The word “arthritis” literally means joint inflammation. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis. The most common is osteoarthritis, the breakdown of cartilage, which causes bones to rub against each other, bringing pain and stiffness. Arthritis pain affects 46 million adults and nearly 300,000 children in the US. Arthritis is the nation’s most common cause of disability, and most Americans are unaware of the seriousness of arthritis pain and the impact it can have on their lives.
Arthritis: the 3 most common types
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis pain, and usually affects slightly more women than men. It involves the breakdown of the protective cushion of the cartilage covering the ends of the bones, where two bones meet to form a joint.
Rheumatoid arthritis can start at any age but usually occurs between the ages of 20 and 55. Three times as many women as men are affected. If not properly treated on-going inflammation can progressively damage joints and cause joint deformity. As an autoimmune condition rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other systems of the body.
Gout causes sudden attacks of pain in some joints. It can affect any joint but the first attack usually affects the big toe or another part of the foot. The joint becomes painful and swollen and the skin over the joint can become red and shiny. If not treated, gout can become chronic causing damage to the joints and bones.
Arthritis pain symptoms to watch for
- Swelling in one or more joints
- Early morning stiffness for more than a few minutes
- Recurring pain or tenderness in one or more joints
- Reduced movement
- Obvious redness or warmth in one or more joints
- Unexplained weight loss, fever or weakness combined with joint pain.
Will Surgery Be Necessary?
In severe cases of certain types of arthritis, surgery might be recommended. Early treatment and daily physical activity can often postpone or prevent surgery.
Why Try Us First?
A cornerstone of treatment for any type of arthritis pain is muscle and joint therapy to maintain joint mobility and range of motion. The proper kind and amount of this therapy will vary depending upon the underlying cause and upon individual factors.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, physical activity is the best pain reliever for arthritis and thirty minutes of daily physical activity can reduce arthritis pain and disability. Regular physical activity replenishes lubrication to the cartilage of the joint, reduces stiffness and pain, keeps the muscles around affected joints strong, and promotes long-term weight management in those who are overweight. One of the goals of physical therapy is to help you become more active and increase your energy level so you can perform the 30 minutes of daily physical activity recommended by the Arthritis Foundation.
What Treatment Can You Expect?
1. Modalities (the use of heat, cold, electrical stimulation etc.) may be used to help decrease the pain you are experiencing, improve your circulation and/or help the muscles relax. This is usually done as a preparation for doing exercises or activities to improve strength and flexibility.
2. Hands-On Manual Therapy Techniques to relax muscles in spasm, lengthen tight muscles, restore balance to the muscles in the area and to improve motion of the joint itself. This can help to bring lasting relief.
3. Exercises will be used to aid your recovery. Exercise helps lubricate your joints and reduce pain and disability of arthritis. The goal is to increase your daily activity level so you can do thirty minutes of activity every day. Your Physical Therapist will design your activity program to accomplish all the benefits you need.
4. Posture and/or Body Mechanics Education to help you use safer positioning of your body during daily activities. This can not only aid your recovery but can help you prevent further injury in the future.
How Many Treatments Do You Need?
It depends on the type and severity of your condition.
Contact us for a consultation today: 435-862-0125
By Troy Davis D.C., F.I.A.M.A.
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