Best 5 Physiotherapy Strategies for Managing Arthritis
Arthritis, which is characterised by joint inflammation and stiffness, is a prevalent condition that affects people worldwide. Its effects range from mild discomfort to severe pain and have a significant impact on quality of life. However, physiotherapy provides effective strategies for the management of arthritis symptoms, improvement of joint function, and enhancement of general mobility.
Let’s look at our top five physiotherapy strategies for managing arthritis:
1. Manual Therapy
Manual therapy is, without doubt, a brilliant way to ease the pain from osteoarthritis and arthritis in general. But does it really work? And how does it help? I can tell you from personal experience of over 20 years of treating arthritis that joint mobilisation reduces pain. Even though a joint may be degenerate, mobilising the joint and improving the range of movement has noticeable improvements in pain-relief. Improving range of movement also helps to reduce inflammation, which helps to reduce pain. Therapy works, it’s brilliant, and thousands of our patients testify to its benefits.
2. Motion Range Exercises
Arthritis is characterised by limited joint mobility, resulting in stiffness and pain. Physiotherapists and osteopaths commonly employ range of motion exercises to treat these symptoms. These exercises involve moving the affected joints in all natural directions. For instance, rotating the wrists or bending the knees are examples. These are called mobilisation exercises. The objective is to increase mobility, reduce stiffness, and improve joint function. Frequently, our physiotherapists adapt these exercises to the patient's current condition and capacity. Typically, they are light and can be performed at home. Here is an example of a mobilisation exercise for someone with a stiff shoulder:
3. Resistance and Strengthening Exercises
Arthritis can cause muscle weakness as a result of decreased use of the affected joint. As we age, our muscles atrophy – this is normal, but a problem as our strength reduces. Strength-training exercises aid in the development of muscle around the affected joints, thereby enhancing support and reducing stress on the joints. This strategy may include exercises such as light weighted exercises, resistance band exercises, and body-weight exercises such as sit-to-stands. It is important to get the right exercises for you, and we’ll help motivate you to do the exercises. Here is an example of a sit-to-stand exercise, and a resistance exercise with an exercise band:
Hydrotherapy, or water therapy, is an effective form of physiotherapy for the management of arthritis. The buoyancy of water reduces the impact on painful joints, making exercise easier. The resistance of the water also helps to strengthen the muscles. Hydrotherapy can include activities such as water walking or jogging, water aerobics, and swimming. Typically, it is performed in a warm pool, as heat helps to relax muscles and reduce joint stiffness. We offer hydrotherapy at our Farnborough branch in NE Hampshire, GU14 7JL.
5. Pain Management Techniques
Physiotherapists employ a variety of pain management techniques to alleviate arthritis discomfort. These may include hot and cold therapy, in which heat or cold packs are applied to the affected area to reduce pain and inflammation. Massage and joint mobilisation, ultrasound, and LASER can all help. Acupuncture is also widely practiced by our team, and can be very useful to reduce pain.
Physiotherapy includes educating patients on how to independently manage their symptoms. This includes teaching proper posture to reduce strain on affected joints, advising on appropriate assistive devices (like canes or braces), and demonstrating how to perform exercises at home. As obesity can exacerbate the symptoms of arthritis, education on lifestyle modifications such as weight management and diet are also essential.
Arthritis can be a debilitating condition, but with the proper physiotherapy techniques, patients can effectively manage their symptoms, improve their mobility, and enhance their quality of life. At Surrey Physio, we’re here to help you, here to support you, and here to get you to a stage where you can manage your pain and increase your mobility.
If you are a therapist and like the exercises and information in this article, please go to www.rehabmypatient.com and sign up to this amazing exercise prescription software. We love it and always recommend it.
If you are a patient and need some advice, treatment or a consultation about osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, please go to www.surreyphysio.co.uk/bookonline. We provide virtual and face-to-face appointments with our expert team.