Arthritis is a broad term used to describe inflammation and stiffness in the joints. It encompasses a group of more than 100 different rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect the joints, surrounding tissues, and other connective tissues.
The most common types of arthritis include:
- Osteoarthritis (OA): This is the most prevalent form of arthritis, characterized by the breakdown of joint cartilage and underlying bone. It often occurs as a result of wear and tear on the joints over time, leading to pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility, especially in weight-bearing joints like the knees, hips, and spine. At Helios Physiotherapy and Rehab we address arthritis holistically, considering both physical and emotional aspects of living with a chronic condition. physiotherapy can be effective in delaying or preventing joint replacements for individuals with arthritis.
2) Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): RA is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system attacks the synovium, the lining of the membranes that surround the joints. This results in inflammation, pain, swelling, and eventually joint damage. RA can affect multiple joints throughout the body and may also cause systemic symptoms such as fatigue, fever, and weight loss. Treatments for Rheumatoid arthritis varies depending on the type and severity of the condition but often includes a combination of physical therapy, Combination therapies like Acupuncture, Massage Therapy, Chiropractic Care, Custom Orthopedic Braces, and lifestyle modifications. The goals of treatment are to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, preserve joint function, and improve overall quality of life. When incorporated into a holistic treatment approach, these therapies can help individuals with arthritis lead more active, comfortable, and fulfilling lives.
3) Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: This term encompasses several types of arthritis that occur in children and adolescents under the age of 16. Juvenile Idiopathic arthritis can affect joints similarly to adult forms of arthritis and may also cause growth problems and eye inflammation.
4) Psoriatic Arthritis: Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that occurs in some people with the skin condition psoriasis. It can affect any joint in the body and may cause joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, along with skin and nail changes characteristic of psoriasis.
5) Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS): AS primarily affects the spine and sacroiliac joints, causing inflammation, stiffness, and pain in the lower back and buttocks. Over time, AS can lead to fusion of the spinal vertebrae, resulting in decreased mobility and flexibility. It’s very essential for individuals with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) to work closely with Physiotherapists to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses their specific needs and symptoms. Early diagnosis and intervention can help minimize joint damage and improve long-term outcomes for Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS).
Physiotherapy, Massage, chiropractic care, and Orthopedic Braces can certainly help manage symptoms and improve quality of life for many people with arthritis, At Helios our Registered Physiotherapists, Massage Therapists and Chiropractors can tailor a comprehensive treatment plan for your specific condition and needs. This may include Natural Pain Management techniques, Manual Therapies, Exercises, Providing Guidance on Self Management Strategies, lifestyle modifications, Assistive devices, and possibly surgical interventions in some cases.
Here’s how physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic care and Braces can be essential in helping manage arthritis:
PHYSIOTHERAPY (PHYSICAL THERAPY):
Pain Management: Physiotherapy techniques such as manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, and modalities like heat and cold therapy can help alleviate pain associated with arthritis. By reducing pain and improving joint function, physiotherapy may delay the progression of arthritis and the need for surgery.
Improved Joint Function: Physiotherapy aims to improve joint mobility, strength, and stability through targeted exercises and interventions. By strengthening the muscles around the affected joint and improving its range of motion, physiotherapy can enhance joint function and delay the onset of severe joint degeneration that may necessitate surgery.
Joint Protection Strategies: Physiotherapists educate patients on joint protection techniques and proper body mechanics to minimize stress on arthritic joints. By adopting strategies to avoid activities that exacerbate joint pain and practicing safe movement patterns, individuals can preserve joint health and potentially delay the need for surgical intervention.
Preoperative Conditioning: For individuals who eventually require joint replacement surgery, preoperative physiotherapy can be beneficial. Physiotherapists can help optimize patients’ physical condition and functional status before surgery, which may improve surgical outcomes and facilitate a smoother recovery process.
Lifestyle Modification: Physiotherapists work with patients to develop personalized exercise programs and lifestyle modifications tailored to their specific needs and limitations. By promoting regular physical activity, weight management, and healthy lifestyle habits, physiotherapy can help slow the progression of arthritis and reduce the likelihood of joint deterioration necessitating surgery
Pain Relief: Massage therapy can help alleviate muscle tension and reduce pain associated with arthritis. Techniques such as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, and myofascial release can target areas of discomfort and promote relaxation.
Improved Circulation: Massage therapy stimulates blood flow to the affected joints, which can help reduce inflammation and promote healing. Enhanced circulation also aids in the removal of toxins and metabolic waste products from tissues.
Stress Reduction: Living with arthritis can be stressful, both physically and emotionally. Massage therapy offers a calming and soothing experience, promoting relaxation, and reducing stress levels, which can positively impact overall well-being.
Joint Alignment: Chiropractic adjustments aim to restore proper joint alignment and mobility, which may be compromised due to arthritis. By realigning the spine and affected joints, chiropractors help reduce pain and improve joint function.
Nervous System Regulation: Chiropractic care focuses on optimizing nervous system function by ensuring proper spinal alignment. This can have a positive effect on pain perception and overall body function, potentially reducing arthritis-related symptoms.
Complementary Care: Chiropractic adjustments can complement other treatments for arthritis, such as physiotherapy and massage therapy. Integrating chiropractic care into a comprehensive treatment plan may enhance overall outcomes and improve quality of life for individuals with arthritis.
CUSTOM AND ORTHOPEDIC BRACES
Braces can play a valuable role in managing arthritis by providing support, stability, and pain relief for affected joints. At Helios we carry a wide variety of custom and orthopedic braces which are used in the management of arthritis for
Joint Support: Braces can help support arthritic joints, particularly those affected by osteoarthritis or injury. By stabilizing the joint and distributing pressure more evenly, braces can reduce strain on the affected area and alleviate pain during movement.
Alignment Correction: In some cases, arthritis can lead to joint misalignment, which exacerbates symptoms and accelerates joint degeneration. Orthopedic braces designed to promote proper joint alignment can help reduce stress on the affected joint and slow down the progression of arthritis.
Pain Management: Orthopedic braces can provide compression and warmth to arthritic joints, which may help alleviate pain and stiffness. By increasing blood flow to the affected area and reducing inflammation, braces can provide symptomatic relief and improve overall comfort.
Functional Support: Custom braces are designed to fit the unique contours of an individual’s body and accommodate specific functional needs. Whether for the knee, ankle, wrist, or spine, custom braces can be tailored to provide optimal support and mobility while minimizing discomfort.
Activity Modification: Braces can enable individuals with arthritis to engage in physical activities and daily tasks with greater ease and confidence. By providing external support and protection, braces can help individuals maintain an active lifestyle while reducing the risk of further joint damage or injury.
Post-Surgical Rehabilitation: Following joint replacement surgery or other orthopedic procedures, braces may be used during the rehabilitation process to protect the healing joint, promote proper alignment, and facilitate gradual return to normal activities.
At Helios Physiotherapy and Rehab we offer a comprehensive approach to arthritis management, combining exercise, education, and Professional Guidance to empower individuals with arthritis to live healthier, more fulfilling lives. Call us at 548 489 1009 and we can help you out. We serve Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo, Ayr, Glen Morris, Brant, St. George and all nearby cities. We also offer Virtual Rehabilitation so you can have the self management strategies for ARTHRITIS from the comfort of your home.