Arthritis is one of the most common causes of pain and disability in adults, resulting in inflamed and stiff joints and potential deformity with decreased function over time. According to the Arthritis Foundation, over 54 million adults are currently living with doctor-diagnosed arthritis, and that number is expected to climb to over 78 million by the 2040s. Arthritis can cause tremendous pain and decreased mobility, and one of the most impactful methods of treatment is physiotherapy. What is physiotherapy, and how can it be used to treat joint pain and improve function and mobility?
Therapy through Movement
Physiotherapy is a practice that uses specific exercises, equipment, and modalities to reduce pain, improve strength, and restore mobility to injured or damaged joints. Our natural response to pain is to stop moving to protect an injured area, but this can actually lead to further pain because the surrounding muscles get weaker and the joint becomes even more unstable. Physiotherapists offer patients specific exercises so they can safely increase their muscle strength around the joints, which reduces pain, and improves mobility, function, and balance.
How Physiotherapy Exercises Help Arthritis Pain
Exercises that help those with arthritis pain are focused around improving alignment, stability and balance around the injured joints, and safely increasing strength.
- Pain often changes the way we move as we compensate around a sensitive joint, but this can lead to muscle imbalances that perpetuate pain. Physiotherapists can help improve alignment to prevent additional problems.
- Physiotherapists will start an exercise program that meets you where you are and then gradually increase activity levels to avoid exercise-related injuries.
- Physiotherapy also considers the use of walking aids or splints to keep you mobile during your treatment.
Physiotherapy Modalities for Arthritis Pain Relief
Other forms of treatment used by physiotherapists to offer arthritis pain relief include those that help challenge the response of the nervous system and the muscles around the affected joints.
- Hot/Cold treatments are one of the most commonly used tools to provide relief. Heat improves circulation, relaxes muscle spasms, and increases flexibility in joint tissues, while cold eases pain symptoms and helps eliminate swelling.
- Electrical Stimulation like that in a TENS unit can scramble pain signals and offer pain relief that lasts up to 18 hours, according to the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology.
- Physiotherapists can also use practices that can support circulation in the muscles, like massage, or recruitment of different muscles with products like kinesio tape.
Seeking Pain Relief through Physiotherapy?
At Envista Medical, our team of therapists, trainers, chiropractors and medical professionals work together to develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored for your precise needs. This integrative approach is successful in helping our patients achieve full-body health and on the path toward healing. Please contact us today to learn more about how our physiotherapy treatments can provide you with long-term pain relief!