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4 Ways Physical Therapy Can Help Relieve Your Arthritic Aching Joints

Do you ever wake up feeling stiff and achy, as if your body is being weighed down by a pile of bricks? Everyone wakes up feeling like this from time to time – you might have had a tough workout the day before, you might have spent an excessive amount of time on your feet running errands, or you might even be coming down with a cold. These are all common reasons why people might wake up feeling achy. However, if you find that it becomes a frequent occurrence, and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for your pain or stiffness, you may want to contact a physical therapist. Stiff and achy joints may certainly be the product of a minor issue that can be easily remedied. In other cases, it could be due to a larger, underlying issue that a doctor may have to diagnose. Whatever the case may be, physical therapy can help. Give us a call today at Silver Creek Physical Therapy to see how we can relieve your aches and pains!

Why do I ache in the mornings?

Sometimes your joint tissues can become irritated from overuse throughout the day, without you even realizing. When you fall asleep, you are almost completely immobile for several hours, which can cause inflammation of the tissues to grow thicker and further irritate the affected area. As a result, you wake up in the morning feeling stiff and achy. In most cases, this feeling will begin to ease quickly, after you get up and walk around. This is because movement causes the inflammation to become liquid-like, allowing pain to lessen. A simple remedy to avoiding achy morning wake-up calls is hydration. Staying hydrated allows your body’s tissues to function at their normal pace, whereas dehydration slows down your chemical processes. This will keep your tissues from becoming overly inflamed, easing irritation.

What if it’s more serious?

If your doctor has diagnosed you with a more serious medical condition that impacts your joints and tissues, physical therapy may be the next step. It is a common and effective treatment plan for pain relief that most doctors will suggest. Here are some of the most common ailments that can be relieved with the guidance of a physical therapist:

  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Gout.
  • Bursitis.
  • Lupus.
  • Bone cancer.

All of these conditions can cause aches, pains, and stiffness. Physical therapy treatment plans for these conditions will focus on helping you achieve a greater range of motion in your affected joints or limbs, in addition to providing pain relief. These work to improve overall function and help you get back to your normal mobility.

Arthritis and Joint Pain:

There are two main types of arthritis that are the most common culprits when it comes to joint pain: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Here is a closer look at these types of arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type of arthritis by far. It typically develops later in life and can be caused by poor body mechanics, overuse of the joint or an injury. The cartilage in joints serves as a natural barrier that lubricates and distributes force during physical activity. When that cartilage breaks down and no longer provides a cushion between adjoining bones, the result is osteoarthritis. The hands, hips, knees, and spine are the most common body parts impacted by osteoarthritis.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s healing systems attack the joints. This causes inflammation of the joints, which can be extremely painful. Rheumatoid arthritis usually begins in the hands, wrists, or feet, but it can spread to the hips, knees, or shoulders — getting progressively worse — if you aren’t proactive in combating it. If you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor will likely prescribe pharmaceutical treatments to stave off the symptoms. However, physical therapy can be a tremendous help as well.

Certain ailments like gout, bursitis, lupus, or tendinitis can also contribute to joint pain. The source of your joint pain may cause a specific course of physical therapy that is recommended for you to vary.

Tips for maintaining limber joints:

Your physical therapy regimen will be dependent upon your specific symptoms and/or diagnosis. However, many physical therapists will also suggest at-home remedies, in addition to your specialized treatment plan. Here are some tips that your physical therapist will likely share with you on your journey toward wellness:

  • Sleep it off. Getting a good night’s sleep creates an endless cycle of benefits, especially when it comes to physical therapy. Sufficient amounts of sleep will increase your ability to exercise effectively, which in turn will help you sleep better at night. Your sleep and exercise habits go hand-in-hand, and the results of one will always affect the other.
  • Eat right. Consumption of brightly colored fruits and vegetables can help alleviate pain. These healthy foods have more antioxidants and vitamins, which fight off the inflammation that leads to pain and irritation. A better diet also helps you to get better sleep and helps your body receive more benefit from exercise – thus, adding to the endless cycle of benefits.
  • Stand up straighter. Proper posture is a great way to avoid unnecessary aches and pains. If your work requires you to sit at a desk for long hours, or if you stay sedentary for long periods of time every day, try to get up every half hour for some light stretches. Relieve joint pain by moving around and keeping your circulation going. Try to avoid slouching or hunching at your desk, making sure that your spine is straight and your shoulders are back.

Whether it is a pop in the knee with every step that you take, or a crack of your fingers with every attempt to open a jar, chances are that you aren’t going to realize just how much you rely on your joints to perform up to par until you are experiencing regular joint pain.

Arthritis is one of the leading causes of joint pain, and this means that pain in the ankles, knees, elbows and hips can happen to just about anyone.

How did my arthritis develop?

Arthritis is a painful condition that can happen to anyone. While women are more likely to experience joint pain than are men, statistics show that almost two-thirds of those who suffer from arthritic joint pain are actually of working age–that means regardless of gender, those between the ages of 20 and 65 are actually at the greatest risk of experiencing this type of pain.

Understanding the ways to deal with this pain head on is the best approach to take. While pain medications can help to reduce the experience of arthritis pain, there is no pill that will cure the problem. This is why physical therapy is routinely referred to as among the best practices for treating arthritis joint pain.

The four main benefits of physical therapy for arthritic pains:

  1. Physical therapy can help to improve your range of motion. Working with a physical therapist is a great way to improve your range of motion, which supports optimal joint functionality.
  2. Physical therapists can target the source of joint pain. In some situations, arthritis pain may be triggered by an environmental factor. Working with a licensed and experienced physical therapist can provide you with insight into those causes of pain, and can help you make adjustments to environmental factors that may be enhancing your level of discomfort.
  3. Physical therapy can improve muscle strength, thereby supporting joints. Weakness in the surrounding muscles can put added stress on your joints, thereby causing your joints additional pain during even standard attempts at movement.
  4. Physical therapy can target pain through specialized treatments. Many physical therapists utilize additional forms of therapy including hot and cold therapy, therapeutic massage, and chiropractic care to provide optimal pain relief, and this can be incredibly helpful for arthritis pain.

Why physical therapy?

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting more than 50 million American adults. While often attributed to something people experience with old age, arthritis can actually happen at any time of life. In fact, more than 300,000 children and infants in the United States alone are diagnosed with arthritis—something that many of these children are forced to deal with from birth, therefore leaving a lifetime of joint pain to cope with.

Physical therapy is one of the highest rated treatments for arthritis pain. While so many people think of physical therapy as a treatment for following an injury or after a devastating health-condition like a heart attack or stroke, utilizing physical therapy for arthritis pain is both highly effective and recommended. In fact, many physical therapists work with people who struggle with arthritis pain daily.

Find relief with us:

If you are experiencing regular joint pain, then it may be time to contact your physical therapist at Silver Creek Fitness & Physical Therapy for support. Physical therapy is highly targeted and personalized to meet the needs of each individual, and so what is recommended for one person, or even for one particular injury or source of pain, may not be recommended in another situation.

The best way to ensure that your treatment is ideal for your personal needs is to consult your physical therapist.