Are you tired of waking up with stiff and painful joints? Get help today!
Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common chronic condition impacting joints, is degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone. It causes pain, swelling and dysfunction in the affected joints. OA occurs most commonly in the hip, knee, lower back, neck and big toe, as well as the small joints in the fingers. According to the Arthritis Foundation, approximately 27 million adults are affected, with one in two developing symptoms of knee OA and one in four developing symptoms of hip OA.
Several factors contribute to development of OA, including genes, previous injury, and excessive weight. The most common symptoms of arthritis are pain and stiffness, especially first thing in the morning and after resting. Other symptoms include clicking or cracking sounds, swelling, and limited range of motion. People who suffer with arthritis may also have increased rates of diabetes and heart disease secondary to inactivity because of pain. They also experience 30% more falls than those without OA.
Physical therapy treatment for OA can help manage pain and swelling, and also improve joint mobility. Studies show that moving the affected joint improves symptoms. Even taking a short walk is beneficial. Strengthening the muscles around the impacted joint also helps with pain reduction and joint mobility. Physical therapists can help with body mechanics and educate patients regarding an exercise plan to strengthen joints without increased pain and motion limitations. This will help patients create a pathway to a regular exercise program that will assist with cardiovascular health and weight control.