Arthritis is a condition where joints become stiff, inflamed, and painful. The most common type is osteoarthritis (OA). The cartilage in the joints breaks down as we age due to wear and tear which can leave some joints with bone on bone contact.
The best treatment for arthritis is movement, along with pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication if needed. Physical therapy is a good option to relieve pain and inflammation through exercise and stretching. Exercising is important to strengthen the muscles to help support and stabilize the affected joint. Stretching is important as well to increase the flexibility of the joint to avoid increased stiffness and swelling.
The following is what you may see during a physical therapy session for OA:
- Depending on the joint, you may either warm up with a hot pack or on a recumbent bike for an active warm up.
- Then several stretches will be performed to increase flexibility and mobility such as a hamstring stretch for hip or knee OA.
- Light strengthening exercises to begin with and as you progress through therapy more advanced strengthening and stabilization exercises will be given.
- Mini squats may be performed for low back, hip, knee or even ankle OA.
- Arm raises may be performed for neck, shoulder, or elbow OA.
- Manual techniques will be performed such as soft tissue mobilization (STM) to surrounding muscles to increase tissue extensibility and decrease pain. Passive range of motion may also be performed to increase motion and mobility.
- Treatment is concluded with hot packs or ice packs, and may be used with electrical stimulation (ESTIM) to decrease pain and soreness.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is intended to be informational only, and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical care. Consult a doctor or a physical therapist before attempting treatment on your own.
If you are experiencing any kind of joint pain or have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, contact us for a free consultation. To request an appointment, click here, or call directly to one of our three locations during regular business hours:
Cool Springs: 615-224-9810
Spring Hill: 931-489-2022