Whether it's you or a loved one who lives with arthritis, you're likely all too familiar with the symptoms of joint swelling, pain and physical weakness that sufferers often experience. You might also often feel exhausted if you have problems sleeping.
Along with negatively impacting your daily life and well-being, these symptoms may be difficult to predict from one day to the next; you may feel better one day and worse the next, or vice versa.
Depending on the level of pain and inflammation you experience on a given day, everything from brushing your hair to engaging in physical activity, enjoying hobbies and completing everyday chores such as cooking and cleaning can feel like monumental tasks.
While adults aged 65 or older are at higher risk for arthritis, people of all ages (including children) can suffer from the condition. However, physiotherapy and other treatments can help sufferers manage symptoms while remaining as active as possible.
In this post, our physiotherapists will define arthritis and discuss how physiotherapy at our clinic in Orleans can help.
What is arthritis?
The word 'arthritis' means 'joint inflammation'. The term refers to more than 100 rhematic conditions and diseases that impact joints. Ligaments and tendons around the joint can also be affected by inflammation, and sufferers may experience a sudden or gradual onset of symptoms.
The strong, flexible connective tissue that protects your bones and joints is called cartilage. It acts as a shock absorber throughout your body. Cartilage at the end of your bones prevents them from rubbing together, reducing friction on your joints. This is also the main tissue in some parts of your body and gives them shape and structure.
If this cartilage is damaged, bones can grind together, leading to wear and tear that can cause pain and restricted movement over time. An injury or infection in the joints may also cause wear and tear to progress more rapidly.
With osteoarthritis, connective tissues that attach bone and muscle and hold the joint together deteriorates. The bone structure may also change. The lining of the joint can become swollen and inflamed if joint cartilage is severely damaged.
The lining of the joint capsule is a tough membrane that surrounds all the parts of the joint. In people suffering with rheumatoid arthritis, the body's immune system attacks this lining (the synovial membrane), which swells and becomes inflamed. The disease can eventually progress to destroy bone and cartilage within the joint.
How can physiotherapy treatment help with arthritis?
For most people who have arthritis, physiotherapy plays an integral role in treatment. A physiotherapist can conduct a thorough assessment to determine how arthritis is affecting your functioning and mobility, then create an individualized treatment plan to help get you moving safely and effectively, and protect your joints.
A physiotherapist can:
- Help you manage your condition
- Offer reassurance and advice on pain management techniques, avoiding exercise-related injuries and more
- Address any questions or concerns
- Assist you in setting attainable goals to help you find the right balance between rest and activity
Depending on the results of our assessment, your physiotherapist may recommend the appropriate treatments to help ease symptoms and make daily life more manageable:
- Acupuncture & Dry Needling for osteoarthritis
- Massage Therapy
What are the benefits of physiotherapy for arthritis sufferers?
Physiotherapists provide education and advice on preventing, treating and managing pain. They can also help you improve your mobility and quality of life by:
- Helping you regain movement in your joints
- Strengthening muscles
- Relieving pain
- Reducing inflammation
Our team of physiotherapists at Motion Works Physiotherapy Orleans looks forward to working with you. Your physiotherapist can create an exercise and treatment plan tailored to your needs.
This plan may also involve general daily activities that you find enjoyable, such as walking, to help you stay active and independent while managing this life-changing condition.