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!

What’s Causing Your Shoulder Pain? 3 Common Reasons Why Your Shoulder Hurts

The shoulder is an important part of your body for several different sports. It is used to make a free throw, swing a club, serve a tennis ball, or pass a football for the winning touchdown. If your shoulder becomes injured, it could greatly impact your physical performance. Common injuries and conditions (such as frozen shoulder, osteoarthritis, or a rotator cuff tear) can place drastic limits on your life. Fortunately, physiotherapy can help by providing natural and non-invasive pain relief. For more information on how our treatments can help with your shoulder pain, call NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness in Winnipeg, MB today!

Are these conditions causing your shoulder pain?

The shoulder is an incredibly flexible part of the body, due to its complex arrangement of bones, cartilage, soft tissues, and friction-reducing sacs known as “bursae.” When any part of this complex and delicate system becomes damaged, the entire shoulder can experience pain. Some of the most common conditions resulting in shoulder pain include:

  • Frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder can occur if the shoulder has experienced prolonged immobilization, such as being in a sling following an injury or surgical repair. When the shoulder doesn’t move for extended periods of time, the connective tissues within it can become thick and stiff. Anyone can be affected by frozen shoulder, but diabetics have a higher risk of developing it.
  • Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions your joints begins to diminish, due to “wear and tear.” This can happen either as a result of old age or excessive overuse. The extreme demands of athletic training, competitive sports or a previous injury can hasten this process, as well. When the cartilage wears down, the bones begin to rub together, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.
  • Rotator cuff injuries. The rotator cuff is comprised of four muscles that allow your shoulder joint to rotate in all directions. The rotator cuff can become damaged from excessive repetitive motions, such as those in swimming, tennis, baseball, or golf, causing micro-tears in the tissue. The injury can become worse with time if left untreated, causing the damage to accumulate, and the pain and inflammation to worsen. Immediate tears are also possible, which can result in severe pain.

How can I treat these conditions?

Physiotherapy is a safe and effective way to treat shoulder pain. It can provide relief, improve shoulder function, and may even prevent the need for invasive surgery. At your first appointment, your physiotherapist will evaluate your pain patterns, range of motion, medical records, and lifestyle habits in order to determine the best treatment plan for you. Afterward, a personalized combination of passive and active therapies will be created for the needs of your condition. Your treatment plan may include, but is not limited to:

  • Moist heat exercises, to boost circulation and ease inflammation.
  • Doorway stretches, lawnmower pulls, reverse fly exercises with light weights, and side-lying external rotation exercises with light dumbbells. These will restore strength to a damaged rotator cuff.
  • Pendulum stretches, cross-body reaches, armpit stretches, and fingertip walks. These will relieve the stiffness of a frozen shoulder.
  • A combination of shoulder stretches, light aerobics, and shoulder-strengthening exercises. These will enhance blood flow to the shoulder and help manage the pain of osteoarthritis.
  • Passive techniques, such as massage therapy, ultrasound therapy, or other non-invasive methods. These will relieve pain and promote healing.

If your shoulder pain has been limiting you from achieving your physical goals, contact NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness today. We’ll help you get back on track to living the active life you want, free from pain!