Can Physical Therapy Help Arthritis? Part II
How Is Arthritis Diagnosed?
The physician will make a diagnosis based on the patient’s presenting symptoms. When osteoarthritis is suspected, a physician will order x-rays to determine if there has been an uneven loss of cartilage, as well as spurring of the underlying bone.
Blood tests and joint aspiration are sometimes used to rule out other types of arthritis. In joint aspiration, a needle is used to draw a small sample of fluid from the painful joint for testing.
In testing for rheumatoid arthritis, a newer test (called the anti-CCP test) measures levels of antibodies in the blood. This test is more specific, and test results tend to be elevated only in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and even in patients who are about to develop RA. When anti-CCP antibodies are present, doctors may be able to predict which patients will experience rheumatoid arthritis more severely.
The Important Role of Physical Therapy in Arthritis Treatment
People with arthritis often have stiff joints, and frequently avoid movements that can increase pain in the affected joints. However, the pain and stiffness will worsen by not moving arthritic joints, so exercise programs can go a long way in maintaining a person’s mobility. Your physical therapist (PT) can teach you how to work out the stiffness of arthritis without causing further damage to the affected joint.
Depression and anxiety are often experienced by those who live with chronic pain and having any form of arthritis can have a negative impact on emotional health and wellbeing. Growing evidence shows that inflammation can worsen or initiate symptoms of depression.
A research study published in 2011 showed that measurements of physical and mental health were consistently two to 3 times worse in those with arthritis, as compared to those without arthritis. Interestingly, those with arthritis and who were physically active were 50% less likely to rate their health as poor, in contrast to those who reported they didn’t get much exercise.
Stress and anxiety influence pain levels, as well as poor sleep and depression. Treating arthritis, and treating anxiety and depression are critical for living life to the fullest.
The goal of your physical therapist at Physical Therapy Now in Miami is to help you return to performing everyday activities without difficulty. Physical therapists help arthritis patients in these ways:
- Increasing the person’s range of motion is a primary focus of physical therapy.
- Building muscle strength around the affected joint(s) helps to better stabilize a weak or damaged joint.
- The goal of physical therapy exercises is to lessen joint pain and stiffness. Along with improved range of motion, these exercises increase your mobility, keeping you active and independent.
- Arthritis pain is often managed with a combination of treatments, including medications, hot and cold therapy, exercise, and various other physical therapy options.
Can Physical Therapy Help Arthritis?
Yes, it can. Regular physical therapy sessions will ease the pain associated with arthritis through various exercises and movements that have been proven to improve the condition.
Call us today at 1-800-481-4582 to schedule your arthritis care with our trained physical therapists. We’re here to help you live your best life!