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treat arthritis pain naturally

Treating Arthritis Pain Without The Meds

Arthritis is a catch-all term used to describe more than 100 different kinds of joint pain and joint disease. While arthritis is commonly believed to be a condition that afflicts the elderly, the reality is that it can strike people in early middle age. In fact, elite male athletes are more likely to develop arthritis than the general public. Arthritis medications and pain medicines can cause some nasty side effects. So, if you’re looking for a natural treatment for arthritis, consider meeting with a physical therapist at Spaulding Physical Therapy Mount Sterling, KY to learn how you can kick the meds and reduce your arthritis symptoms.

What Is Arthritis?

Osteoarthritis: The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. This is caused by a reduction in joint cartilage as it wears away through age or “wear and tear.” This causes bones to rub together, which leads to pain and swelling. Physical therapy can often help to reduce arthritis pain without medication, especially if the arthritis is mild to moderate.

Inflammatory Arthritis: In certain cases, the body’s immune system will attack joint tissues with intense inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis is one example of this type of condition. Inflammatory arthritis often has a genetic cause, and doctors usually treat it aggressively with drugs. However, depending on the severity of symptoms, physical therapy may be recommended for treatment as well.

Metabolic Arthritis: The most common type of metabolic arthritis is gout, a condition caused by uric acid crystals building up in the joints of the extremities, especially the feet. It’s typically caused by reduced kidney function. Physical therapy can help gout patients restore range of motion in the affected area and even reduce the buildup of the acidic crystals that accumulate in the joints.

Arthritis in Athletes

According to a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, about 30 percent of elite male athletes who engage in contact sports such as football will develop arthritis in the knees and hips. That’s compared to about 19 percent of the general public. The wear and tear on the joints that results from high-contact sports increases the likelihood of developing arthritis. Soccer and handball players were found to be twice as “at risk” of arthritis later in life, and hockey players are three times as likely to develop arthritis.

Arthritis Medications

Depending on the type of arthritis that a person has, doctors may prescribe NSAID pain relievers, corticosteroids, antirheumatic drugs or antibiotics. All of these carry a risk of side effects, and some can be extremely serious. NSAIDs can lead to an increased risk of blood clots, heart attack or stroke. Corticosteroids can contribute to cataracts, cause high blood sugar levels or even contribute to bone loss — which is terrible when you consider that the patient is already dealing with arthritis!

Physical Therapy for Arthritis

The goals when working with a physical therapist for arthritis treatment will include preserving a good range of motion, increasing strength to reduce stress on the joints, and other natural treatment options. Here are some of the benefits of working with our physical therapists:

  • Your physical therapist will work with you to control your weight through exercise and diet. Controlling your weight helps to prevent added stress on weight-bearing joints.
  • Posture work will help to reduce stress on your joints.
  • Light exercises and stretching will help to increase range of motion in the affected areas.
  • Your therapist will also recommend a schedule for rest and sleep to complement your exercises. This helps the body to heal and hopefully reduce arthritic inflammation and pain.

Every treatment regimen is different based on your body’s needs and your particular type of arthritis. The best way to get started on a med-free treatment through physical therapy is to contact Spaulding Physical Therapy Mount Sterling, KY and scheduling an appointment with one of our physical therapists.

Arthritis Pain Sufferer? Find Out How to Stop the Pain & Get Relief

Arthritis pain is a common and growing problem for many Americans today. According to recent statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), osteoarthritis (OA), is the most common type of arthritis and now afflicts at least 13.9% of the adult population, aged 25 or older. OA and other types of arthritis are serious degenerative diseases, characterized by the wearing away of joint cartilage over time. As the cartilage wears away, the affected joint experiences pain and damage when unprotected bone surfaces rub together. This damage leads to:

  • poor tissue strength
  • inflammation
  • bone spurs
  • pain
  • muscle weakness
  • joint flexibility issues
  • mobility issues

Because this type of arthritis causes physical changes in the cartilage, joints and bones, it can cause debilitating pain, along with stiffness and swelling that can make normal activities painful and difficult. As a degenerative disease, osteoarthritis is implicated in more than 47% of the total arthritis-related hospitalizations due to arthritis, many of which involve joint replacement procedures to help relieve symptoms.

 

What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Arthritis?

 

Many people begin experiencing symptoms of arthritis years before being formally diagnosed and attempt to treat these early symptoms through over-the-counter drugs, massage and herbal remedies. By failing to seek medical treatment and physical therapy early, more damage results and the arthritis symptoms continue to worsen. Common early symptoms often include:

  • experiencing pain when performing normal daily activities
  • experiencing stiffness or a limited range of motion
  • unexplained swelling or tenderness
  • balance issues
  • intermittent pain
  • difficulties in completing normal daily tasks, such as dressing, lifting household items and work-related activities

 

What Can Arthritis Sufferers Do to Lessen the Pain and Improve Quality of Life?

 

Since arthritis pain often flares in response to stress and exertion, arthritis sufferers can help prevent painful flare-ups by:

  • using care and proper techniques when lifting heavy objects, such as flexing the knees and using both hands to lift, instead of just one
  • doing frequent stretches to help keep joints supple and flexible
  • exercising to strengthen the muscles that help to support and protect the affected joints
  • drink enough water daily to ensure that the body’s tissues, joints and cartilage remain properly hydrated
  • avoid eating foods that are known to cause inflammation, such as soft drinks, fried foods, sweets, processed foods and salty snacks
  • have arthritis pain medically evaluated and treated, instead of relying on increasing amounts of OTC pain relievers which can have serious side effects
  • consider physical therapy to increase mobility and decrease pain before symptoms become debilitating 

How Can Physical Therapy Help With Arthritis Pain?

 

When arthritis pain strikes, people often unconsciously adjust or make small, but important changes in the way they move to avoid or lessen the pain and discomfort. Joints and muscles that are not used as fully may then become even stiffer and more inflamed, creating a vicious circle of pain that further aggravates and increases the arthritis symptoms.

 

Physical therapists are specifically trained to understand the way each bit of human cartilage, bone and muscle are designed and how to help them work more smoothly to relieve arthritis pain, stiffness and swelling. High quality physical therapy administered by trained professionals helps arthritis sufferers improve muscle strength, increase joint mobility and maintain joint health. To find out more about how physical therapy can help you lessen arthritis pain and increase your mobility, as well as get answers to specific questions about arthritis and the effects it has on the human body, contact us today. Our goal is to increase your quality of life!