Understanding Your Arthritis and How Physical Therapy is The Right Solution
Do you ever wake up feeling as if your joints are stiff or tight? Do they ache as you get moving in the morning, becoming less painful as the day goes on? If so, this may be a sign of early-onset arthritis. This is a common condition that many people experience but choose to live with their painful joints for far too long before seeking help.
Arthritis can be managed with the help of our Gainesville, FL physical therapists. We will assess if exercises will be beneficial in providing pain relief for your arthritis during everyday activities and help you prevent injuring yourself in the future. Your physical therapist will also help you increase your range of motion in your arthritic joints. If you are suffering from arthritis, or you think you may be experiencing arthritic symptoms, contact Kinetix Physical Therapy today to schedule a consultation.
How do I know if I have arthritis?
According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis affects over 50 million people and it is currently the leading cause of disability across the nation. Arthritis causes pain, inflammation, and it can affect one or multiple joints at once.
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. This is caused when the cartilage of the joint wears down, either due to age or overuse. This causes pain in the joint, as the cartilage is no longer acting as the thick cushion that it once was. Without a cushion, the bones grind together, which in turn causes an inflammatory response in the joint.
Rheumatoid arthritis, also referred to as “inflammatory arthritis,” is also fairly common. It is an autoimmune disease that affects multiple joints, and is typically more prevalent in females than males.
Those suffering from arthritis typically report soreness around joints, which is worse after prolonged sitting, standing, or inactivity. Pain can be substantially worse with movement, such as bending of the knees. You may notice popping or clicking sounds in the affected joint(s) with movement, and the joint may be sensitive or painful to the touch. Arthritis can also cause pain when you exercise or work, and the pain may go away after you stop doing that activity.
How does arthritis develop?
As the most commonly experienced form of arthritis, osteoarthritis is typically easy to diagnose. It can be caused by a sudden injury to the joint, or it can develop even if a previous injury has fully healed. For example, let’s say you were a football player in college who experienced a harsh blow to the knee. You seek treatment, recover, and return to the game. Although the injury healed, damage occurred to the cartilage or surrounding muscles, decreasing support to the joint, or changing the motion of the joint slightly. Therefore, it is still possible for you to develop osteoarthritis from it later in life.
The same is true for overuse or repetitive motion careers. For example, if you are a carpenter who swings a hammer in repetitive motions as a crucial part of the job, you may develop osteoarthritis in the joints of your elbows or hands. If you are overweight, you may also be at a higher risk for developing osteoarthritis, as additional strain is being put on your knee and hip joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis is not as easily understood. It develops as an autoimmune response, meaning that the immune system sees the joints as a threat and decides to attack them. Researchers have come to believe that your medical history, environment, and hormones could all be contributing factors toward the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Because it is an autoimmune condition, it is common for it to affect the same joints on different sides of the body.
How will physical therapy treatments help my arthritis?
Those suffering from arthritic pain can benefit greatly from physical therapy. Often our patients, are able to avoid surgery, medications, and injections. Your Gainesville, FL physical therapist conducts a physical evaluation to determine what is the best course of treatment for you.
Physical therapy helps by restoring the normal motion of your joints, improving the strength of supporting muscles, and improving the way you walk, run, bend and move. Our treatments are tailored to your specific needs to help you recover quickly and have a more permanent outcome. We also teach you ways to prevent future joint injuries, and what you can do on your own with the correct therapeutic exercises.
If you are experiencing arthritic symptoms and you are looking to find long-lasting relief, make an appointment with our dedicated physical therapists at Kinetix Physical Therapy today.