Did you know that there are over 100 types of arthritis? They’re all characterized by joint inflammation and pain, but one of the most common types is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition caused by natural wear and tear on your joints. Whether you’re dealing with a stiff knee or an achy hip, there’s no denying that arthritis can take a serious toll on your mobility.
Here at International Spine Pain & Performance Center, our team of providers wants to help you manage joint pain and improve your mobility. We take a multidisciplinary approach to managing joint pain, which is why we often combine physical therapy with other treatments to relieve joint pain.
Below, we zero in on the importance of physical therapy in your arthritis management plan.
Defining physical therapy
Before we take a closer look at how physical therapy can help with arthritis, let’s first look at what physical therapy is and what it’s not.
Physical therapy is a rehabilitative treatment that consists of many different treatments and modalities designed to alleviate pain, improve your range of motion, and improve your mobility.
Under the umbrella of physical therapy, you may receive treatments (e.g., massage or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) treatments). Our team also teaches you active and passive exercises and stretches.
How physical therapy supports your joints
Each physical therapy plan is customized to meet your needs and addresses your specific symptoms. Physical therapy supports your joints differently depending on which treatment you receive.
Manual physical therapy techniques
Manual physical therapy techniques include massage and joint mobilizations. This type of physical therapy helps alleviate arthritis symptoms by:
- Improving joint alignment
- Reducing swelling and stiffness
- Breaking up painful adhesions
In particular, massage helps reduce arthritis pain by improving circulation and reducing inflammation. According to the Arthritis Foundation, there is a multitude of studies demonstrating the positive effects of massage for hand, knee, and spinal arthritis.
Balance and coordination exercises
Some physical therapy exercises focus on improving balance and coordination. These exercises reduce the risk of falls, which could otherwise exacerbate your joint pain. This is especially beneficial if joint pain in your ankle or knee makes you feel unstable on your feet.
Therapeutic exercises and treatments
The term “therapeutic exercises” refers to exercises designed to correct impairments, restore musculoskeletal function, and maintain or improve your quality of life. These exercises promote tissue healing, improve strength, and improve overall joint function.
Here at International Spine Pain & Performance Center, we also offer treatments, including hydrotherapy and TENS therapy.
Devices and other assistive tools
During your physical therapy session, our team may recommend devices and assistive tools to help alleviate pressure on your joints. This includes custom braces, splints, canes, and hand exercise devices. This aspect of physical therapy can help you manage arthritis by helping you perform daily tasks, such as buttoning a shirt or walking, that is made more difficult by joint inflammation.
Our team also suggests appropriate environmental modifications, such as using an ergonomic chair at work or how to adjust your posture to better suit your joints. We can also guide when to use hot therapy and cold therapy for arthritic joints.
Explore the possibilities with physical therapy
Whether you’re dealing with osteoarthritis in your knee, ankle, or wrist, our team of pain management specialists is ready to help you find relief through an individualized physical therapy plan.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment in our Arlington, Virginia, or Washington D.C office, call us at 202-851-7034.