therapists perform massage therapy by applying varying pressure using their hands and fingers to manipulate the soft tissues. To help relieve arthritis pain, physical therapists may prefer deep tissue massage, trigger point massage, myofascial release, and other techniques. Massage therapy induces relaxation in patients, relieves muscle tension, and reduces arthritis pain.
3) Aquatic Therapy
Aquatic therapy is one of the best physical therapy treatments for arthritis patients as it promotes arthritis pain relief. Especially overweight individuals find it easy to perform exercises in water which they feel difficult to carry out on land.
Water’s physical properties lift their weight, make the body float and minimize pain, strengthen and condition the muscles, and reduce the risk of injury. Aquatic therapy exercises improve the normal range of motion in arthritis patients and promote relaxation.
4) Other physical therapy treatments that promote arthritis pain relief include heat or cold therapy, ultrasound therapy, and acupuncture.
Other Treatments for Arthritis Pain Relief
You can help your loved ones get rid of arthritis pain with these simple treatments that can be carried out from the comfort of your home.
1) Apply heat packs over the affected joints for 15 minutes daily to increase blood flow to that area. It reduces pain and brings more nutrients and oxygen to the affected joints. Taking a warm shower in the morning can also reduce morning stiffness. Applying ice packs over the affected joints can reduce swelling and inflammation, promoting arthritis pain relief.
2) Managing your weight is crucial as being overweight can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis. Follow a healthy diet, stay active, and reduce weight to ease excess pressure on the hip and knee joints. Reducing weight eventually relieves muscle stiffness and promotes arthritis pain relief.
3) Buy a TENS machine from an online store or your nearby pharmacy and get guidance from your therapist to use the device safely and correctly. TENS therapy is the process of sending low-voltage electric impulses through electrodes adhered to the patients’ body to provide immediate pain relief. The electric current blocks the pain signals to the brain and improves endorphins in the body.
4) Use braces to support your joints while performing exercises and protect them from further injury.
Arthritis pain can be controlled with physical therapy and by following the correct measures consistently. When you take care of your health by reducing weight and following a proper diet, you can relieve arthritis pain.