Physical Therapy Treatment Can Help You with Your Pain due to Arthritis

Are stiff or tight joints making getting out of bed or your morning routine unbearable? Do your joints ache as you get moving, and become less painful as the day goes on? Neck or low back pain and stiffness first thing getting up or after in a static position for a prolonged period of time? Have you had to change your activity level or exercise routine due to stiffness and pain? If so, this may be an early sign of osteoarthritis , the “wear and tear” arthritis. This arthritis is a common condition that many experience but instead of seeking help, choose to live with it for far too long. And ultimately may need a total joint replacement if it gets too bad. You don’t have to live with painful joints from arthritis. Rose City Physical Therapy can help you find relief today and teach you to manage your pain so you can enjoy doing the activities you love.

Pain and limited activity due to arthritis can be managed with the help of our physical therapists. We will assess what treatments will be best in providing pain relief for your arthritis during routine activities and help you prevent flare ups or injuring yourself in the future. Our physical therapists will help you increase your range of motion in painful arthritic joints and make challenging tasks easier. If you are suffering from arthritis, or you think you may be experiencing arthritic symptoms, contact Rose City Physical Therapy today to request an appointment.

Is Arthritis Limiting You and the Things You Want to Do? Physical Therapy Can Give You The Relief You’ve Been Looking For!

Do you wonder why you’re experiencing arthritis?

As the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis is quite straightforward to diagnose. At the doctors office x-rays will be taken and can readily reveal arthritic joints. If you’re experiencing hip, knee or ankle arthritis, weight bearing activity will be painful and limited. In the upper extremity, shoulder arthritis will cause painful limited motion, commonly in more than one direction, such as reaching behind the back to string a belt or tuck in your shirt. Or up overhead to dress, wash hair or reach into a cupboard.  At the elbow and wrist or hand, pain with use during regular daily activities as well as work or recreation can be painful and limited.

Arthritis in the spine, commonly at the neck (cervical spine) or low back (lumbar spine) is quite prevalent as we “mature”…okay…age. The mid-back (thoracic spine) is less apt to experience arthritis and if it does, often there is little pain or disability as a result.

Osteoarthritis can be caused by a sudden injury to the joint if cartilage damage occurs, or it can develop from a previous old injury such as a soccer injury to the knee years past, that over time you did fine with. But now, eventually, commonly, there will be early onset of arthritis years later. Let’s say you were a college football player who suffered a harsh blow to the knee and tore the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), and had subsequent surgery and then post-surgical physical therapy for the ACL tear. You recover and get back to playing the game. Even though the injury healed and you got back to football, damage likely occurred to the cartilage, or the long-term swelling in the knee from injury and surgery caused the cartilage to weaken. Over time, often years later, arthritis sets in and becomes problematic. Research reports a correlation to early onset arthritis in the person who has experienced an ACL tear, whether they have surgery or not. 

Osteoarthritis also has a familial link and can be inherited.

If someone is overweight, they may also be at a higher risk for developing osteoarthritis, as additional strain is being put on the knee and hip joints.

The same is true for careers that require overuse or repetitive motions. For example, a carpenter who swings a hammer in repetitive motions as a crucial part of their job may develop osteoarthritis in the joints of the elbows or hands. A carpet layer, who crawls around on their knees all day on hard floors is susceptible to knee osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is another type of arthritis, although it is not as easily understood. It develops as an autoimmune response, and selectively erodes the inner lining (synovial lining) of the joint capsule (the leather tissue that surrounds each of our joints).

Researchers have come to believe that someone’s environment, medical history, and hormones could play major factors in the development of rheumatoid arthritis. And because rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, it is common for it to affect the same joints on both sides of the body. The condition is also more prevalent in females than males. 

Confused about the symptoms of arthritis? 

According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis affects more than 50 million people and as of now it is the leading cause of disability across America. Arthritis causes pain, inflammation, limited activity and can even be disabling.

As osteoarthritis is caused when the cartilage of the joint wears down, whether it be due to age or overuse, the most common symptom is joint pain as the cartilage is no longer acting as the thick cushion and bumper between adjacent bones. If there isn’t any cushion, the bones grind together, which in turn causes an inflammatory response in the joint. Have you ever taken a chicken or turkey drumstick off the rest of the bird. Well, that smooth shiny pearly looking surface on the knuckle of the drumstick – the bird’s thigh bone – is cartilage. And that’s exactly what ours looks like when healthy. When cartilage starts to erode, think of it as potholes in a road…divots, irregular rough edges. You get the picture. 

With arthritis, certain movements can make it worse. Especially movements where the two joint surfaces engage at the point of the arthritis. You might hear crackling or popping, or clicking sounds in the affected joint(s) with movement, and the joint may be sensitive or painful to the touch. Inflammation occurs in the joint and warmth may be felt when you touch around the joint. Arthritis can also cause pain when you exercise or work, and the pain may go away after you stop doing that activity.

Live A Pain-Free Life With the Help of Physical Therapy!

Give us a call! Our Portland, OR physical therapists will complete an evaluation to determine what is the best course of treatment for you. If you are suffering from arthritic pain and limited activity, there is so much you can gain from physical therapy. With our physical therapy services, our patients are often able to avoid injections, medications, and surgery.

We cannot take your arthritis away as cartilage does not regenerate. However, physical therapy helps by restoring the normal motion of your joints at and around the arthritic joint, and improving your functional movement – the way you walk, run, bend and move – as well as improves the strength of supporting muscles. And this goes a long way in managing your pain and teaching you a home program to continue on your own once your goals are met with physical therapy.

Our treatments are tailored to your specific needs to help you recover as quickly as possible and have an outcome that’s much more permanent. We’ll also teach you methods to avoid future joint injury including things you can do on your own with the right therapeutic exercises. 

If you are dealing with arthritic symptoms and you are looking to find pain relief and improved activity, talk with one of our dedicated physical therapists at Rose City Physical Therapy and request an appointment today.

To learn more about physical therapy for arthritis as well as diet considerations to help manage inflammation, check out the following blogs on our website.