More than one in five adults in the United States live with arthritis, and over 40% of people with the chronic disease have mobility challenges as a result. That makes sense, given how severe arthritis symptoms, such as joint stiffness and pain, can become — especially without treatment.
May is Arthritis Awareness Month, making it the perfect time to ensure your joint needs are being met.
Our expert team of medical providers at Arundel Medical Group, Inc., located in Glen Burnie, Maryland, includes physical therapists who provide customized arthritis treatment plans to help you thrive.
Let’s delve into these common joint issues, including ways physical therapy (PT) can help.
How arthritis affects your joints and wellbeing
There are more than 100 types of arthritis, all of which impact your joints. Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common, damages your joints as a result of “wear-and-tear” over time. From years of overuse and sometimes following an injury, OA weakens the bones in your joints and the connective tissues that hold them together. Meanwhile, inflammation damages the joints’ lining.
All types of arthritis can make it difficult to use the affected joints due to ongoing pain, swelling, and stiffness. About 80% of people with arthritis also struggle to sleep well because of their symptoms. Your moods, ability to stay active, and overall health can suffer as well.
How physical therapy helps arthritis
A range of treatments can help reduce arthritis symptoms and slow its progression. In many cases, a combination of treatments, such as lifestyle changes, medication, and physical therapy, bring optimal results.
Physical therapy provides a useful non-medication form of care whether it serves as your primary treatment or an addition to your current plan.
Benefits of PT for arthritis include:
- Decreased joint inflammation
- Increased flexibility
- Increased range of motion
- Improved mobility
- Improved muscle strength
- Reduced joint pain and stiffness
These benefits may also make low-impact exercise more feasible, which can further reduce arthritis pain over time. In other words, PT can improve or maintain your overall fitness while reducing your risk of pain and related injuries.
What to expect during PT for arthritis
Each physical therapy plan is unique and based on your specific needs and treatment goals. Once your physical therapist creates an initial plan, we’ll guide you through particular exercises. You’ll also learn exercises to perform at home.
Your physical therapist can also:
- Teach you proper body mechanics and posture for your daily activities
- Teach you how to use an assistive device, such as a cane or walker
- Recommend changes in your home or workplace, such as the addition of ergonomic furniture or floor mats
While most people don’t require weekly sessions, you might see your physical therapist every 1-2 weeks initially or once every month or two, depending on your overall health and preferences. Follow your provided plan at home to make the most of your treatment.
To learn more about physical therapy for joint stiffness, pain, and mobility challenges or get the care you need, call our office or request an appointment via this website today.