Arthritis: inflammation of a joint or joints characterized by pain and stiffness of the affected parts.
Since the beginning of 2012, arthritis affects nearly 52 million adults, or 23% of the United States population.
Arthritis may not be curable, but it can be treated. Treatment for arthritis includes many options. From medications to ice/heat combinations to physical and occupational therapy, treatment for arthritis is crucial to helping one feel less pain and able once again.
The key thing to remember with arthritis is that it is stiffness in the joint, or joints, and to really release some of that pain the area needs to moving and to not allow it to stiffen or tighten up. People tend to restrict movement in the areas that are affected by the arthritis.
Physical therapists are trained and certified to educate individuals on techniques to use at home or at the gym to help them alleviate some, if not all, of the pain that is associated with arthritis.
The main goal of physical therapy is allow a person to feel healthy enough to resume daily activities prior to their symptoms and diagnosis.
Occupational therapy specializes in showing individuals how to lessen the stress that your joints take on a daily basis. Simple tricks to remember for around the home or office area to reduce the likelihood of developing arthritis or increasing its existence come from occupational therapy. With technology increasing ever so much, it is becoming more prominent that people are developing arthritis in the arm, wrist, and finger areas.
Simple techniques to remember when treating yourself for arthritis are: rest, thermal modalities, and exercise.
Rest: This type of rest ranges from immobilizing specific areas that are affected to whole body rest for multiple affected joints. Splints, braces, and slings are all forms of concentrated individualized resting for specific single area arthritis. Whole body rest would typically be bed rest and would require multiple affected areas.
Thermal modalities: This is where you would apply heat/ice in intervals. Never applying either one for too long as it can harm the skin and/or body tissue. Keep a constant rotation between the two as heat relaxes the muscle and inflamed joints and ice controls the swelling.
Exercise: As previously stated, movement allows for the body to stay loose which in turn doesn’t allow the joints to stiffen or tighten up. Once the areas do tighten, pain increases. Make sure when given a exercise plan by your doctor or therapist, that it is followed daily in order to ensure maximum results. Each exercise plan will be specific for the area, or areas, that are affected.