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Can physiotherapy help your arthritis?

What Is Arthritis?
The word “arthritis” means “joint inflammation” and is often used in reference to rheumatic diseases. Rheumatic diseases include more than 100 conditions, including gout, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and many more. Rheumatoid arthritis is also a rheumatic disease, affecting about 1 percent of the population. Although rheumatoid arthritis often begins in middle age and is more frequent in the older generation, it can also start at a young age.

Physiotherapy treatment for arthritis is aimed at:

  • Reduction of pain and swelling
  • Promote range of joint movement
  • Improve mobility
  • Strengthen muscle power
  • Assist in rehabilitation after surgery such as hip replacement
  • Exercises
  • Reduce weight

Treatments may include:

Manual therapy: Mobilisation and manipulation techniques are passive movements applied to a joint or soft tissue by the physio in a specific manner to help restore full movement to a joint that is painful and restricted. Manual therapy is often useful in the chronic forms of arthritis and is often successful when other methods such as heat and exercises have given little or no relief.

Exercise: A balanced program of rest and exercise, and careful attention to joint posture is an important part of pain management, joint protection and maintenance of your joint function. Controlled exercise helps lessen pain and stiffness and improves the strength of muscles and ligaments, so helping to stabilise joints. This is essential in all aspects of self-care and particularly important before and after joint surgery.

Home Heat treatments: The application can be directed towards superficial or deeper parts of the body. The most common types of treatment used are infra-red radiation, hot packs for superficial treatments, and microwave diathermy and shortwave diathermy for deep heating treatment.

Self-Management: Individuals who participate in self-management programs notice decrease in joint pain and frequency of arthritis-related doctors’ visits, increases in physical activity and overall improvement in quality of life.

Hydrotherapy: is a very useful means of exercising arthritic joints using the buoyancy of water to assist or resist movement. The warmth of the water increases the circulation and helps reduce muscle spasms, producing more effective movement.

Physiotherapy treatment and advice can dramatically improve
the treatment and prevention of arthritis related pain.