Arthritis is a common problem that many people experience. It is a term used to describe any inflammation of the joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and is usually caused by the deterioration of a joint. Weight-bearing joints are typically the most affected; specifically the knees and hips. There are many physical therapy treatments available for osteoarthritis. If you’re interested in physical therapy treatments for chronic pain know that you can rely on Capitol Physical Therapy for effective and thorough treatment. It’s important to first fully understand what a condition is in order to then be able to treat it. So, let’s begin. What Is Osteoarthritis? As mentioned above, osteoarthritis is a chronic joint condition. It causes the two bones in joints to painfully rub together because the protective cartilage has broken down. It is this irritation that causes pain and stiffness, among other symptoms. While osteoarthritis can occur in adults of any age, it typically occurs in older adults and is a leading cause of disability. In the US, nearly a quarter of adults have arthritis in some form, and as mentioned earlier, osteoarthritis is the most common. What Are The Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis? Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint. Commonly affected areas of the body include hands, wrists, knees, hips and the spine. Symptoms can include pain, tenderness, stiffness, and inflammation. It is possible that these symptoms can become more intense as the osteoarthritis advances and it is not unusual for the joint and surrounding area to swell. How Is Osteoarthritis Different Vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis? Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis both have the same symptoms, but they are in fact very different conditions. The intensity of osteoarthritis increases over time because it is a degenerative condition. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder and this means that people with the condition have immune systems that assume that the soft lining around their joints is a threat to their body and therefore attack it. This attack is what causes the same symptoms of stiffness, pain, swelling and inflammation. If you think you might have arthritis but you are not sure which kind, it’s always best to consult with your medical doctor. What Causes Osteoarthritis? Osteoarthritis is primarily caused by joint damage. Joint damage itself can be caused by a number of different things including: \ttorn cartilage \tligament injuries \tdislocated joints \taccumulation over time This is why age is a common cause of joint damage which leads to osteoarthritis. It’s worth noting that joint malformation, obesity, and poor posture, along with family history and gender can also increase your risk of osteoarthritis. How Can Physical Therapy Help With Osteoarthritis? Recognizing early symptoms of osteoarthritis can help you to better manage the condition. Because it is a degenerative condition, we focus your treatment on symptom management. This treatment will vary depending on the severity of your symptoms and their location. Physical therapists can help if you have osteoarthritis in a number of ways. First and foremost is helping you to understand osteoarthritis, its complications and offer education about obesity and healthy lifestyle choices. This is because treatment is most effective when combined with lifestyle changes if required. For example, low-impact exercise (like walking or swimming) strengthens the muscles around your joints and can help to relieve stiffness. Bear in mind that being overweight can put an extra strain on your joints and increase your risk of osteoarthritis. A healthy weight reduces this risk and also lowers the risk of other health problems like heart disease and diabetes. Another example of a lifestyle change is to ensure that you receive adequate sleep because it can help to reduce swelling and inflammation. Then, the next step is that your physical therapist can provide treatments to lessen your pain and improve movement. Your physical therapist will create an exercise plan designed to restore movement and reduce muscle pain. As with any physical program, it will be important for you to diligently stick to it in order for you to see progress. It may be difficult at first, but the rewards will come as your muscles strengthen and better support your joints. Combining physical therapy and lifestyle changes is the best way to reduce the pain, stiffness and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. While it will never go away, the goal is ultimately to mitigate the symptoms so that you enjoy relief in your day to day life. Book An Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy There are many different ways in which consulting a physical therapist is beneficial for mitigating the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Remember, it’s important to first go to your medical doctor to understand what kind of arthritis you are experiencing in order to then proceed to the appropriate treatment. If you have osteoarthritis, call Capitol Physical Therapy today to book an appointment with one of our many skilled physical therapists who can help to relieve your symptoms and restore movement.