Arthritis or more specifically, osteoarthritis is a common condition that may affect up to 1 in 5 people at some point in their life. This condition can cause, pain, loss of mobility in joints and discomfort in our clients. Here, our Orleans physiotherapists explain how we can treat osteoarthritis through a number of treatments.
While it may more commonly be referred to as only 'arthritis,' osteoarthritis is actually the most common form of the broader umbrella of arthritis conditions.
Our physical therapists are able to work with you and your primary care physician to help to receive coordinated care, treatments and prescribed exercises to help you manage your pain support your mobility and achieve your fitness goals.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the inflammation of the joints in the body, most commonly load-bearing joints such as the knees and hips. This inflammation is caused by the deterioration of the tissues and structures that help to keep joints healthy and functioning properly.
It's estimated that up to 1 in 4 people in North America may develop osteoarthritis at some point in their lifetime and, while osteoarthritis doesn't require surgery to treat, joint replacement procedures are possible treatments for this condition if it grows to a severe stage.
This condition affects the day-to-day life of someone experiencing it and, because of this, management strategies that are tailored to the day-to-day are important for adequately managing osteoarthritis.
Some of the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- Pain during activity that isn't relieved by rest
- Increased bone growth around an affected joint
- A creaking, crunching or cracking joint noise when they are moved
- Joint stiffness, especially after getting out of bed, which may ease in about half an hour
- Joint stiffness after lying or sitting down for a long period
- Joint pain when that part of the body experiences pressure
How can physiotherapy treat osteoarthritis?
Research has shown that light to moderate activities such as walking, biking, or swimming can actually provide a much greater benefit to the joints of people with osteoarthritis than the discomfort they may cause. Activity can help to preserve the function of your joints, but it's important that any activity that you undertake is carefully planned and doesn't involve you overexerting yourself and becoming injured or losing mobility in the long term.
That's where our Orleans physiotherapists come in.
While the initial diagnosis of osteoarthritis will need to come from a doctor, once you are certain that is the condition that is affecting your joints, there is plenty that a physical therapy centre can do for your discomfort and well-being.
Firstly we will conduct an assessment of your condition, symptoms and needs, including:
- Observe and record what activities are causing your difficulty
- Examine and assess your movement to determine the extent of your symptoms
Based on these, we will design an individualized exercise program designed to address your needs and improve your movement and mobility. Some of the most common interventions that we use are:
- Manual therapy and adjustments of your movement to improve your mobility and help to alleviate some discomfort in affected joints
- Develop and teach you a home exercise program to improve your strength, encourage your good health and support your movement
- Provide suggestions of modifying your movement and adjusting your work and living spaces to lessen the strain on your joints
- Recommend lifestyle changes that will support your long-term health
What exercises are prescribed to treat osteoarthritis?
The specific prescribed treatments and therapies for our clients with osteoarthritis will be dependent on their specific cases. Depending on what joints may be affected and how far along this condition is in its development, our physiotherapists will prescribe different exercises in order to meet the needs of each of our clients.
With that being said, the following are some of the most commonly prescribed kinds of exercises at our Orleans physiotherapy clinic:
- Flexibility and Range of Motion Exercises - Including hamstring and hip flexor stretches
- Strength and Resistance Exercises - Including bridges, wall squats and step-ups
- Endurance and Aerobic Exercises - Including walking or swimming