Everyone is talking about the benefits of physical therapy for arthritis that can reduce pain and stiffness in the joints. At North Boulder Physical Therapy, our staff can work with you and your doctor to develop a plan to treat arthritis with physical therapy.
Common arthritis symptoms of pain and stiffness are usually caused by degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis). There are more than a hundred types of arthritis, so a complete diagnosis will be the most helpful in developing a physical therapy treatment plan for arthritis. For joint health, the more you move, the less stiffness you’ll have. So no matter what you are doing, change positions often and take breaks for activity if you are sitting.
Occupational therapy can also help people with arthritis as well. It can help them learn how to reduce joint strain as they go about their daily lives. It teaches them to reduce motions that make arthritis worse and it offers splints for their hands and wrists and other assistive devices to help them with other activities like driving, caring for themselves and their home, and during work. Some devices that help with self-care might include a bath stool for use in the shower or tub, grab bars around the toilet or tub, and long-handled shoehorns or sock grippers.
Arthritis brings stiff joints, often because people with arthritis avoid movements that can bring them discomfort. But by not moving the joints, the stiffness and pain actually get worse. One of the benefits of physical therapy for arthritis is that it helps reduce stiffness without damaging the joint. This type of therapy is also beneficial if you’ve had an injury from a fall or had joint surgery. The purpose of physical therapy is to get you back to living your everyday life without difficulty and pain.
One of our goals is to keep and improve your range of motion so you can perform your daily activities. We help you build strength in the muscles around the joint which also stabilizes it. We do this through exercise and teaching you the best way to move and how to use crutches, a walker, and a cane if needed. If you can improve your flexibility it will help you move better.
Try to stretch every day but at least three times a week, it will help your flexibility. Try to avoid stretching if your muscles are cold. Instead do a little bit of warming up, like walking to loosen up the joints, ligaments, and tendons around them. The best type of activities are ones that don’t impact your joints. Try walking, bicycling, swimming, and strength training. Improving your strength will give your joints better support. One caution is to try to avoid quick, repetitive movements. If you can develop stronger abs and back muscles, it will improve your balance. This will help avoid falls and injuries.
By coming to North Boulder Physical Therapy, the benefits of physical therapy for arthritis include:
- Education about your type of arthritis
- Advice on foot-care, including information on well-fitting shoes with shock-absorbing outer soles and custom orthotics molded exactly to the contour of each foot
- Therapeutic methods that reduce pain and improve performance using physical techniques and activity modifications
Our therapists will teach you techniques, including:
- Resting reduces the joint inflammation and pain, custom splints can be used to rest and support inflamed joints, and a soft collar can support the neck while you are sitting or standing
- Thermal modalities to relieve arthritis pain and relax muscle spasms involving ice packs, heating pads, deep heat through ultrasound, and hot packs
- Daily exercises to treat arthritis and joint replacement surgery
Ways to reduce the stress on joints include:
- Watching your weight to avoid stress on weight-bearing joints
- Using good posture to protect your back and the joints of your legs and feet
- Sitting instead of standing to do a job
- Changing your position often
- Taking rest periods
- Avoiding activities that put direct strain on painful or stiff joints
- Using special techniques for getting in and out of a car, chair or tub, and lifting objects
- Using the strongest joints and muscles to keep the stress off he smaller joints
- Distributing pressure to minimize stress on a joint
- Avoid tight gripping, pinching, squeezing, and twisting, if your hands are affected by arthritis
- Using assistive devices which can make activities easier and less stressful for the joints and muscles
The benefits of physical therapy for arthritis help you reduce your pain and stiffness from arthritis. Our therapists at North Boulder Physical Therapy in Boulder can show you how to get your life back through physical therapy. Why not begin today?
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