While it’s true that arthritis suffers can find relief through movement and exercise, those living with the disorder may naturally assume such treatments would be painful. But not so, said physical therapist Mary Rose Strickland, PT, DPT, OCS, with New Life Physical Therapy in Portage, Baraboo and Westfield.
Movement is very important for those who suffer from arthritis, but that doesn’t mean you have to move through intense pain, said Strickland. The key is finding safe exercises that improve mobility and then can later be built upon to result in improved strength and function.
For instance, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), older adults with knee osteoarthritis who engage in moderate physical activity at least three times each week can reduce the risk of arthritis-related disability by 47 percent. Working with a physical therapist to develop a customized treatment and exercise plan will work to encourage mobility while maintaining or rebuilding strong muscles that allows individuals to continue doing the important things in their life.
An ailment often associated with seniors and the elderly, the CDC estimates that 62 percent of adults with arthritis are actually under the age of 65. About 52.5 million adults and 294,000 children suffer from some form of arthritis, says the CDC.
According to Strickland, physical therapy is effective in treating most types of arthritis. Through the facilitation of fluid joint movement as well as the improvement of muscle strength and flexibility, arthritis pain and joint stiffness can be reduced.
The key, Strickland adds, is following individualized treatment plans that consist of pain-tolerant movements and exercises designed to expand over time as pain subsides. Movement, she said, offers nourishment to the joints, areas where degenerative changes to cartilage is likely occurring.
Our joints have a way of naturally pumping out and removing wasteful byproducts within the joint that can cause it harm, Strickland said. This system is stimulated through the facilitation of movement through exercise and mobility, offering natural nourishment to the joints.
Improving muscle strength is also effective in treating arthritis. With stronger muscles, Strickland said, come better joint stability and reduced joint stress, which together can reduce arthritis pain.
Such physical therapy treatments can also prevent the need for dangerous and costly surgeries or prescription pain medication in order to maintain personal happiness and independence, Strickland added.
To learn more about how physical therapy can benefit arthritis sufferers, or to schedule an initial assessment with a licensed physical therapist, contact the team at New Life Physical Therapy.