A Physiotherapist can help you get moving safely and effectively. Physiotherapist examine, diagnose and treat or help prevent conditions that limit the bodys ability to move and function in daily life. Goals of physiotherapy in arthritis include improving the mobility and restoring the use of affected joints, increasing strength to support the joints and maintaining fitness and the ability to perform daily activities.
Arthritis is an inflammation of one or more joints, causing pain and stiffness that can worsen with age. Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. They can be mild, moderate, sever. They may stay about the same for years, but may worsen over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to walk or climb stairs. Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes. Medication will help, but a physiotherapist can help you on other strategies that will work alongside your medications.
Take regular graded exercise:
Graded exercise starts slowly and increases in small steps. This will help to strengthen your muscles and joints and increase your fitness and stamina which will help you to increase your level of activity without increasing your pain. Regular exercise will also stimulate production of your bodys own natural pain-relieving hormones (endorphins). You may have a slight increase in pain when you first start, but this should improve as your confidence and strength increase.
Physiotherapist individualize plan of exercises to improve flexibility, strength, coordination and balance to achieve optimal physical function. May also recommend various pain-relief treatments.
- ·Icepacks- can be used to soothe hot, swollen joints.
- ·Heat packs- will help to relax tense, tired muscle
Splinting- of swollen or painful joints may be helpful. Recommend different options, such as braces and splints to support joints, shoe inserts to relieve stress on the lower extremities.
TENS(Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)- works by blocking pain messages to the brain and modifying your perception of pain.
Using techniques such as ultrasound and low-level laser therapy can help to stimulate the healing process and therefore reduce pain.
Manipulation- can help to improve the range of movement in the joint. Its not appropriate for every patient, but your physiotherapist will be able to advise whether it could be useful to you.
Teach you proper posture and body mechanics for common daily activities to relieve pain and improve function. Teach 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, electrotherapy to ease joint pain and stiffness. Suggest modifications to your environment, such as ergonomics chairs or a cushioned mat in your kitchen, to relieve pain and improve function.
Improving your fitness: Keeping active is very important when you have arthritis. Joints are designed to move, and inactivity weakens the muscles and tissues around the joints. Exercise can increase your general fitness, help you to lose weight or keep to a healthy wealth, improve your general mobility and make you feel more self-confident.
How can you access physiotherapy services?
- ·You can be referred by your general physician or your consultant to your local or hospital physiotherapy department.
- ·You can make your own arrangements to see a physiotherapist without a doctors referral.
- ·If you could prefer to go private, you can self-refer to a private physiotherapy practice. If you do self-refer, its very important to give a full medical history to the physiotherapist at your first appointment.
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