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Arthritis

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Arthritis is a name for a group of conditions affecting the joints. These conditions cause damage to the joints, usually resulting in pain and stiffness. Arthritis can affect many different parts of the joint and nearly every joint in the body. There are over many forms of arthritis. Each type of arthritis affects you and your joints in different ways. Some forms of arthritis can also involve other parts of the body, such as the eyes. The most common forms of arthritis are: • osteoarthritis • rheumatoid arthritis • gout • ankylosing spondylitis. Arthritis can affect any age group including children and young people.  Many people think arthritis is a normal part of getting older. This is not true. In-fact two out of every three people with arthritis are between 15 and 60 years old. Arthritis can affect people from all backgrounds, ages and lifestyles. Arthritis affects people in different ways but the most common symptoms are: • pain • stiffness or reduced movement of a joint • swelling in a joint • redness and warmth in a joint • general symptoms, such as tiredness, weight loss or feeling unwell.

Physiotherapy management:
Many types of arthritis can be easily and effectively controlled by modern treatment. Early diagnosis and the right treatment can ease symptoms and may even prevent damage to your joints. Research has led to great improvements in this area. Because arthritis affects people in different ways, treatment has to be tailored to the needs of each person. It is important to work with your healthcare team to find treatments that suit you. Physiotherapist (PT) can develop an individualized program for flexibility, strength, coordination, balance and aerobic exercise.

  •  Teach you proper posture and body mechanics for common daily activities to relieve pain and improve function.
  •  Show you how to properly use assistive devices such as walkers and canes.
  •  Recommend different treatment options, such as braces and splints to support joints, shoe inserts to relieve stress on the lower extremities, and hot and cold therapy to ease joint pain and stiffness.
  •  Suggest modifications to your environment, such as ergonomic chairs or a cushioned mat in your kitchen, to relieve pain and improve function.

Physiotherapy can consist of modalities to control pain (hot and cold packs, electric stimulation, ultrasound), exercise and manual therapy techniques aimed at improving joint mobility and soft tissue mobility. One study showed that patients who received both exercise and manual therapy vs just exercise showed better improvements with pain, stiffness, motion and function compared to those with exercise only. the improvements with the manual therapy group were still better 29 weeks later when rechecked.

 Working Out Through Pain: Exercise is crucial if you have arthritis. But knowing just how much activity to do when you’re hurting can be tricky. After all, research has shown that moderate activity can help prevent the progression of arthritis and improve overall function. But while mild muscle soreness after a workout is normal, sharp pain during or immediately after can signal injury. And sometimes simply the fear of pain can keep you from wanting to do any kind of exercise at all. Here’s how to determine when it’s OK to work through exercise pain – and when it’s not.

 

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