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Physical Therapy and Arthritis

The Arthritis Advisor, which is a publication of the Clevaland Clinic, recently printed an article titled “Physical Therapy: An Easy Defense Against Pain” which discussed the benefits of physical therapy (PT) for arthritis patients. The study’s main idea was that in people who do not need joint replacement surgery, the addition of physical therapy to usual care led to less pain and improved physical function.  The article is in reference to a recent research study on arthritis and physical therapy.  An important finding of the research study was that patients who received only normal medical care (no PT) “deteriorated significantly over the two-year follow up” while patients with PT “led to less pain and improved physical function”.  The article only briefly mentions how PT can help so we are going to cover some of the ways that PT can help for those with arthritis.

Physical Therapy can help those with arthritis through several different treatments including joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization, stretching, strengthening, and some other treatments depending on the individual.  Working on all of these can help to normalize muscle and strength imbalances that may be leading to pain.  Joint mobilization helps to move the joints and loosen structures to increase your range of motion.  Soft tissue mobilization, or massage, can help to decrease pain in the tissues and help them glide over each other to make moving easier.  Stretching can improve your range of motion and take pressure off of the joints. Strengthening weak muscles helps to redistribute forces through the joint and decrease the amount of pressure through the joint.  Combining all of these treatments,  and possibly others depending on the individual, multiplies their effect and leads to great outcomes for the individual.  This will mean that you can do more of the things you love with less of the pain you hate.   

For additional information please read our previous blog post on Arthritis here:  or read the article from The Arthritis Advisor here: