If you are living with arthritis, you’re not alone. In fact, there are over 100 different types of arthritis that people are diagnosed with. If you are living with painful, achy, or weak joints, you may be experiencing the symptoms of arthritis.
The most common demographic to be diagnosed with arthritis is the elderly; however, it is possible for people to develop arthritic symptoms in their early middle age, as well.
In a study published by the American Journal of Sports Medicine, it was discovered that male athletes who participate in professional sports are more likely to develop arthritis in their lifetime than the rest of the general population. In fact, the results of the study stated that 30% of male athletes involved in contact sports will end up eventually developing arthritis, due to overexertion and excessive “wear and tear.”
If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, or if you think you’re experiencing arthritic symptoms, contact Hands for Living today to set up a consultation. We’ll design the best treatment plan for your needs.
How will hand therapy help my arthritis?
A common treatment for arthritis is medication, usually for pain manageability. Your physician may prescribe NSAID pain relievers, corticosteroids, antirheumatic drugs, or antibiotics for your arthritis treatment. Medication is easy – you pop it in your mouth, chase it with water, and your pain subsides shortly afterward.
However, they can also cause some unfavorable side effects, and in some cases they can be habit-forming. With NSAIDs, you run the risk of blood clots, heart attack, or stroke. With corticosteroids, you run the risk of cataracts, high blood sugar levels, and bone loss. Luckily, there is a much safer and healthier alternative to treating arthritis: hand/occupational therapy.
If you believe you may be experiencing arthritic pain, and you’re looking for relief without the harmful risk of drugs, call our office today. We’ll set you up with a hand therapist who can help you kick the meds and reduce your arthritis symptoms!
Understanding the different types of arthritis:
- Osteoarthritis. This is the most common type of arthritis. It is caused by a reduction in joint cartilage through the “wear and tear” one experiences with age. This process of wearing down cartilage causes bones to rub together, which leads to pain and swelling. Hand therapy can often help to reduce osteoarthritis pain without medication, especially if it is diagnosed as mild-to-moderate.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis. Also referred to as inflammatory arthritis, this is the second most common type of arthritis. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks joint tissues with intense inflammation. Rheumatoid 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 in the feet. This is typically a result of reduced kidney function. Hand therapy can help gout patients restore range of motion in the affected area, and it can even reduce the buildup of acidic crystals that accumulate in the joints.
Get started on your treatment plan today:
There are 3 main goals of physical therapy treatments for arthritis:
1) relieving pain by decreasing the stress on your joints,
2) increasing your strength
3) improving your functional movements and range of motion.
Your treatment plan will be designed specifically for you, depending on the type of arthritis you are living with and the severity of your symptoms. This is done through targeted and proven methods, including:
- Rest. Your therapist will also recommend a schedule for rest and sleep to complement your exercises. This helps the body to heal and will hopefully reduce your amount of arthritic inflammation and pain.
- Posture improvement. Posture work will help to reduce stress on your joints.
- Stretching/exercise. Light exercises and stretching will help to increase range of motion in the affected areas.
- Weight control. Your hand 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.
If you are looking to find relief for your arthritic pains without the risk of potentially harmful pain-management drugs, contact our Lynnwood, WA office today! We’ll help you find the relief you need, the natural way.