At TruWell Health, we are dedicated to providing the tailored care each of our patients deserves. Our on-site physical therapy department allows us to help patients restore comfort and functional movement utilizing proven modalities.
What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is a form of physical medicine that helps patients get back to optimal strength, flexibility, and movement after an injury or functional deterioration. Physical therapists are trained to clinically examine and treat conditions that limit physical movement. A prescribed physical therapy program minimizes the risk of future injury or prolonged discomfort. The focus of physical therapy is to reinstate the body’s ability to engage in functional movement. This can be anything from walking down the street to climbing stairs to getting up from a chair.
The goals of physical therapy for patients with arthritis are to:
- Maintain physical fitness
- Restore mobility to affected joints
- Increase strength in muscles that support affected joints
- Preserve the ability to perform daily activities
How is Physical Therapy used to treat Arthritis?
There is no cure for arthritis, so the goal of physical therapy is to ease joint pain and other symptoms, such as stiffness and limited mobility. These symptoms can often be managed with a customized combination of therapeutic modalities.
Physical therapy can be advantageous for arthritis pain because it can strengthen joints that are declining due to inflammation. Prescribed exercises alone can improve the range of motion by minimizing stiffness and pain, thereby increasing mobility to engage in daily activities. In addition to exercises that support flexibility and range of motion, physical therapists also rely on complementary modalities such as:
- Diathermy, or heat therapy, using ultrasound or other forms of electrical current. Heat destroys damaged cells that provoke joint pain, thereby easing symptoms of arthritis.
- TENS therapy. The use of electrical nerve stimulation is common in physical therapy. Treatment involves the application of electrodes on the skin over the painful joint. Low levels of electricity are transferred through the electrodes to the tissue around and in the joint to relieve pain.
How many Physical Therapy treatments do I need for Arthritis?
Most cases require several sessions of physical therapy to achieve the best possible relief from arthritis pain. Remember, treatment does not cure arthritis; it manages symptoms. Therefore, some patients continue physical therapy indefinitely to keep arthritis symptoms under control.
Can a Physical Therapist Relieve Arthritis Pain?
Physical therapy is a protocol of prescribed exercises that are customized to the individual. The exercises are designed to improve strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination to sustain optimal physical function. The way that physical therapists help relieve arthritis symptoms is by:
- Teaching proper body mechanics and posture for normal daily activities to improve function and relieve pain.
- Teaching how to use assistive devices as needed, such as a cane or walker.
- Recommending environmental modifications such as cushioned mats where the patient stands or ergonomic chairs at work stations.
How does Exercise help with Arthritis?
Exercise moves the joints. When the joints move, the body produces what is called synovial fluid. This liquid inhibits friction within arthritic joints. When people initially begin exercising, their joints may ache at first. Discomfort decreases, however, when sufficient fluid is produced to lubricate them. Physical therapy provides a protocol that every patient can follow, coupled with the understanding of how the joints work and why it is beneficial to move through the initial discomfort.
Are the results of Physical Therapy long-term for the relief of Arthritis?
Physical therapy can provide long-term relief from arthritis symptoms, including pain. A trained physical therapist can develop a specific treatment plan to address individual needs and goals. Prescribed exercises and therapeutic modalities can help restore mobility and prevent further decline in body mechanics. Some studies suggest that early intervention with physical therapy achieves the best long-term results.
Chronic pain and stiffness need not affect your daily life nor your quality of life. Our physical therapy team can develop a specific treatment plan to help you return to a normal daily routine. Together, you and your healthcare professional can gain an understanding of the nature of arthritis and how to sustain daily life in the face of joint pain and stiffness.
Schedule a Consultation
If you’re interested in learning more about physical therapy for arthritis please contact us for a consultation at 727.440.5410 or fill out our contact us form here. We will discuss your needs and concerns, and determine your best course of action.