Frustrated by your chronic joint pain? See how physiotherapy can help relieve arthritis pain

Frustrated by your chronic joint pain? See how physiotherapy can help relieve arthritis pain

The latest study revealed an estimated 54.4 million US adults have diagnosed arthritis—about 1 in 4 Americans. Of those, about 27% report experiencing severe joint and arthritis pain.

 

Types of Arthritis

 

There are many types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is the most common type. The cushioning surface on the bones wears away, and bone rubs against bone. The joints can lose strength, and joint pain is often chronic. With inflammatory arthritis, the immune system goes awry. It attacks the joints with inflammation. This can cause joint erosion and joint pain. Infectious arthritis occurs when a virus or bacteria enters the joint. Even though antibiotics may end the infection, arthritis can become chronic. Metabolic arthritis is due to too much uric acid in the body. It can build up and cause chronic joint pain.

 

Physiotherapy for Arthritis

 

Physiotherapy focuses on improving mobility for those with arthritis. It also restores the use of affected joints, reduces pain and strengthens muscles to support the joints. A physiotherapist will create an individualized treatment plan to improve flexibility, coordination and strength for maximum physical function.

 

Specifically, a physiotherapist will use exercise and manual therapy to treat arthritis. Strengthening exercises and weight-bearing exercises are implemented to improve joint lubrication. This helps reduce the pain associated with arthritis. A physiotherapist will develop a treatment plan that targets all areas of the body affecting the pain. For example, if you suffer from knee pain, the exercise regimen will include proper knee mechanics and the lower back, ankle and hip. Physiotherapists also use various manual therapy techniques like joint and soft tissue mobilization to treat the symptoms of arthritis.

 

Joint mobilization entails the moving of a joint through working with a natural level of resistance. This technique helps stretch and strengthen the tissue surrounding bone and reduces pain and increases range of motion. Other passive modalities that a physiotherapist may use to treat pain from arthritis include ultrasound, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), cryotherapy or heat. TENS utilizes electrodes to trick the pain from feeling pain. Ultrasound utilizes heat to help the deep tissues of joints. It helps reduce inflammation and pain. Cryotherapy reduces inflammation and swelling. All around, physiotherapy is a holistic treatment for arthritis.

 

Physiotherapy vs Surgery

 

According to Harvard Health Publishing, “Trying physiotherapy before opting for surgery may be the better choice. You may be able to spare yourself the expense, pain, and recovery time of surgery, says physiotherapist Karen Weber, clinical supervisor at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Outpatient Centers in Braintree and Quincy, Mass. There is growing evidence supporting that idea. In the past few years, studies have indicated that physiotherapy is just as effective as surgery for relieving pain and restoring function for people with arthritis in their knees or backs.”

 

If you’re suffering from arthritis, it’s wise to consider physiotherapy. Not only is it non-invasive, you may be able to throw away those pain meds. The goal of physiotherapy is to help you live an active, pain-free life. Contact our physiotherapists to find your pain relief today!

Could your back pain be caused by a herniated disc? Here’s what to look for

How do you know whether you have a herniated disc or it’s just good old back pain? One telltale sign can be where the pain is located. With a herniated disc, the pain is typically located in the lumbar spine. That’s the lower part of your backbone. The pain may radiate from the back to the thighs, buttocks or calves. A herniated disc can cause pain whether you’re resting or active. Even a cough or sneeze can cause pain as it puts pressure on pinched nerves.

How to Tell if You Have a Herniated Disc

A good way to determine if you have a herniated disc is to visit your physician. Likely, your doctor will do a physical exam and may even take an x-ray. While an x-ray won’t show a herniated disc, it can help rule other causes of your pain like a fracture. If your doctor recommends having an MRI, this test can show detailed 3-D images of the spinal cord and pinpoint if there is a herniated disc. It also shows which nerves are affected.

The purpose of spinal discs is to act as a shock absorber when you engage in daily activities, like walking, sitting, lifting and running. Each disc has a soft inner ring and a tough outer ring. When the outer ring is injured, the inner ring may protrude out and cause pain. Common causes of a herniated disc include weak muscles, age, being overweight or leading a sedentary lifestyle. And if you turn suddenly, you can also incur a herniated disc.

Physiotherapy and Herniated Disc

A physiotherapist will have you engage in specific exercises to ease the pain and strengthen the muscles associated with a herniated disc. Physiotherapy programs also include ultrasound therapy, deep tissue massage, ice and heat treatment, stretching exercises, electrical muscle stimulation and aerobic exercises. Deep tissue massage uses pressure to relieve spasms and muscle tension due to a herniated disc. Heat therapy helps increase nutrients and oxygen to the affected area for healing. Cold therapy helps reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Active treatments like exercise for a herniated disc focus on core stability, flexibility and muscle strengthening. Keep in mind that core muscles help support the spine. Learning proper stretching and flexibility techniques will help your body move easier. Muscle strengthening creates a solid support system for the spine and helps relieve pain.

A physiotherapist will also teach your self-care principles and home exercises. This way, you can prevent further injury and enjoy the long-term effects of physiotherapy. With physiotherapy, you’re an active participant in your recovery.

“Herniated discs can be very painful injuries that impact your day-to-day life. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to get surgery to repair your herniated disc. In fact, studies have shown that 90% of patients were able to recover by pursuing non-surgical courses of treatment like physiotherapy.” That percentage is a testament to how effective physiotherapy is in the treatment of a herniated disc.

Contact NRG Physiotherapy today!

4 Ways to Reduce Pain and Gain Energy

Do you constantly find yourself feeling tired throughout the day? Sluggish? Achy? Fatigued? If so, this is probably your body’s way of telling you that something is off. Perhaps you sit too much during your commute or throughout the day, without getting up to stretch and exercise. Perhaps you’re eating too much inflammatory food or not drinking enough water. Whatever the case may be, if you are constantly feeling physically or mentally drained, it is a good idea to make some healthy changes.

Below you’ll find four quick ways to reduce any aches and pains your body may be feeling, and gain more energy in the process. There are multiple ways to integrate these tips into your life, and if you’d like more in-depth assistance, contact NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness today!

1. Create a treatment plan with a physiotherapist.

Physiotherapy may feel difficult when you are in pain or fatigued, but it could be essential in providing relief and helping to gain more energy. A physiotherapist is trained in helping you move safely and regain function, and treatments have proven successful for relieving all chronic musculoskeletal and neuropathic types of pain. If you have become weaker due to lack of movement, a physiotherapist will also help in strengthening weak muscles.

Some common pain relief methods that physiotherapists provide include:

  • Manual therapy using hands and tools on soft tissue
  • Ice and heat therapies
  • Massage
  • Joint and bone manipulation
  • Movement therapy and exercise
  • Microcurrent stimulation
  • Aquatic therapy
  • Cold laser therapy

2. Modify your diet.

Did you know 8 out of 10 people experience frequent back pain? In fact, chronic back pain affects roughly 116 million adults in the United States. For many of those people, the cause of their back pain is a direct result of their diet. The foods we eat can trigger inflammation, which can cause pain.

If your diet is causing your back pain, it could be beneficial to modify some aspects of it. While you do not necessarily have to reduce your food intake, you may want to shift around what you are eating. Below is a list of foods that may help you feel more energized if you choose to incorporate them into your regular diet:

  • Foods that are high in fiber. According to the Arthritis Foundation, adding fiber will reduce inflammation in many cases. Fusing a high-fiber diet with more healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can lead to pain relief and reduced weight.
  • Ginger. Ginger is universally known for the magic it has on stomach aches, but most people don’t know that it is a natural anti-inflammatory! It acts as a natural aspirin impersonator, reducing inflammation and providing relief.
  • Cherries. There are compounds in cherries called “anthocyanins” that reduce pain in two ways: inhibiting pain enzymes and blocking inflammation.
  • Turmeric. Tumeric is a curry spice that is packed with curcumin, a natural pain reliever and inflammation reducer that has been used to treat pain for ages.

3. Make an effort to exercise.

Exercising isn’t always easy, especially if you are exhausted or in pain. Finding the strength and energy to exercise can prove challenging when all you want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep. However, physical activity is crucial to your well-being, especially if you live a sedentary lifestyle. Make an effort to walk for at least 30 minutes each day, or sprinkle in short, intense workouts several times a week. Whatever you may choose to do, allow your body enough time to recover between exercise sessions, in order to notice maximized benefits.

4. Adjust your workstation.

Depending on how your desk is set up, it could be aggravating your pain and draining your energy – not to mention the possibility of causing postural imbalances. When you set up a workstation, it is important to keep this 4-step ergonomic checklist in mind:

  1. Make sure that your chair is at a height where your feet can remain comfortably flat on the ground. Both your upper and lower back should be supported by your desk chair, and your armrests should be at a height where your shoulders can rest relaxed.
  2. Your keyboard should remain directly in front of your body at all times. This allows your elbows to open at a 100-degree angle and your shoulders to relax.
  3. Position the top of your monitor so it is approximately 2-3 inches above your seated eye level.
  4. Approximately every 20 minutes, make sure you take 1-2 minute stretch breaks to loosen up muscles and enhance circulation.

If you are still in pain despite these tips, contact NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness today. One of our dedicated physiotherapists will provide you with the resources you need to gain more energy and live a pain-free life.

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