Arthritis is a catch-all term used to describe more than 100 different kinds of joint pain and joint disease. Arthritis can effect people of all ages, not just the elderly. In fact, male athletes are more likely to develop joint inflammation than the general public. Prescription pain medications simply mask the pain and often times cause unwanted side effects. If you’re looking for a natural treatment for arthritis, consider meeting with one of our physical therapists at Total Function PT, to learn how you can kick the medications and reduce your arthritis symptoms.
What Is Arthritis?
Osteoarthritis: The most common type of joint inflammation is osteoarthritis, which is caused by a reduction in joint cartilage. After years of use and tension, bones can begin to rub together and lead to pain and swelling. Physical therapy can often help to reduce arthritis pain without medication, especially if the arthritis is mild to moderate.
Inflammatory Arthritis: In certain cases, the body’s immune system will attack joint tissues with intense inflammation. Physical therapy, offers a safer, natural solution to reduce pain and improve mobility.
Metabolic Arthritis: The most common type of metabolic arthritis is gout, a condition caused by uric acid crystals building up in the joints of your extremities, commonly caused by reduced kidney function. Physical therapy can help gout patients restore range of motion in the affected area and even reduce the buildup of the acidic crystals that accumulate in the joints.
Arthritis in Athletes
According to a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, about 30 percent of elite male athletes who engage in contact sports such as football will develop arthritis in the knees and hips, compared to about 19 percent of the general public.
Depending on the type of arthritis that a person has, doctors may prescribe NSAID pain relievers, corticosteroids, antirheumatic drugs or antibiotics. All of these carry a risk of side effects, and some can be extremely serious. NSAIDs can lead to an increased risk of blood clots, heart attack or stroke. Corticosteroids can contribute to cataracts, cause high blood sugar levels or even contribute to bone loss.
Physical Therapy for Arthritis
The goals when working with a physical therapist for arthritis treatment will include preserving a good range of motion and increasing strength to reduce stress on the joints. Here are some of the other benefits of working with our physical therapists:
- Your physical therapist will work with you to control your weight through exercise and diet. Controlling your weight helps to prevent added stress on weight-bearing joints.
- Posture work will help to reduce stress on your joints.
- Light exercises and stretching will help to increase range of motion in the affected areas.
- Your therapist will also recommend a schedule for rest and sleep to complement your exercises. This helps the body to heal and hopefully reduce arthritic inflammation and pain.
Every treatment regimen is different based on your body’s needs and your particular type of arthritis. In order to access your joint pain and condition, contact us at Total Function Physical Therapy today!