It’s been a little while since I did a “guide” – so I decided to jump back in. This time I want to talk to you about osteoarthritis, and how physical therapy can help people that suffer from it.
What is Osteoarthritis?
First things first – as usual – before getting into it I want to explain what osteoarthritis is for those of you who do not know.
Your bones are connected at joints and a rubbery substance called cartilage coats the bones at these joints which helps to reduce friction when you walk and move around. In addition another protective oily substance (called synovial fluid) is also contained within the joint, and it’s job is also to help ease movement. When these protective coverings break down, the bones begin to rub together during movement which causes pain – this is osteoarthritis.
Factors that may increase risk for OA include:
– Your age. The simple fact is that as you get older your risk of developing OA increases because you have been using your joints for a long time.
– Your genetics. If you have someone in your family that suffers from OA the chances of you also having it increase.
– If you have past injuries. If you have injured a specific joint in the past that joint will have an increased risk of developing OA.
– Your occupation. If your job requires that you do repetitive motions such as squatting, bending, and twisting you are at a higher risk for developing OA. In fact people who have jobs that require prolonged kneeling like miners or flooring specialists are at a very high risk for developing OA.
– If you play sports. This is pretty straight-forward, since it’s obvious that athletes use their joints in extreme ways.
– If you are overweight. Due to the fact that being overweight increases stress to the weight-bearing joints, risk for developing OA is higher.
How Does it Feel to have Osteoarthritis?
Common symptoms of OA include:
– Stiffness in your joints, especially in the morning
– Stiffness in your joints after sitting or lying down for a long period of time
– Pain during daily activities
– Cracking, creaking, crunching, or other types of noise in your joints
– Increased bone growth around the joint that you may be able to feel
How Can a Physical Therapist Help?
Now this is where we come in – now that you know more about OA and its symptoms, it’s time to see how we can help. A physical therapist can effectively treat OA, and depending on how severe the OA is, physical therapy can actually help you avoid having surgery.
Although the symptoms and progression of OA are different for everyone, starting an exercise program that addresses your symptoms can slow the condition’s advance.
Here are a few ways we will help you:
– We will conduct an examination to determine your symptoms and what activities are difficult for you.
– We will design an exercise program to address those activities to improve movement and comfort levels.
– We will use manual (hands-on) therapy to improve movement of all the affected joints.
– We can offer suggestions for adjusting your work area to reduce the strain on your joints.
– If weight is an issue, we will teach you an exercise program for safe weight loss
So – is it time for you to get in touch with us so we can help you be more comfortable in your day-to-day life? Please give us a call at at 201-585-7300 or fill out our contact us form.