May is Arthritis Awareness Month
May is Arthritis Awareness Month. Nearly 59 million Americans (24% of the population) suffer from arthritis. The most common form is osteoarthritis. This debilitating condition can reduce dexterity and impede mobility, among other ailments.
How do I know if it is arthritis?
The most common symptoms of arthritis are: joint pain, joint swelling, morning stiffness that lasts longer than 30 minutes, and if the same joint on both sides of the body are affected (i.e., both the left and right wrist).
A doctor consultation is necessary, though, to confirm the diagnosis. The doctor will perform a series of tests, including a range of motion test, to determine if you have arthritis.
An effective way to treat arthritis is through physical therapy. Physical therapy can help slow the progression of arthritis and relieve joint pain that is commonly felt with this affliction.
A physical therapist will help increase and maintain your range of motion, strengthen your muscles, improve your balance, adjust your posture, perform strength training exercises, and advise on the best way to use assistive devices.
This is not easy for arthritis patients. They often are experiencing intense pain, so the thought of exerting themselves in those areas of pain is difficult. But this is where patients need to have a “no pain, no gain” attitude and trust the expertise of the physical therapist. Through their guidance, they can ensure a patient is moving their joints in a safe and effective way.
Strength training exercises are particularly important in treating arthritis. If muscles are weak around joints that are affected by arthritis, this can add stress, causing even more pain. If the weak muscles around the affected area are strengthened, this will actually slow the degenerative process of arthritis in the area.
The Arthritis Foundation has valuable resources if you are suffering from arthritis. Mount Sinai also has several valuable links.
To schedule an appointment with an Infinity Rehab therapist, email firstname.lastname@example.org.