Have you been diagnosed with arthritis? If so, you know how debilitating it can be. Arthritis is a joint disorder that causes them to become inflamed, and it affects millions of people every year. In fact, it is the most commonly reported chronic illness across the nation. When the joints become inflamed, it can lead to pain, stiffness, and lack of mobility. There are over 100 different types of arthritis that can be split into two categories: monoarthritis (where only one joint is affected) and oligoarthritis (where multiple joints are affected.) The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, which develops from “wear and tear” of cartilage, and rheumatoid arthritis, which develops from overactive immune systems.
It is no secret that arthritis can greatly limit one’s life. In fact, some people become so affected by arthritis that they are unable to work and are forced to go on disability. If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, or you think you may be experiencing arthritic symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact us today and schedule a consultation. We’ll help get you started on the best treatment plan for your needs, equipped with the safest, healthiest, and most effective methods of treatment for arthritis pains.
I think I might have arthritis… what should I do?
First and foremost, if you believe you may be suffering from arthritis, you should contact your primary care provider. He or she will provide a thorough evaluation, looking for signs of disease, such as inflammation and/or deformity. They will review your symptoms, and may administer any blood tests, urine tests, joint fluid tests, or x-rays as they deem necessary. If you are diagnosed with arthritis after these tests, your doctor will create a treatment plan for you, in relation to the location and severity of the condition. This treatment plan may include rest, exercise routines, and medications as necessary.
It is very likely that you will also be referred to a physical therapist to help guide you through your exercise routines, in order to measure progress and make sure that you are completing your physical activity in a safe and correct manner. Early diagnosis can be helpful in avoiding joint damage and disability, so it is imperative that you contact a doctor as soon as you think you may be developing arthritic symptoms.
Unfortunately, there is not a known cure for arthritis yet. However, there are several ways to help manage the pains of arthritis, and in some cases, you may even be able to eliminate it altogether. Physical therapy is a proven aid in arthritic pain relief, without the use of harmful pain-management drugs. According to the Arthritis Center at Johns Hopkins,
“Physical activity is essential to optimizing both physical and mental health and can play a vital role in the management of arthritis. Regular physical activity can keep the muscles around affected joints strong, decrease bone loss and may help control joint swelling and pain. Regular activity replenishes lubrication to the cartilage of the joint and reduces stiffness and pain. Exercise also helps to enhance energy and stamina by decreasing fatigue and improving sleep. Exercise can enhance weight loss and promote long-term weight management in those with arthritis who are overweight.”
After your initial evaluation, your physical therapist will design an individualized treatment plan around your specific needs. This will aid in the improvement of your strength, range of motion, and mobility. Your treatment plan will focus on the affected area(s) of your body, in addition to any other areas that may be contributing to the pain you are feeling.
Treatment plans will likely consist of manual therapy treatments and targeted exercises, in order to improve joint and soft tissue mobilization. Additional treatment methods may be added as your physical therapist deems fit, including deep tissue massage, ice and heat therapies, electrical nerve stimulation, or ultrasound. These all work to reduce pain and inflammation, in addition to increasing blood flow and mobility.
If you are suffering from arthritis pains, don’t wait any longer – find help today. We will help you get your life back on track.