Arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States, affecting more than 50 million adults. There are more than one hundred different types of arthritis with varying degrees of disability and pain associated with each one. If you’re suffering with any form of arthritis, you’re probably very concerned about maintaining as much mobility and flexibility as possible while keeping your pain at a minimum or avoiding pain altogether. The good news is that physical therapy can play a large role in your arthritis treatment plan.
Your primary physician may have you use some prescription medications for your arthritis but adding physical therapy is a great natural treatment for arthritis that can help you overcome the pain and stiffness without relying on additional medications. Your therapist can also help you learn some arthritis management exercises that will help you control your symptoms on your own.
Physical therapy is one of the best natural arthritis treatment options around because it has a layered effect for sufferers. There are four primary ways that physical therapy for arthritis helps patients, and those benefits are compounded for greater relief.
Switched from my current PT to Dr. P and she is wonderful. Great decision.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis. This is what people are thinking of when they relate arthritis with aging because it’s caused by wear and tear damage to the joint’s cartilage. The main job of cartilage at the ends of bones is to cushion movement so the joint can move slowly. When the cartilage is worn away the bones begin to rub against each other causing pain and restricted movement. It’s true that OA typically happens over time or with aging, but it can also be caused by an injury or an infection in the joint.
Because osteoarthritis often happens due to use and time, it tends to affect weight-bearing joints more frequently. Physical therapy cannot “fix” osteoarthritis, but your therapist can look at how you move throughout your day and recommend different techniques that will reduce pain levels and improve movement and flexibility.
Many times, OA requires surgery for joint repair or replacement. A physical therapist is an essential part of your surgical recovery team as they help you rebuild strength and range of motion. You’ll find, with diligent work, that you can move better with physical therapy for osteoarthritis surgery then you could pre-surgery.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most common forms of arthritis and it’s caused by the body’s own immune system attacking the lining of the joint capsule. This causes that area to become inflamed and swollen and can destroy the cartilage within the joint.
There is no cure, but management of rheumatoid arthritis is possible with help from a rheumatologist and a physical therapist. Early intervention, diagnosis, and rheumatoid arthritis treatment can prompt remission of symptoms.
Your physical therapist will work with your doctor to create a rheumatoid arthritis treatment plan that takes your level of the illness and function into consideration. The first step in your therapy will be to assess pain and range of motion and make measurements. The next step, and what might be most important to the patient, is immediate action for rheumatoid arthritis pain management. This may include:
People who have the skin condition psoriasis may also develop psoriatic arthritis. This is an inflammatory type of arthritis that causes joint stiffness and pain due to swelling and it is progressive. It is another condition that cannot be cured but treatment can be very beneficial.
A rheumatologist should head up the treatment team for anyone with psoriatic arthritis, but a physical therapist can play an important role in improving the life of someone who is diagnosed with this type of arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis treatment in the physical therapy office will focus on education, improving range of motion, strengthening and general cardiovascular conditioning. Modalities, similar to those used for rheumatoid arthritis, will also be used to relieve pain and improve physical function.
While OA, RA, and psoriatic arthritis are three of the most common types of arthritis, there are still many other forms. In some situations, focusing on the specific type of arthritis isn’t as beneficial as focusing on the body and the region affected by pain, swelling, and limited movement that is caused by arthritis.
Physical therapy for knee arthritis is very common in our office because the knees take so much physical abuse throughout a lifetime. If you’re looking for an arthritis knee treatment program because you’re feeling the effects of time and use on your knees, you’re probably already noticing an inability to move like you once used to. People who are very active tend to experience this type of arthritis and it severely limits their ability to perform the activities they once loved. Physical therapy exercises for knee arthritis often turn to more gentle forms of fitness like swimming, biking, and stretching with great results.
Physical therapy for hip arthritis is another common request in our offices. Hips are load-bearing regions of the body that also take a lot of abuse and they’re very susceptible to injuries from falls. Hip arthritis treatment often begins with activity modification. The focus is on remaining as active as possible but doing it in a way that relieves extra pressure and reduces pain for long-term success.
Arthritis in the neck or cervical spondylosis is less common but can be very debilitating for the patient. Neck arthritis treatment with a combination of over-the-counter-pain medications and physical therapy can be very beneficial. Some types of neck arthritis are caused by injuries, and they typically resolve over time. Others are due to poor posture and repetitive motions. In these situations, movement re-education and adaptations will be the best path to pain relief and there’s no one more qualified to help with this than a physical therapist.
Spinal arthritis treatment can cover a wide range of aches and pains that are all related to the spine, from the cervical spine all the way down to the sacrum. In fact, arthritis in back treatment can be a little tricky because you can feel the pain or limitation in movement in your extremities too. The key for physical therapy with spinal arthritis is to focus on gentle spinal exercises and a reduction in inflammation for improved range of motion. Overall fitness can be a big step toward relieving this type of back pain.
Shoulder pains related to arthritis are often the result of overuse due to sporting activities or work, but trauma can also come into play. Shoulder arthritis physical therapy generally puts improved range of motion at the top of the list along with pain relief. A review of daily activities and tasks will play a big role in the creation of a treatment plan that is customized to your level of activity and pain. Using modalities, exercises, stretching techniques, and building strength all plays into relieving these symptoms.
If you have an arthritis diagnosis or are concerned that the pain and stiffness you’re experiencing are related to arthritis, it’s time to come into our Physical Therapists NYC office to receive a proper diagnosis and begin physical therapy.
Our skilled and award-winning physical therapy team is led by well-trained medical doctors who listen to your concerns and guide your recovery plan. They will pay attention to your list of symptoms, perform diagnostic tests using our state-of-the-art equipment, if necessary, and then move into the gym to take advantage of modern tools, equipment, and techniques to speed up your healing process.
From the minute you walk in our door of our modern downtown offices, we will work to accommodate you. We understand that many of our patients work on Wall Street and in downtown NYC, which is why we have early morning and late evening hours, so you don’t have to miss work.
Connect with our office to schedule an appointment. In many cases, early intervention and treatment of arthritis can lessen the effects and improve your quality of life.
We'll start with an evaluation to address your concerns. You don't need to be in pain to benefit from physical therapy. Whether it's pain relief, post-surgical rehabilitation, recovering from an injury, or preventing further issues, I'll address your concerns and figure out the best plan of action for you! Once we come up with a plan based on your needs and concerns, we'll start to work on mobility and strengthening. You'll be guided through these movements in every session. You will also be provided with hands-on treatment, including stretching and massage, as well as other therapeutic techniques which will further enhance your recovery and allow you to achieve your wellness goals.
There should always be an active component to your rehab program which includes various types of therapeutic physical therapy exercises, not just passive modalities. Exercise increases muscle flexibility, mobility, and strength, as well as promoting healing by increasing blood flow to the injured site. Healthy muscles provide protection to bones and joints, keeping you safer and stronger in the future. Some soreness and tightness with exercise is expected, it’s a normal part of exercise to feel sore after working your muscles the right way.
Each body heals differently. There is no one exact timeline for recovery of any condition. The duration of the program will depend on an individual’s healing rate as well as the condition being treated. There are many concerns that need to be addressed, including pain, range of motion, strength, and overall function. Each of these are matters that take time and patience to build upon. There are many factors that impact how long it will take each individual patient to recover. Routinely attending therapy sessions, following protocols and precautions, being aware of lifestyle-related comorbidities, maintaining a healthy diet, and performing home exercises all help on the path to recovery.
We always emphasize the importance of ongoing regular exercise, maintaining a strong yet flexible body, and general good health habits. A home exercise program helps a patient maintain the progress and gains made during treatment in order to remain pain-free and functional.