Arthritis is the most significant chronic disease in Canada affecting 1 in every 5 Canadians.¹ Arthritis is a complex disease with over 100 different types including: inflammatory (rheumatoid, psoriatic), non-auto immune (gout) and the most common type, osteoarthritis. This disease can strike people of any age from young children to older adults.
Presentation typically consists of painful and inflamed joints resulting in limitations in movement, and if left untreated, can result in permanent joint damage. Arthritis can significantly impact one’s ability to perform every day activities, to participate in leisure activities as well as to work. Consequently this can lead to low mood, anxiety and difficulty sleeping.
Best Management Practices
Physiotherapy can help alleviate arthritis symptoms as well as help clients return to everyday activities. A physiotherapist will complete a detailed assessment to best determine the appropriate treatment. A tailored physiotherapy intervention can focus on many aspects of arthritis management including:
- Pain management – using a variety of modalities to help alleviate and manage the pain of arthritis including TENS, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and taping
- Range of motion/flexibility – using manual therapy techniques and exercise prescription to improve movement at the joints
- Strength – using appropriate exercise intervention to increase muscle strength thereby decreasing stress at the affected joint
- Endurance – improving the cardiovascular system to decrease fatigue
- Education – discussing how joint protection, body mechanics, and energy conservation can help manage the symptoms of arthritis
- Referral – to other specialized practitioners such as occupational therapists, nutritionists, orthotists
Did You Know?
As our population ages, it is estimated that more and more people will suffer the impacts of arthritis. The Arthritis Society of Canada estimates that by 2035 over 40 percent of Canadians will have some form of arthritis. Despite these statistics, the outlook for those impacted by arthritis does not need to be grim. Early intervention by physiotherapists and other health care providers can significantly mitigate the negative effects of arthritis. Evidence is growing on the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle with this chronic health condition.
If you are affected by arthritis, suspect you might have a form of the disease or have any questions about how physiotherapy can help alleviate arthritis symptoms, contact us at Propel Physiotherapy for a complimentary phone consultation.