How Physical Therapy Helps Relieve Joint Pain
Physical therapy can substantially reduce pain and make residual aches easier to manage. While a good proportion of people seeking assistance for joint pain suffer from a form of arthritis, many of the techniques can be adopted for other causes. It is common for physical therapists to work alongside other healthcare professionals that adopt a universal approach to pain treatment. When used alongside occupational therapy these techniques can substantially reduce joint pain without needing to resort to excessive use of painkilling medication. Here are some of the most prominent ways that physical therapy helps reduce and relieve joint pain.
1) Improve Motion Range
A good proportion of pain is caused by stiffness and looking at ways to improve motion range will likely be one of the first therapeutic steps. Even small improvements – such as being able to improve knee or elbow range by as little as ten degrees – without causing pain can make a substantial difference to both the ease and quality of life. Once simple progress has been made the therapists will look at ways to build from this and deliver even better results.
2) Rebuild Muscles
Osteoarthritis is an especially painful condition that is caused by the friction of bones rubbing together without adequate muscular support. Physical therapists will look to specifically strengthen and enhance the remaining muscular tissue around afflicted joints to help alleviate the intensity and consistency of such pain. Expect a proportion of these treatments to be ongoing that the patient should be able to perform safely and comfortably at home in-between scheduled appointments.
3) Promote Balance
Many people who suffer from joint pain find that they also become unstable on their feet or difficult to maintain their balance. This is because of the pain caused by muscular erosion around the joints. Alongside the therapy discussed above, physical therapy will look at ways to help individuals rebalance by placing the focus on other stronger muscles. This is a skilled discipline that can substantially improve a person’s ability to safely perform daily tasks and remain independent.
4) Improve Posture
Posture and balance may go hand in hand but when a person is experiencing pain their posture is usually the first thing to fail. Finding ways to adjust posture that places less stress on damaged/painful joints while maintaining a secure balance will be at the forefront of proactive physical therapy. It is not just about mobility either. Experts will look at ways to help people sit and lay down in a more comfortable way that should also help to complement the strengthening aspects of their treatment plan.
5) Use Aids Effectively
Simple as it may sound there are right and wrong ways of using walking and mobility aids. Physical therapists will explore the ways that these can be used to help take weight away from damaged tissue without compromising overall mobility. This is an important part of supporting not just daily practical mobility but also to ensure that other treatments are not being undermined. Walking aids should be used not only to aid mobility but as an essential supportive component of a treatment schedule. Therapists will look at these on an individual case by case manner to ensure that the techniques suggested work best for the patient.
These five components will provide the mainstay methods that physical therapists will use to help people suffering from joint pain. When used together in a managed and personally tailored manner they can deliver fantastic results towards helping people stay independent and retain as much painless mobility as possible. While it is impossible to turn back the clock when it comes to joint pain, these methods and others can certainly help to substantially alleviate the problems such conditions can cause.