There are more than 3 million reported cases of arthritis each year, making it one of the most common ailments that adults in America face.
Arthritis is the inflammation of the joints, which often causes pain and limited range of motion in the affected joints. People who have arthritis often experience a decreased quality of life because of the pain and limitations in their joints.
Common causes of arthritis
There are two main types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis; it is caused by general wear and tear of the joints due to old age. Each joint in the body is protected by cartilage. This cartilage helps prevent the bones in the joint from rubbing against each other, and it allows the joints to have full range of motion. As the body ages, years of repetitive motion in the joints can wear down the protective cartilage, causing inflammation and pain. Additionally, as the body ages, it holds less water. The dehydration can also contribute to the breakdown of cartilage in the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joints, called the synovial lining. This causes inflammation, swelling and pain, as well as limited mobility in the joints. This disease can ultimately destroy both the cartilage and bone within the joints.
Though these two types of arthritis are very different, they often result in the same types of symptoms, which can include:
- Limited mobility in the joints.
These symptoms may worsen throughout the day; colder weather can also have an effect on symptoms. While there is no cure for arthritis, there are some treatments that can help reduce these symptoms and help restore mobility to the affected joints, as well as slow the progression of arthritis.
Treatments for arthritis
Most symptoms of arthritis can be treated with physical therapy. During your initial appointment, your physical therapist will work with you to assess your current symptoms and range of motion, and then create a personalized treatment plan to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Physical therapy can help teach arthritis patients the following to reduce symptoms:
- Exercises tailored to improve joint usage, strength and mobility.
- Proper body mechanics.
- Correct posture to protect the joints.
- How to properly use walking aids when needed.
If you are suffering from chronic arthritis pain, find a location near you to schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists. It’s time to take your life back from chronic arthritis pain. We can help. Schedule an appointment today.