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!

Pre-hab: What is it and How Does it Help?

If you are an athlete, whether you’re a professional or a weekend warrior, it is in your nature to push your body to its full potential. But before you do so, it is important to ask yourself, “Is my body ready to take on that challenge?” Undetected weakness and vulnerabilities could prime you for a devastating injury. Additionally, if you are currently injured or recovering from an injury or surgery, getting straight back into a workout regimen could be more harmful than you may realize.

Fortunately, there is a way to prepare your body for a safe and speedy recovery: pre-hab. If you are in need of a surgical procedure, or if you have a long injury-related recovery ahead of you, you may be a prime candidate for pre-hab. For more information, contact NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness to schedule a consultation with a physiotherapist today.

How to tell if you are unfit for extensive physiotherapy or athletic training:

When your body isn’t conditioned to perform certain physical demands, it is likely that you may sustain even more damage, whether it be inflammation, tears, or ruptures. Think of it in terms outside of your injury or procedure: if someone lives a sedentary lifestyle for years and then decides they want to sign up for a triathlon, their body won’t physically be able to complete the event if they don’t spend ample amounts of time pre-conditioning.

Your body is the same way after it sustains an injury or surgical repair, and the same concerns hold true for anyone looking to undergo physiotherapy. A major injury or surgical procedure can leave you sidelined for weeks or months. You become physically weaker as you recover, even if you feel as if you have the same amount of strength.

During that time, joints may stiffen up, while muscles and connective tissues can atrophy. A complete lack of activity, while you’re getting over your immediate damage, may even promote the development of internal scar tissue called adhesions. That’s why pre-conditioning your body is so important before returning to any sort of physical activity – you are retraining your body to handle the specific motions and weight loads that it was able to do before it became injured.

Pre-hab exercises and techniques to get you started:

Pre-hab is a critical preparatory stage for getting your body ready for the physiotherapy rehabilitation treatments it has ahead, and achieving your end goal of returning to the activities you love.

One of the most important aspects of pre-hab is core training, which focuses on the core muscles of your lower back, lower abdomen, and pelvic region, in order to regain and enhance your body’s balance and stability. Exercises to strengthen and mobilize the upper back are also helpful in pre-hab, giving your body a solid degree of overall stability before moving on to other exercises.

When you participate in pre-hab exercises, you will work on repetitive motions that are common to your sport, such as throwing a javelin or lifting weights. Your physiotherapist will design a specialized treatment plan to your needs, which will focus on a selection of specific exercises to prepare your body for regaining its optimum function. This will allow you to complete your physiotherapy treatments in a quicker fashion and return to your athletic routine without the risk of hurting yourself.

Going beyond sports with pre-hab:

People who are non-athletes can also benefit from pre-hab practices. Sometimes just the physical demands of daily life can take a toll on the body, such as doing office work or handling household chores. A body with uneven muscle development is also a prime target for overuse injuries and repetitive motion disorders, such as plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder bursitis, and other uncomfortable conditions.

Pre-hab exercises can help people in these risk groups optimize their fitness and prevent such injuries. If you are in need of a surgical procedure, or if your daily activities are causing you chronic pain, a pre-hab program from our dedicated physiotherapists can help make your recovery faster and easier.

Contact us today:

Whatever the case may be, our physical team is ready to help you recover from injuries and prevent others from occurring. Call NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness today to schedule your appointment and get started on the path toward relief, recovery, and returning to your physical activities!