Arthritis Care: Keeping Your Joints Healthy
Arthritis is a common condition that develops as you age. Years of using your body can take a toll on the cartilage that lines your joints. Cartilage is a spongy substance that helps absorb shock as you walk, run, jump or lift items. But it can start to break down when it is used over and over again and when you start to get older.
When cartilage breaks down, it can cause swelling and pain in your joints as bones rub together. This swelling and pain are called arthritis.
Arthritis can develop in any joint, but no matter where it is located, you can treat it the same way. At Bon Secours Physical Therapy, our physical therapists are experts in relieving arthritis pain. They recommend these techniques to care for your painful joints:
Gentle Stretching and Exercise
When your body hurts, it might be your instinct not to move much. But being sedentary can actually make arthritis pain worse. Instead, you should take care to gently stretch and use your joints every day to help relieve swelling and pain. You can do your own stretches at home or try yoga or tai chi.
You should also try and use your joints in low-impact activities. For instance, swimming or water aerobics take a lot of pressure off of joints while letting you build muscle. Exercise can help build strength to reduce pressure on your muscles and improve blood flow to the joint.
Heat can also help lessen arthritis pain. Hot baths or using heating pads can reduce feelings of pain in your joint at least temporarily so you can better participate in physical activity. You should only use heat for about 20 minutes at a time and be careful not to burn your skin.
Massage therapy can also temporarily relieve arthritis pain. Make sure your physical therapist or massage therapist knows that you have arthritis and what joints you have it in so they can pay special attention to these areas. Massage can help reduce swelling and improve blood flow to the joint.
Physical therapists at Bon Secours Physical Therapy use all of these techniques and more to help you manage arthritis pain without taking a lot of medication or undergoing surgery. We offer specialized exercise programs to help you improve your joint and muscle health gently and safely. If you are looking for arthritis pain relief, contact Bon Secours Physical Therapy to learn how we can help.