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Over 54 million people in the country have arthritis. That’s 23% of the adult population!
Without proper treatment, these patients could struggle to maintain their current quality of life. As a result, many people turn toward physiotherapy to help manage their arthritis.
What is physiotherapy treatment and how can it help you manage your arthritis? Keep reading to find out! In this guide, we’ll review everything you need to know about how physiotherapeutic treatment can help ease your painful inflammation and joint pain.
Start your search for relief with our guide on physiotherapy treatments.
What Is Physiotherapy?
First, let’s answer the question, “What is physiotherapy treatment?”
Physiotherapy is designed to help patients maintain an active, independent lifestyle, despite a painful condition. Physiotherapists are experts in assessing movement. They can help you discover how to protect your joints each time you move.
A licensed physiotherapy expert will also:
- Offer advice
- Provide reassurance throughout your treatment
- Address any uncertainties or concerns you might have
- Help you find confidence as you manage your condition
- Set goals to help you remain an active lifestyle
Physiotherapists are trained to diagnose and treat joint and muscle problems. With that in mind, your general physician might refer you to a physiotherapist for ongoing treatment. By visiting a physiotherapist, you can avoid orthopedic surgery to ease your arthritis.
During your consultation, your physiotherapist will ask you questions about your joint pain. A thorough assessment will help them develop a customized treatment to ease your arthritic pain.
Treatment can include:
- A range of therapeutic exercises
- General advice to help boost your activity levels
- Tips to help you avoid exercise-related injuries
- Pain relief treatments (including TENS machines, heat or ice packs, massages, manipulation, acupuncture, taping)
- Walking aids or splints to help you remain mobile and independent
The treatment plan will depend on the severity of your condition.
How Can Physiotherapy Help?
60% of people with inadequately treated rheumatoid arthritis are unable to work 10 years after onset. Their symptoms often include:
- Pain and stiffness
- Weight loss
- Rheumatoid nodules
Your local physiotherapist can help you understand how your body reacts to your arthritis. The better you understand your condition, the more likely you’ll learn how to manage your symptoms.
Now that you know a little more about physiotherapy, let’s review how physiotherapeutic treatment can help you manage your condition.
Manage Your Pain
Sometimes, arthritis causes pain in a particular part of the body, such as your hands and knees. In other cases, it’s more widespread, causing joint and muscle pain throughout your entire body.
Some medications can help ease your symptoms. However, how you move throughout the day can either add to your pain or provide relief.
A physiotherapist can provide you with additional methods of pain relief alongside your medications. You can even use many of their treatment suggestions at home.
For example, you can use ice packs to soothe your swollen, aching joints. If your muscles are tired or feeling tense, you can switch to heat packs instead.
You might also consider splinting your swollen or painful joints. This option is ideal if you’re experiencing a rheumatoid arthritis flare-up. Your physiotherapist might even provide temporary splints for you to try at first.
Many patients benefit from using a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device as well. A TENS machine is a small, electronic device. It sends pulses to your nerve ends, which can cause a tingling, soothing sensation.
This treatment works by blocking pain messages to your brain. Instead, the treatment is able to alter your perception of pain to reduce your symptoms.
Your physiotherapist will offer pain management suggestions based on your condition.
Overworking yourself throughout the day can cause as much pain as not doing enough. Your physiotherapist can review your daily routine to help advise you.
First, they’ll help you increase your activity level at a rate you can handle. They’ll also help you find the right balance of rest to give your body time to repair itself.
Planning your activity level ahead of time can help you avoid experiencing more pain in the future.
Exercise and Relaxing Treatment Options
Your physiotherapy treatment might also involve graded exercise. You’ll start slowly before increasing your activity in small, gradual steps. Gradual exercise can help strengthen your muscles and joints while simultaneously helping you develop a fitness plan.
Your physiotherapist will help you improve your fitness and stamina, allowing you to increase your activity.
Exercising regularly will help your body produce natural, pain-relieving hormones called endorphins. There are other ways to increase endorphin production, including massages and acupuncture.
Does massaging help arthritis? Yes! A massage can help relax your muscles and improve your comfort as you move.
Acupuncture, on the other hand, encourages your brain to produce endorphins, which will help ease your pain away.
Your physiotherapist might also suggest electrotherapy as a relaxing treatment option. Electrotherapy uses ultrasound and low-level laser techniques. These treatments can help stimulate your body’s natural healing process, which will reduce your pain levels.
Meanwhile, manipulation can help increase your joint range of motion. However, manipulation isn’t ideal for every patient. Your physiotherapist will consider your condition before suggesting this treatment option.
Improving Your Fitness
It’s important to remain active to keep your arthritis symptoms at bay. Some people worry that exercise can cause further joint damage. However, your joints are designed to move.
In fact, the muscles and tissues around your joints will become weaker if you don’t put them to use.
In addition to improving your fitness, exercise can help you lose weight, improve your mobility, and help you feel more confident.
Stretching and Strengthening
The joint stiffness and muscle weakness you experience as a result of your arthritis can impact your daily life. There are techniques and exercises that can help you stretch and strengthen your entire body.
Your physiotherapist will help you add a range of exercises to your routine to minimize your pain. These exercises can improve your range of motion and hypermobility.
Actively Ease Your Pain With Physiotherapy for Arthritis
Ready to ease your pain? With this guide, you can use physiotherapy as a part of your arthritis treatment.
Looking for more ways to improve your health? Explore more of our blog today!