Arthritis is a common condition that affects millions of Australians every year. It occurs when the cartilage that surrounds your bones becomes worn out, causing the bones of your joints to rub together. This friction is what results in inflammation, pain and discomfort.
In addition, arthritis can limit daily functions when it affects critical joints around the body- such as your knees, spine and elbows.
Causes of arthritic pain
Arthritis can be triggered by many different factors/conditions. For example, an injury to the joints or bone tissue can cause the cartilage to become dislodged. In addition, a bacterial infection in the surrounding tissues can also cause inflammation and erosion of bone cartilage.
Other causes of arthritis include hereditary issues and autoimmune conditions. Autoimmune diseases are particularly problematic because they cause your body to attack itself. This results in the wearing away of bone tissue and symptoms such as swelling, stiffness, pain and tender joints.
How physiotherapy can help you manage arthritis
While there are many proposed methods of treating arthritic pain, few are as effective as a thorough physiotherapy plan. Physio can be used to ease tension around affected joints and to promote natural healing.
By the body essentially healing itself, you will end up with healthier bone tissue and reduced pain in the long run. Here are several physiotherapy treatment plans that can help you manage arthritic pain.
1. Hot and cold therapy
Hot and cold therapy has been used for many years to improve blood circulation and heal affected muscles. With regards to arthritic pain, hot and cold therapy can promote the healing of affected tissues while alleviating pain.
During hot therapy, heat is applied to the affected joints to increase the flow of blood to those regions. Increased blood flow brings nutrients and soothes excessive discomfort. Cold therapy is also used to reduce the amount of blood that flows to an affected joint, so as to reduce inflammation and swelling.
2. Regular exercise around the affected joints
To prevent the affected joints from becoming overly stiff, light exercises can be carried out. These exercises keep your muscles and bone tissue healthy so as to fight off infections. Regular exercise also eases discomfort around joints that are necessary for movement (such as knees and elbows).
3. Using assistive devices to ease tension in the affected areas
Your physiotherapist may also suggest the use of assistive devices such as canes to ease the pressure and tension on weight-bearing joints. The idea is to balance between regular exercise and rest so as to soothe and heal the friction occurring inside your bones.