Arthritis- How Can Physical Therapy Help?

Arthritis Treatment Through Physical Therapy

Arthritis symptoms can affect an individual on a daily basis. Physical therapy is a conservative, non-invasive and effective way to treat arthritis, which typically affects the articulating joints of the body such as the hip, knee, shoulder and hand. Arthritis can also affect the spinal column known as degenerative disc disease (DDD). The primary focus of therapy is to regain overall range of motion and flexibility to help improve joint mobility as well as increase strength and endurance for improved independence with daily activities. This is accomplished in the following ways:

  • Flexibility: These exercises help improve overall joint mobility and muscle flexibility.
  • Strength: In addition to increasing flexibility, muscle strength is important to provide stability to the affected joint. Not only is muscle used to move a joint, it also acts as a “shock absorber”.
  • Endurance: Muscle endurance is another important factor. Endurance is the muscle’s ability to perform an activity over an extended period of time. Strength usually diminishes due to a lack of endurance. With increased endurance strength is preserved. As a result and individual can tolerate daily activities for an extended period of time.

In addition, physical therapy can also provide some residual benefits such as:

  • Increased cardiovascular fitness
  • Weight loss
  • Increased patient knowledge on his/her condition