Arthritis is a common health concern, but what you may not realize is that it’s an umbrella term.
“Arthritis” means inflammation of the joints, but there are over a hundred different types of it.
Osteoarthritis is the most common one, however, and is usually caused by the deterioration of a joint.
If you have osteoarthritis, it will most likely affect your knees, hips, and hands.
While there is currently no known cure for osteoarthritis, physical therapy treatments for chronic pain can help.
But for many people, it’s important to first fully understand what a condition is before seeking treatment.
Today’s article, of course, is on osteoarthritis.
Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a chronic joint condition.
A joint is, essentially, where two bones connect with each other.
They provide you with a combination of flexibility to move around, and strength to support yourself and protect your organs.
With osteoarthritis, the two bones in your joint painfully rub together because the protective layer between them has worn 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.
However, it most commonly affects the following areas:
- Your wrists
- Your knees
- Your hips
- Your spine
- Your hands
Symptoms can include pain, tenderness, stiffness, and inflammation.
It’s possible for these symptoms to become more intense as your osteoarthritis progresses.
It’s 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.
This means your immune system mistakes the soft lining around your joints as a threat to your body, and therefore attacks it.
This attack is what causes the same symptoms of stiffness, pain, swelling and inflammation.
You can see how both types require very different types of treatment due to their different causes.
If you think you might have arthritis but you are not sure which kind, it’s always best to consult with your primary care provider.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
The exact cause of osteoarthritis can be difficult to pinpoint, and is a constant subject for ongoing study.
But often, osteoarthritis is primarily caused by joint damage.
Joint damage itself can be caused by a number of different things including:
- Torn cartilage
- Ligament injuries
- Dislocated joints
- Accumulation over time
This is why age is a common cause of joint damage which leads to osteoarthritis.
There are a number of risk factors for osteoarthritis as well, including:
- Congenital joint abnormalities
- Poor posture
- A family history of osteoarthritis
- Being a woman
How Can Physical Therapy Help With Osteoarthritis?
Recognizing early symptoms of osteoarthritis can help you to better manage your condition.
This will also help you to slow down the progression of the condition as much as possible.
Because it is a degenerative condition, we at Capitol Physical Therapy focus your treatment on symptom management.
This treatment will vary depending on the severity of your symptoms and their location.
The good news is that recent studies have indicated that physical therapy is an excellent treatment for both symptom management and controlling the development of your condition.
There are a number of ways physical therapists can help if you have osteoarthritis.
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.
This can relieve inflammation, help to relieve stiffness, and can help maintain your mobility.
But, bear in mind that being overweight can put an extra strain on your joints and increase your risk of osteoarthritis.
Another example of a lifestyle change is to ensure that you receive adequate sleep because it can help to reduce swelling and inflammation.
These are some small changes that can help you to feel better over time.
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.
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 Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy Today
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’re dealing with in order to then proceed with the appropriate treatment.
If you have osteoarthritis, call Capitol Physical Therapy today to book an appointment with one of our many skilled physical therapists.
Our mission is to help relieve your symptoms and restore movement.
1331 H St NW #200,
Washington, DC 20005
9560 Pennsylvania Ave. # 202,
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Capitol Physical Therapy offers orthopedic and other pain related solutions, with our versitile team of physical therapists in Washington, DC