Chronic joint pain is typically associated with arthritis, although other physical ailments can lead to joint deterioration and pain. While physical therapy is not a cure for arthritis, it can help to alleviate the pain, increase your range of motion in the affected joints and help you get control over the problem so that it doesn’t get worse. If you are not proactive when it comes to joint pain, it likely will worsen over time. If you’ve been suffering from joint pain for a while, call us to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist.
Arthritis and joint pain
Joint pain can turn even the most routine tasks into dreaded chores, or make them impossible to perform at all. Although you might be worried, joint pain is not something you can put off until later. You need to address this issue before it gets so bad that you risk sustaining an injury.
There are two main types of arthritis that are the most common culprits when it comes to joint pain: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Here is a closer look at these types of arthritis:
Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type of arthritis by far. It typically develops later in life and can be caused by poor body mechanics, overuse of the joint, or an injury. The cartilage in joints serves as a natural barrier that lubricates and distributes force during physical activity.
When that cartilage breaks down and no longer provides a cushion between adjoining bones, the result is osteoarthritis. The hands, hips, knees, and spine are the most common body parts impacted by osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s healing systems attack the joints. This causes inflammation of the joints, which can be extremely painful. Rheumatoid arthritis usually begins in the hands, wrists, or feet, but it can spread to the hips, knees, or shoulders — getting progressively worse — if you aren’t proactive in combating it.
If you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor will likely prescribe pharmaceutical treatments to stave off the symptoms. However, physical therapy can also provide mass amounts of relief as well.
Other causes of joint pain
Arthritis isn’t the only culprit when it comes to joint pain. Some other common causes are:
- Non-ergonomic working conditions – An improperly-positioned workstation or other awkward workplace arrangements can force your body into stressful, painful positions.
- Degenerative disc disease – Age-related bulging discs, spinal stenosis, and other spinal changes can cause serious joint pain in the neck or back.
- Musculoskeletal imbalances – If your muscles suffer from uneven development, you may be unable to sustain an asymmetrical posture. This can create muscle spasms and trigger points that refer pain to the joints.
- Excess weight – The heavier you are, the more pressure your weight-bearing joints must withstand. These pressures can lead to premature joint deterioration and joint tissue strain.
Certain ailments like gout, bursitis, lupus, or tendinitis can also contribute to joint pain. The source of your joint pain may cause the specific course of physical therapy that is recommended for you to vary.
How can physical therapy relieve joint pain?
Physical therapy is nothing to be worried about. It’s a safe, effective, and natural way to provide pain relief.
During your first visit with a physical therapist, be prepared to talk about your symptoms. If your doctor has already diagnosed the condition that is causing your joint pain, your physical therapist will already be aware of this.
Your therapist will need to know about the type of joint pain you are experiencing, the times of day when the pain is worse, and any physical activities that you engage in regularly. It’s important to be completely honest with your therapist so that they can properly assess your condition.
Your therapist will likely run you through a series of simple tests during your first visit. These will be done to test your range of motion, balance, and posture. This information will be used to help create a customized physical therapy regimen to help you relieve the pain while strengthening muscles to help support the joints.
What does a typical treatment plan look like?
Everyone’s treatment plan is different depending on their condition and pain levels.
Your plan of physical therapy will likely contain a combination of exercises, manual therapy, and body mechanics work.
Manual therapy is a specialized type of therapeutic massage that your physical therapist is trained in; manual therapy can help to soften tissues and relieve pain associated with your joint condition.
Body mechanics involves teaching you the proper way to move, sit, stand, lift objects, and engage in other daily activities, without causing pain to your joints. The exercises will likely be low-impact to relieve pressure on the joints while strengthening your muscles, such as water aerobics.
Call our office today for more information
The goal of your physical therapy will be to help you take back control of your life by minimizing joint pain. Call Health Point Physical Therapy today to schedule your first appointment with a physical therapist.