Living with arthritis can make everyday activities feel like monumental tasks due to pain and swelling in the joints, coupled with being unable to predict when you might have a bad day. Here, our Nepean physical therapists discuss how physiotherapy can play an important role in arthritis treatment and pain management.
If you or a loved one lives with arthritis, you're probably familiar with the symptoms of joint pain, swelling and physical weakness that often plague sufferers. You may also feel exhausted much of the time if you have trouble sleeping.
Another complication is that in addition to impacting your daily life and well-being, these symptoms can be difficult to predict day-to-day; you may feel better one day and worse the next.
Completing everyday chores such as cooking and cleaning, enjoying exercise, recreational activities and hobbies and even brushing your hair can feel like a monumental task depending on the level of pain and inflammation you're experiencing that day.
While arthritis is more common among adults aged 65 or older, people of all ages (including children) can be affected. That said, physiotherapy and other treatments can help sufferers manage symptoms and stay as active as possible.
Today, we'll discuss arthritis and explain how physiotherapy at our clinic in Nepean can help.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis (which means "joint inflammation") refers to more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect joints. Tendons and ligaments surrounding the joint can also be impacted by inflammation. Symptoms may develop gradually or suddenly.
The two main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Joint cartilage — the hard, slick coating on the ends of bones where they form a joint. Healthy cartilage acts as a cushion to the ends of the bones and allows the joints to function almost without friction. However, if this cartilage becomes damaged, bones can grind together, which causes wear and tear over many years that can lead to pain and restricted movement. A joint injury or infection can also mean that wear and tear progress more rapidly.
Osteoarthritis also causes connective tissues, which attach muscle to bone and hold the joint together, to deteriorate. Bone structure can also change. If severe damage to joint cartilage occurs, the lining of the joint can become swollen and inflamed.
The lining of the joint capsule is a tough membrane that surrounds all the parts of the joint. In people suffering with rheumatoid arthritis, the body's immune system attacks this lining (the synovial membrane), which swells and becomes inflamed. The disease can eventually progress to destroy bone and cartilage within the joint.
How can physiotherapy treatment help with arthritis?
For most people who have arthritis, physiotherapy plays an integral role in treatment. A physiotherapist can conduct a thorough assessment to determine how arthritis is affecting your functioning and mobility, then create an individualized treatment plan to help get you moving safely and effectively, and protect your joints.
A physiotherapist can:
- Help you manage your condition
- Offer reassurance and advice on pain management techniques, avoiding exercise-related injuries and more
- Address any questions or concerns
- Assist you in setting attainable goals to help you find the right balance between rest and activity
Depending on the results of our assessment, we may recommend the appropriate treatments to help ease symptoms and make daily life more manageable:
- Acupuncture & Dry Needling for osteoarthritis
- Chiroprody & Custom Orthotics
- Massage Therapy
What are the benefits of physiotherapy for arthritis sufferers?
Physiotherapists provide education and advice on preventing, treating and managing pain. They can also help you improve your mobility and quality of life by:
- Helping you regain movement in your joints
- Strengthening muscles
- Relieving pain
- Reducing inflammation
The team at Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre looks forward to working with you. Your physiotherapist can develop an exercise and treatment plan specific to your needs. This plan may also include general daily activities that are enjoyable for you, such as walking, to help you remain active and independent as you manage this life-changing condition.
Do you need help addressing pain, inflammation and other symptoms of arthritis?
We can help develop a treatment and exercise plan to help you recover.
Welcome to the Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre blog, where we provide lots of helpful tips, news, information and advice about physiotherapy and massage treatments, as well as general health and wellness, in Nepean and Ottawa.