Millions of people around the world suffer from arthritis. But did you know that it’s also one of the most common reasons to see a physiotherapist?
Depending on the severity, symptoms of arthritis can range from mild to crippling. Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, including your hands, wrists, neck, back, hips and knees.
While there is no known cure for arthritis, physiotherapy can provide relief from its symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Physiotherapy can also be a cost-effective way to manage your arthritis and has many advantages.
For starters, it can help maintain your range of motion and relieve pain and stiffness in your joints related to arthritic pain.
Physiotherapy can also help strengthen supporting muscles and restore balance, which can improve mobility and reduce the risk of serious falls for certain individuals.
But one of the biggest benefits of physiotherapy is that it can slow the progression of the disease and may even prevent future symptoms.
What Exactly is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is the use of physical therapies to treat illness, injury, or disease. It is done under the supervision of a registered physiotherapist. Physical therapy is not a replacement to a full healthcare approach. It is meant as an adjunct to treat symptoms, for a better management of the disease. That being said, physiotherapy can provide relief from the symptoms of arthritis.
Physiotherapy is not a specific treatment for any condition. Think of physio as a set of treatments that may be used together or alone for patients of all ages. The wide range of physiotherapy treatments is meant to meet each patient’s individual needs.
Physiotherapy can be effective in treating many different types of arthritis. It can be used alone or combined with other treatments such as medication, exercise, or dietary changes.
Managing Arthritis with Physiotherapy
The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has developed a classification system for arthritis. It groups symptoms, signs, and types of arthritis into 5 common types. The most common type is osteoarthritis. It affects about 60-70% of people with arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear on your joints. It is typically caused by a combination of aging, genetics, and weight-bearing activity such as weightlifting or sports that involve a lot of weight moving.
The second most common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis. It is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks your joints. It is usually triggered by a virus or injury and is often poorly understood by the general public.
Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the small joints of the hands and feet first. As the disease progresses, it can affect larger joints such as the knees and elbows.
While there is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis, physiotherapy can help manage its symptoms.
Strengthening your muscles can reduce your pain and improve your mobility. This is because your muscles can compensate for lost movement and joint flexibility. For example, strengthening your core can reduce your chances of falling and help you stand up from a seat.
Strong muscles can also protect your joints from injury. This is because your joints are attached to your muscles, and when you strengthen your muscles, you strengthen your joints.
Preventing Progression with Exercises
Physical activity can increase the load on your joints. This encourages arthritis symptoms such as pain and stiffness. The good news is that there are many ways to prevent this from happening.
The first way is to ensure that your exercise program is appropriate for your condition. The American College of Rheumatology recommends that you first discuss your exercise plan with your doctor. This is because some people with arthritis may not be able to exercise as vigorously as others.
Wrapping Up: the Benefits of Physiotherapy for Arthritis
Physiotherapy has a variety of benefits for people with arthritis. It can help manage your condition, prevent disease progression, improve mobility, and live a more active lifestyle. Getting regular physical therapy can help you manage your arthritis symptoms and regain mobility.
If you suffer from arthritis, it’s important to talk to your doctor about the benefits of physiotherapy. Your doctor can help you get the right prescription and treatment for your condition. If you’d like to discuss your arthritis diagnosis with our experienced physiotherapists, consider our free consultation option. We are here for you.