Arthritis Awareness – The Do's and Dont's

Last updated
16 May 2024
Category
Pain Management

Arthritis Awareness

Arthritis is a leading cause of pain and disability worldwide. You can find plenty of advice about easing the pain of arthritis and other conditions with movement, exercise, analgesics (medication), treatment and therapy, stretching, and stress reduction. Which is why, during Arthritis awareness month, Orthopedic Spine & Sports Therapy is looking at the dos and don’ts of effectively managing this chronic condition. So let’s break them down.

You’re off to a great start by learning the basics regardless of what type of arthritis you may have. Set yourself up for success by determining the following:

  • Learn all you can about the type of arthritis you have. CDC-Types of Arthritis
  • Understand from your physician if there is already joint damage.
  • Journal your pain to share with health care providers so that they can be an active participant in your health care providers so that they can be an active participant in your health care solution.

Regardless of the type of arthritis, we can all agree it’s painful, debilitating and

discouraging, but it doesn’t have to be. We’re going to look at the TEAM” of managing arthritis. What is TEAM” you ask? It’s simple, it stands for:

T — Treatment & Therapy

E — Exercise

A — Analgesics or Medication(s)

M — Movement

Team

It’s no surprise that arthritis pain has a negative effect on your mood. If everyday activities make you hurt, you’re bound to feel discouraged.

Physical therapy (PT) can help you get moving safely and effectively by examining, diagnosing, and treating or by helping to prevent conditions that limit the body’s ability to move and function in daily life, according to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

Orthopedic Spine & Sports Therapy’s Physical Therapists goal for treating your arthritis may include:

  • Improving the mobility and restoring the use of affected joints,
  • Increasing strength to support the joints,
  • Guidance and Encouragement on Maintaining fitness,
  • Preserving the ability to perform daily activities.
  • Teach you proper posture and body mechanics for common daily activities to relieve pain and improve function.
  • Recommend different treatment options, such as 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.

The goal of a physical therapy session is to teach you how to do things in your treatment plan that support everyday functions without further damaging the joints or unnecessary pain-such as performing certain exercises. The visits are often short — about 30 min to an hour-and focus on identifying problems with your physical function and giving you strategies for care that you can do at home.

Other great treatment or therapies are available to help manage the impact of arthritis such as:

Massage. Massage might improve pain and stiffness temporarily. Make sure your massage therapist knows where your arthritis affects you.

Heat and cold. Use of heat, such as applying heating pads to aching joints, taking hot baths or showers. Use of cold, such as applying ice packs to sore muscles, can relieve pain and inflammation after strenuous exercise.

Acupuncture. Some people get pain relief through acupuncture treatments, when a trained acupuncturist inserts hair-thin needles at specific points on your body. It can take several weeks before you notice the improvement.

Relaxation therapy. Meditating, doing yoga, deep breathing, listening to music, being in nature, writing in a journal — do whatever helps you relax. There’s no downside to relaxation!

PT Pic

Exercise

Exercise looks different for everyone. A teenager’s exercise routine may look much different than a middle-aged person’s exercise routine. Keeping that in mind it’s important to note that exercise can cause joint pain if overdone or approached incorrectly. It’s important to choose the right activities, those that build muscle around the joints but don’t damage them. High impact activities like running and jumping may cause more damage to the joints if you have poor mechanics.

Orthopedic Spine and Sports Therapy offers Gait and Run Analysis” to improve your mechanics and decrease the stress on the joints. Motion is Lotion” but be conservative and progressive with your exercise routine. Slow and steady wins the race! CDC-Physical Activity for Arthritis.

Exercise Pic

Analgesics

Analgesics are medications used in the management and treatment of pain. They include several classes of medications (acetaminophen (Tylenol), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs-Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, Aleve), antidepressants, antiepileptics, local anesthetics, and opioids). Over-the-counter medications can help relieve occasional pain triggered by muscle and joint pain. Always be sure to consult with your doctor when incorporating any new medications.

Medication has a double edge to it since it can relieve pain, but it does come with risks to avoid.

Overtreatment of over-the-counter medications can be serious, and you should talk to a healthcare provider. Everything should be done in moderation!

Med Pic

Movement

Movement is essential in your everyday routine to keep your joints moving. Movement is the trigger mechanism to release the grease” to our joints. The synovial fluid in our joints basically works like car grease; you need to move your joints for them to stay lubricated. Doing daily, gentle movements like walking, biking, swimming, climbing stairs, stretching, walking the dog, water activities are overall low impact physical activities and are great ways to ease arthritis pain.

Exercise is a more physical activity that is planned, structured and repetitive. When you have arthritis, movement can decrease your pain and stiffness, improve your range of motion, strengthen your muscles, and increase your endurance.

TEAM up with yourself to play a crucial role in controlling your arthritis by attending regular appointments with your healthcare provider and following the recommended treatment plan discussed. Remember it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis to start early and effective treatment to minimize symptoms and prevent the disease from progressing especially in arthritis like lupus, rheumatoid, and gout.

Orthopedic Spine & Sports Therapy is dedicated to TEAM up with our patients to help manage their arthritis. Call us today for a free consultation to talk to one of our therapists about what your plan 

could look like. We also offer massage therapy and movement classes, motion is lotion” which helps you strengthen your core and encourages full body range of motion to keep you

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