Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased range of motion. Age often plays a factor in the development of this condition.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid are the most common types of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the lining of the joint is attacked by the immune system. The area becomes inflamed and ultimately destroys the cartilage and bone located in the joint.
Osteoarthritis is more common. In this case, the joint’s cartilage is damaged by normal wear and tear, age, injury or even infection. Eventually, this cartilage disappears and the bones rub and grind together.
There are a variety of medications prescribed to treat the inflammation and pain of arthritis. These can be taken orally or administered by injection. Physical therapy, however, can play an important role in relieving the pain and preventing the progress of arthritis.
Exercise programs can significantly strengthen the surrounding muscles of the affected joints. Range of motion can be maintained. Balance, flexibility and endurance can all be maintained and even improved. If needed, assistive devices such as braces, walkers may be recommended for safety and comfort.
Patients who consistently exercise and apply the suggestions received at physical therapy enjoy greater comfort and an improved quality of life.
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