If you have a joint problem, you may be looking for an arthritis specialist in Visalia. If so, chances are we can help and you should try conservative care first.
Any form of arthritis can be a serious burden for those who suffer from it. People with arthritis usually have stiff joints and avoid movements that increase pain. While this avoidance may sound like the most logical way to cope with the pain, it actually makes matters worse.
By not moving arthritic joints, the pain and stiffness only grow more intense, which can lead to a vicious and painful cycle over time. Unfortunately, many people living with arthritis struggle to maintain physical well being due to the fear of pain, with one study suggesting that 37% of all arthritis patients are classified as inactive.
Since there is no cure for arthritis, the focus of treatment is instead on disease management. In addition to regular physical activity, there has been a significant amount of recent research to support the use of physical therapy as an effective way to manage the condition. Physical therapy can help by teaching patients with arthritis and stiffness how to move without further damaging joints, with the goal of being able to perform and maintain normal everyday activities without difficulty.
The primary goal of physical therapy is to increase range of motion (ROM) by a series of careful strategies that are individualized for each patient depending on their needs and abilities. Most importantly, physical therapy has been found to be beneficial for all patients with arthritis, regardless of their age or the type of arthritis they have, whether that’s rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA), or one of its many other forms.
Treatment plans for arthritis will vary from patient to patient, but most will consist of the following:
- The physical therapist will work with you to identify activities that are most painful and create solutions such as prescribing assistive devices for daily living
- Improve your body mechanics—how your body moves—and posture, which may often lead to pain if not done properly
- The therapist will likely perform manual techniques that will stretch and move joints in such a way that will lead to more overall ROM
- An aerobic exercise program—with your limitations in mind—may also be prescribed, which will increase flexibility and strengthen bones
To highlight just how effective physical therapy can be for arthritis, a powerful review analyzed the findings of 17 studies, all of which evaluated the use of strength exercise—also known as resistance exercise—on patients with knee OA. The conclusion states:
Resistance exercise is beneficial in terms of reducing pain, alleviating stiffness, and improving physical function in patients with knee OA.
Resistance exercises are one of the many interventions used by physical therapists for these patients, as they can help build back weak muscles to improve functionality.
So if you are dealing with arthritis and feel that it’s holding you back from living your life, we strongly recommend seeing one of our physical therapist first and fast. They have considerable experience dealing with arthritic joint conditions.