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All About Arthritis

Nearly 26 million Americans are rendered incapable of engaging in everyday activities because of arthritis. 1 in 4 Americans have been diagnosed with this disease by a doctor, and a third of adults have severe joint pain according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The overwhelming prevalence of this malady has warranted the creation of an entire month’s worth of dedicated focus and awareness generation culminating in the month of May being deemed Arthritis Awareness Month. The lofty title of “All About Arthritis” may be a tad ambitious when broaching a topic as important and pervasive in people’s experience as arthritis, but we can at least give a healthy overview of the subject and offer a solid means of assistance to those who suffer from it.

First of all, what exactly is arthritis? It’s a general term for conditions that affect the joints, tissues around the joint, and other connective tissues, and there are actually more than 100 types of it, the most common of which is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can exhibit symptoms of pain, stiffness, tenderness, loss of flexibility, a grating sensation, or swelling, and these often develop slowly and worsen over time. It occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones deteriorates and sometimes can form osteophytes, also known as bone spurs. Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common type. It’s an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, meaning that your immune system incorrectly attacks healthy cells in your body causing painful swelling in those parts. The specific causes of why the immune system would do this are currently unknown.

What are some ways to manage arthritis? Well, for starters, staying active through routine exercise helps maintain strength and flexibility. Of course, if joint pain is already limiting your movement, you’ll need to choose the right intensity with the appropriate activities. People often find exercise in water as a great way to move your joints without them having to support so much of your body weight. Losing weight in itself can go a long way taking a load off your knees and ankles, potentially affording you more ability to move with less pain.

Helping you move without pain is the specialty of a Licensed Physical Therapist. Importantly, Physical therapy doctors assist you in accomplishing this without the use of prescription opioid drugs or surgery. The New England Journal of Medicine even published an article about a scientific study that found patients with arthritis of the knee who undertook a physical therapy based treatment had less pain and functional disability at 1 year than those who received an intra-articular glucocorticoid injection. But that’s no surprise, research continually demonstrates the efficacy of physical therapy for people with various forms of arthritis. Medical experts recognize physical therapy’s usefulness as a treatment for arthritis, so contact Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida in Bradenton at (941) 264-1414, email, or send us a direct message. If you’re in or near Manatee or Sarasota Counties, our team will be happy to help you get back to moving without pain!