Joint Pain

Physical Therapy for Joint Pain

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, severe joint pain related to arthritis affects one out of every four adults in the United States. Perhaps even more importantly, nearly half of those afflicted suffer from persistent pain. Physical therapy can help to manage your joint pain safely and effectively.

Why Physical Therapy Works for Joint Pain

Joint pain can be caused by a wide variety of issues, including arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, injury, surgery, or another underlying health condition. This type of pain is most commonly experienced in parts of the body that do most of the moving, such as the knees, shoulders, ankles, hips, neck, and back. While there are many clinical options available to help patients manage their pain, only physical therapy can provide long-lasting relief. This is because it is the only treatment modality that targets the root cause for joint pain.

Physical therapy is effective for joint pain because it:

  • Strengthens the muscles around joints
  • Improves the range of motion of the joints
  • Improves the patient’s flexibility, balance, and mobility

Using Manual Therapy to Deal With Acute and Chronic Joint Pain

For many people dealing with acute and chronic joint pain, over-the-counter and prescription drugs are often the first line of treatment provided by their doctors. The problem with these products is that they only offer temporary relief, and come with a high incidence of additional side effects. In the end, drugs only mask pain; they do not resolve it. For consistent long-term relief, manual therapy along with other physical therapy treatments offers a better solution.

Common Conditions Leading to Joint Pain

Several common acute and chronic conditions can quickly lead to joint pain for many people. These conditions can include:

  • Injury
  • Surgery to repair injury or treat other conditions
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Neuropathic pain or peripheral neuropathy
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Bursitis (joint inflammation)
  • Tendonitis
  • Sprains
  • Ankylosing spondylitis

When injury occurs to a joint, the damage and inflammation that results significantly weakens the joint and the muscles surrounding it. For this reason, strengthening the support structures and increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the affected area are the two most important factors in healing the joint.

Treating pain and stiffness in joints with physical therapy starts with a thorough evaluation of the patient’s condition and how pain is presenting in the body. This is typically followed by strictly abiding by a treatment plan that can include exercises performed at appointments and in the patient’s own time at home. Manual therapies are used to increase blood and oxygen flow to the affected areas to decrease inflammation, and other therapeutic techniques including ISTYM are employed to help improve muscle strength and joint resiliency.

Safe and Effective Joint Pain Relief Is Attainable

Physical therapy, when performed by a physical therapist can be an important component of a treatment strategy for patients experiencing chronic or acute joint pain. This is true regardless of the underlying cause. Through exercises and manual therapies, physical therapists can assist patients experiencing joint pain, improve their health and overall quality of life.

If you’re suffering from joint pain, relief is available. It does require a commitment to a physical therapy program, but gradually you will notice your pain and inflammation lessening and your joint becoming stronger and more flexible. Contact us today or click here to schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists.