Did you know there are over 100 different types of arthritis that millions of people experience? While the elderly are among the most common demographic to develop arthritis due to age, it is also possible for people to develop arthritis in their early middle age.
A study conducted by the American Journal of Sports Medicine states that elite male athletes actually have a higher risk of developing arthritis later in life than the rest of the general population. According to the study, approximately 30% of male athletes who participate in contact sports end up developing arthritis in their knees and/or hips. This occurs because of the overexertion that many contact sports demand, resulting in wear and tear of the joints.
If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, or you think you may be experiencing arthritis symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact us today and schedule a consultation with one of our licensed physical therapists.
What are the different types of arthritis?
- Osteoarthritis. This is the most common type of arthritis. It is caused by a reduction in joint cartilage through the “wear and tear” one experiences with age. This process of wearing down cartilage causes bones to rub together, which leads to pain and swelling. Physical therapy can often help to reduce osteoarthritis pain without medication, especially if it is diagnosed as mild-to-moderate.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis. Also referred to as inflammatory arthritis, this is the second most common type of arthritis. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks joint tissues with intense inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis often has a genetic cause, and doctors usually treat it aggressively with drugs. However, depending on the severity of symptoms, physical therapy may be recommended for treatment as well.
- Metabolic Arthritis. The most common type of metabolic arthritis is gout, a condition caused by uric acid crystals building up in the joints of the extremities, especially in the feet. This is typically a result of reduced kidney function. Physical therapy can help gout patients restore range of motion in the affected area, and it can even reduce the buildup of acidic crystals that accumulate in the joints.
How can my arthritis be treated?
A common treatment for arthritis is medication, usually for pain manageability. Your physician may prescribe NSAID pain relievers, corticosteroids, antirheumatic drugs, or antibiotics for your arthritis treatment. Medication is easy – you pop it in your mouth, chase it with water, and your pain subsides shortly afterward. However, they can also cause some unfavorable side effects, and in some cases they can be habit-forming. With NSAIDs, you run the risk of blood clots, heart attack, or stroke. With corticosteroids, you run the risk of cataracts, high blood sugar levels, and bone loss. Luckily, there is a much safer and healthier alternative to treating arthritis: physical therapy.
If you believe you may be experiencing arthritic pain, and you’re looking for relief without the harmful risk of drugs, call our office today. We’ll set you up with a physical therapist who can help you kick the meds and reduce your arthritis symptoms!
What can physical therapy do for my arthritic symptoms?
When treating arthritis, your physical therapists main goals will be reducing stress on your joints, improving your strength, and preserving/regaining your range of motion. A few of the many beneficial treatment methods that a physical therapist can provide you with include:
- Stretching/exercise. Light exercises and stretching will help to increase range of motion in the affected areas.
- Rest. Your therapist will also recommend a schedule for rest and sleep to complement your exercises. This helps the body to heal and will hopefully reduce your amount of arthritic inflammation and pain.
- Proper posture. Posture work will help to reduce stress on your joints.
- Weight control. Your physical therapist will work with you to control your weight through exercise and diet. Controlling your weight helps to prevent added stress on weight-bearing joints.
Your physical therapist will design a treatment plan that is focused around your individual needs. This will be dependent upon the type of arthritis you have, the severity of it, and your past medical history. Schedule your consultation today to get started on a healthy, natural, and safe treatment plan that will help manage and relieve your arthritic symptoms, so you can get back to living your life comfortably.