Are you one of the millions of people who suffer from arthritis pain or joint pain? Do you take prescription medication to ease the stiffness and swelling in you joints? Are you looking for an alternative to manage your pain and increase your productivity and quality of life? If you said yes to any of these questions, then read on.
Physical therapy is one of the primary methods arthritis patients use to manage and alleviate their arthritic pain. Some of the different kinds of therapy include: occupational therapy, massage therapy, TENS therapy and basic physical therapy. Before you begin any kind of physical therapy treatment, consult with your doctor to determine if this will be beneficial for you. Once you have been cleared for treatment, you may want to ask your doctor, a friend, or a family member to recommend a professional therapist in your area. You may also want to look up therapists online and read their patient reviews.
Types of Physical Therapy:
- Occupational Therapy – This kind of treatment focuses on educating you in how to use fluid movements without injuring yourself. Depending on your lifestyle, you and the therapist will discuss your needs and your expectations. For example, you may want to be able to reach items in your kitchen cabinets easier. The therapist may mention certain movements to help you reach for an object and protect your joints at the same time. They may also recommend a walker, cane, or orthotics to assist you in your daily activities, therefore you will maintain your independence and quality of life. Most insurance companies usually cover this kind of treatment.
- Massage Therapy – Not only is a massage relaxing, but it also stimulates your circulatory system and helps your body flush out toxins. Increasing blood flow to the joints naturally reduces pain levels and automatically eases overall body movements. Be sure to drink water within 20 minutes of your massage, to help your body eliminate the toxins that the massage released into your body. This is key, otherwise the toxins will be reabsorbed into your body. The only down side to this is that most insurance companies do not cover this kind of therapy and massages can be costly. Even if you can afford a massage on a monthly basis, it is still beneficial for your pain and overall health.
- TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) Therapy – This type of therapy sends subtle electrical impulses to the inflamed region through small discs that are placed to your skin. This is a short-term treatment and temporarily blocks the pain in your affected area and usually requires multiple treatments. TENS Therapy may be covered by your insurance company, but double check to make sure.
- Physical Therapy – Physical therapy is similar to occupational therapy, except it focuses on specific muscle groups. You and your physical therapist will discuss your individual pain levels, the joints that effect you the most, your lifestyle and your expectations. They will help you strengthen the muscles around your joints and set reasonable goals for yourself. You will probably have frequent appointments in the beginning; however, as your progress improves, your visits to the physical therapist will become less. Most insurance companies usually cover this type of treatment for pain management. The key to the success of this treatment is that you maintain your exercise routine at home. Even if you are not feeling particularly motivated to exercise, at least take a brisk walk; making sure you pump your arms and walk at a moderate pace. This will increase your blood circulation and as mentioned earlier, relieve some pain. Patients that continue their exercise program at home have improved their lifestyle and independence.
As you can see, there are several physical therapy options available for people who suffer from arthritis. At first, people who take medications for pain management add physical therapy as part of their treatment program. Some arthritis patients prefer one type of physical therapy treatment while others use any combination of treatments. It all depends on the individual and what their looking to accomplish. Depending on the person’s progress in the physical therapy program and if they have the doctor’s permission, some people have even reported that they have reduced their intake of pain medications.
Which kind of therapy is right for you? Take a chance and try one. If one kind does not appeal to you, simply try another until you find one that does. This is the beauty of physical therapy.