If you or someone you love lives with arthritis, you've likely seen the symptoms of swelling, joint pain and physical weakness first hand that sufferers often deal with. You might also feel exhausted much of the time if you have problems sleeping.
Another complication is that along with impacting your life and well-being day-to-day, these symptoms can be difficult to predict from one day to the next; you might feel better one day but worse on another.
Getting your everyday chores such as cleaning, cooking, enjoying hobbies, recreational activities and exercise, and even taking a brush through your hair can feel like a huge task depending on the level of pain and inflammation you happen to be experiencing that day.
Though arthritis is more common among adults aged 65 or older, people of all ages (including children) can be impacted. That said, physiotherapy and other treatments can help people with arthritis manage symptoms and remain as active as possible.
Today, we'll talk about arthritis in detail and discuss how physiotherapy at our Manotick clinic can help.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis (a word that means "joint inflammation") refers to a group of more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that can affect our joints. Inflammation can also occur in the tendons and ligaments surrounding the joint. Symptoms may develop gradually or suddenly.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two main types of arthritis.
Joint cartilage is the hard, slick coating on the ends of bones where they form a joint. When our cartilage is healthy, it allows the joints to function almost without friction, cushioning them from rubbing against each other.
However, cartilage can become damaged, causing bones to grind together. Over many years, wear and tear can occur, which often leads to pain and restricted movement. A joint injury or infection can also lead to rapid progression of wear and tear.
Connective tissues, which attach bone to muscles and hold the joint together, may deteriorate as a result of osteoarthritis. Bone structure may also be altered. If there's severe damage to joint cartilage, the lining of the joint can become inflamed and swollen.
The joint capsule is lined with a tough membrane that surrounds each part of the joint. In people with rheumatoid arthritis, the body's immune system attacks this lining (the synovial membrane), which swells and becomes inflamed. This disease can eventually destroy cartilage and bone within the joint.
How can physiotherapy treatment help with arthritis?
Physiotherapy plays an important role in treatment for most people who have arthritis. A physiotherapist can complete a thorough assessment to identify how arthritis is impacting your functioning and mobility before creating an individualized treatment plan to help you get moving safely and effectively again while protecting your joints.
A physiotherapist can:
- Help you manage your condition
- Offer reassurance and advice on pain management techniques, avoiding exercise-related injuries and more
- Address any questions or concerns
- Assist you in setting attainable goals to help you find the right balance between rest and activity
Depending on the results of our assessment, we may recommend the appropriate treatments to help ease symptoms and make daily life more manageable:
What are the benefits of physiotherapy for arthritis sufferers?
Physiotherapists provide education and advice on preventing, treating and managing pain. They can also help you improve your mobility and quality of life by:
- Helping you regain movement in your joints
- Strengthening muscles
- Relieving pain
- Reducing inflammation
The team at Manotick PhysioWorks looks forward to working with you. Your physiotherapist can develop an exercise and treatment plan specific to your needs. This plan may also include general daily activities that are enjoyable for you, such as walking, to help you remain active and independent as you manage this life-changing condition.