Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. There are several types of arthritis, and the most common type is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is usually caused by normal wear and tear, or follows an injury to a joint. Risk factors for arthritis include gender, family history and previous joint injuries. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., with one in five adults being diagnosed with arthritis every year.
Physical therapy can help to decrease arthritic pain. The main goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. People with arthritis often have stiff joints largely because they avoid movements that can increase pain. However, by not moving arthritic joints, the stiffness and pain only get worse. Therefore, people with arthritis often benefit from physical therapy with instructions on how to correctly and effectively perform strength-conditioning exercises that target specific muscle groups. Strong muscles help keep weak joints stable and more comfortable and protect against further damage. Land therapy can help improve joint flexibility and strength, and aquatic therapy may also be a good choice because the buoyancy of the water reduces stress on the joints. With arthritis, you will have good days and bad days, but the most important thing is to keep moving and to keep strong.
Appropriate management can help people with arthritis live healthy and independent lives. Speak to your doctor first. It is important for patients to learn about their disease and to take part in their own care. A physical therapist will help you come up with an effective plan and workout regimen to help manage your pain and symptoms. For more information about arthritis, visit arthritis.com.