How Physical Therapy Can Help Relieve Your Arthritis Pain (Without Opioids!)

How Physical Therapy Can Help Dec20th 2020

Arthritis pain is one of the most frustrating types of pain. It is chronic, it is intense, and it can interfere with just about everything that you like to do throughout the day, from reducing your grip strength to making it difficult to shift between sitting and standing. There are many different types of medications that are recommended to help ease the discomfort of arthritis pain, but the use of long-term pain medication comes with its own set of complications and health risks, and since arthritis pain is not something that will naturally heal on its own, there is a growing danger of developing a dependency on an opioid-based pain medication. What’s more, the relief offered by pain medications doesn’t actually work to relieve the inflammation or address the problem that is causing the arthritis pain, so as soon as the medication wears off or you opt to stop taking the medication you are likely to begin experiencing all of the pain and discomfort once again.

You don’t need to rely on pain medication to experience relief from arthritis pain. Alternative strategies, including physical therapy, can work wonders to help alleviate the pain of arthritis by reducing inflammation and increasing range of motion, thereby supporting enhanced mobility and helping to significantly cut down on the amount of discomfort experienced regularly by arthritis.

There are four primary reasons as to why physical therapy can help to alleviate arthritis pain:

Physical therapy can reduce arthritis pain by increasing your range of motion. Many forms of arthritis develop surrounding joints, and this can make it impossible to engage in a full range of motion with that joint. This may mean having difficulty or experiencing pain as you attempt to sit, especially if you are experiencing arthritis at the knees or hips, or when you attempt to write or pick up a heavy item, as would be the case if you develop arthritis in the hands, wrists or shoulders. Working with a physical therapist can help you to target the areas of pain and improve the range of motion, helping the joint to function optimally and helping you to experience less pain as a result.

Experienced physical therapists can identify the source of joint pain and develop strategies to address the pain at its core. There are some situations in which arthritis pain develops as a result of an injury, or in some cases may even be triggered by a number of environmental factors. Working with an experienced physical therapist can help to find the source of your pain, and in some cases by addressing the underlying injury or reducing the environmental factors that are causing the pain it is possible to help deliver relief from what otherwise seemed to be chronic arthritis pain.

Attending physical therapy regularly can help to improve muscle mass and strength, thereby reducing pain from arthritis by supporting joints more effectively. If muscles have atrophied as a result of injury or lack of use, this could put added pressure on joints. Strengthening your muscles could help to improve joint functionality by putting less stress on the joint itself, which in some situations will in-turn help to decrease the level of pain associated with joint movement. You need to be mindful, however, that simply trying to work out to improve muscle mass surrounding an area inflicted with joint or arthritis pain is not recommended. A physical therapist can help direct you to engage in exercises that will improve muscle mass without increasing your risk to greater injury.

Physical therapy introduces specialized treatments that are designed to reduce arthritis pain. Arthritis pain is frequently the result of inflammation, often due to overuse of a particular joint. There are some times that environmental factors can worsen arthritis pain, but in many cases the pain will develop and worsen as a result of the way the joint is used. In addition to identifying the cause of the pain and working to reduce any actions that may be exacerbating the discomfort, your physical therapist can identify specialized treatments that may work to counteract some of that pressure and in doing so can actually work to reduce inflammation within the body.

Physical therapy is an incredibly helpful tool that can help to significantly reduce the pain caused by arthritis. Working with an experienced physical therapist can help to make a huge difference in your experience of pain, helping to improve your quality of life by reducing the chronic discomfort that so many people feel as a result of arthritis.

For too many people, a diagnosis of arthritis pain comes with an acceptance of that pain being indefinite, but that doesn’t have to be the way it works. Pain medications merely mask the pain, and long term use of opioid based pain medications can lead to a whole additional set of concerns. To start experiencing relief from arthritis pain, say goodbye to pain meds and contact your physical therapist.