What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition which causes inflammation of the joints, leading to the area becoming inflamed, painful and stiff. There are more than 200 types of arthritis; the most common being osteoarthritis, where the cartilage lining the bones in the joint breaks down due to wear and tear, and rheumatoid arthritis, where the body’s immune system attacks the joints, making them red and swollen. Arthritis is most common in the over 65s, however it can affect people of all ages.

How Can Physiotherapy Help?

There is currently no cure for arthritis; however physiotherapy can be highly effective in helping to reduce pain. Our experienced physiotherapists will help you to understand what happens to your joints and muscles when you have arthritis, which will in turn help you to manage its effects. They will focus on the reduction of pain and stiffness, as well as increasing your range of movement. Additionally, they will advise you on exercises you can do to help manage your pain.

Types of Treatment

Electrotherapy – by using ultrasound to reduce inflammation, pain, swelling and muscle spasms can be reduced.
Heat Treatment – can be used to help blood circulation and reduce pain.
Massage – to help relax the muscles and make joint movement more comfortable.
Exercise – this is vital in the treatment of arthritis. Our Physiotherapists will advise you on increasing your activity level at the correct rate and achieving the right balance between activity and rest.

Tips for Managing Your Pain

Ensure that you take regular exercise, on the advice of our Physiotherapists. This will improve your general fitness and also stimulate your body’s own natural pain-relieving hormones.
Maintain a healthy weight so that your joints are not placed under extra pressure.
Good posture will help you to carry your body weight evenly, protecting both your arthritic and healthy joints.
Cooling packs and heat packs can be used at home to relieve pain.

Case Study

The patient, a 68 year old woman, had suffered from osteoarthritis in her knees for 5 years. It was causing her pain, stiffness and reduced movement, which had got progressively worse over time. After an initial appointment to assess her symptoms, her Physiotherapist first used ultrasound to reduce inflammation in the joints. Once the pain had reduced, she then used massage and gentle joint mobilisation. She also put together a programme of specific exercises for the patient to do at home.

After receiving 4 weekly sessions of treatment, the patient reported a 90% decreased level of joint pain in her knees. By continuing to self manage through home exercises, she has been able to return to activities she had previously been unable to do, including gardening.

For further advice on how your arthritis can be treated, contact one of our experienced Physiotherapists today on 01423 884162.
Please be aware that there are many causes of pain and we will be covering other conditions in forthcoming blogs. If you have pins and needles, numbness or severe pain, please see your GP before starting any exercise or following advice on this page.