Arthritis Therapy Treatment

Are you experiencing pain from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis? Get the help you need today!

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When you hear the word arthritis, many things may come to mind – joint pain, stiffness, and limited movement or motion. Many people either have some form of arthritis or know someone who does. What exactly is it and how does it affect your joints?

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis comes in many different forms, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, lupus, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis to name a few. Arthritis can affect the spine as well as peripheral joints such as the shoulders, elbows, hips, hands, feet, and knees.

Osteoarthritic conditions of the spine can include spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal) and degenerative disc disease (when cushioning discs between vertebrates in the spine become dry and thin). Both of these conditions can cause pain with everyday activities.

The most common forms of arthritis we treat daily are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. To see if therapy treatment for arthritis is right for you, contact us today.

Osteoarthritis (OA) vs Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Many people think all cases of arthritis are the same but the fact is osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are very different.

Osteoarthritis is caused when the cartilage between our joints begins to wear out and tear over time. This allows the bones to rub against each other resulting in damage and inflammation within the joint which can be very painful.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) differs from osteoarthritis because it is an autoimmune disease, not the result of normal wear and tear or traumatic injury. Healthy joints are attacked by your immune system and can cause damage throughout your body, also resulting in intense pain.

Flare-ups, induced by RA, will cause the joints to swell and become stiff, sometimes resulting in the loss of function. These flare-ups can be very painful and can cause the joints to become deformed over time. At times, symptoms may completely disappear and pain will subdue.

Sings & Symptoms of Arthritis

Below are the most common symptoms found among those affected by arthritis.

  • Joint pain
  • Swelling in joints
  • Stiffness in joints
  • Decreased range in motion

Signs of rheumatoid arthritis include the above list of symptoms but may also experience a loss of appetite or fatigue. Over longer periods of time and in more severe cases of rheumatoid arthritis, one may also become anemic or experience joint deformity.

Currently, there isn’t a cure for arthritis, but choosing the right treatment will greatly help you reduce the pains and symptoms. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with arthritis, ask your physician to refer you to one of our arthritis therapy specialists.

Arthritis Treatment Options

Depending on the type of arthritis you are experiencing your treatments could include:

  1. Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy – a holistic approach, incorporating exercise to improve muscle strength and mobility. This is where Sheltering Arms can help! (*virtual appointments are also available).
  2. Medication Treatments – analgesic medication (OA), non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (OA), corticosteroids (OA), hyaluronic acid injections (OA), disease-modifying medications (RA).
  3. Joint Replacement – in some cases replacement surgery is necessary to alleviate pain and improve mobility.

How Does Physical Therapy Help Relieve Arthritic Pain?

When joints are painful, exercise and movement may not sound like logical treatments. In reality, they are key to managing many types of arthritis.

Treatment goals include reducing joint strain, improving posture and body mechanics, increasing range of motion, building strength, modifying home/work environments to improve function, and increasing the lubrication of joints via movement.

Here are some specific ways therapy & rehab can help:

  • Strengthening the muscles that support joints alleviates stress on the joints that are already compromised due to arthritis.
  • Stretching tight muscles can facilitate improved range of motion and decrease stress on joints.
  • Splints can support unstable joints.
  • Assistive devices, such as canes and walkers, can take some of the load off joints. This helps to decrease pain with mobility and allows for improved safety and activity levels.
  • Pain management may include medical psychology services, crucial when dealing with a chronic disease, as well as injections to decrease inflammation, particularly with spinal degenerative conditions.
  • Dry needling increases blood circulation which eases pain around the joints. Perfect for those looking for a holistic approach to arthritis relief.

There are other adjunctive treatments that can improve quality of life, including aquatic therapy, massage, hot/cold therapies, stress management, and support groups.

Weight loss may be suggested to help decrease stress on weight-bearing joints affected by arthritis. Staying active and establishing a healthy diet can help with this as well! To learn more about our fitness & wellness programs, click here.


Make an Appointment with a Arthritis Specialist or Ask a Question

If you have questions about our arthritis therapy treatments or would like to schedule an appointment, complete the form below or call (804) 764-1000.

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