Arthritis – it’s true definition is inflammation of a joint or the lining of a joint. There are many types of arthritis, but all involve musculoskeletal pain. A correct diagnosis is important for effective management and treatment. Symptoms include pain, swelling, loss of function and decreased mobility and strength.
Common Arthritic Conditions:
- Osteoarthritis involves degenerative changes of the soft tissue, joint lining and weight bearing structures such as the bone and cartilage.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder (where the body attacks itself) that causes chronic inflammation of the joints or tissue around the joints
- Ankylosing spondylitis is chronic inflammation of the spine and sacroiliac joints (pelvis) which can lead to stiffness in the joints or fusion of the bones (ankylosis)
- Polymyalgia Rheumatica-widespread muscle inflammation which causes fatigue and limits functional ability.
- Fibromyalgia-chronic widespread pain > 3 months that effects numerous areas of the body.
- Manual therapy-soft tissue releases, spinal/joint mobilization.
- Correct biomechanics, alignment and muscle imbalance.
- Postural Education-correct positions to limit stress on the joints and muscles.
- Joint protection-this includes splints/bracing or strapping. Custom orthotics if required.
- Exercise Therapy- graded exercise to improve or maintain range of motion, modified strengthening and stretching. Joint stability and core stability exercises.
- Electrotherapy-treatment can help minimize stress on the tissue, decrease the inflammation, control the pain and improve circulation.
- Self Help Measures-ice vs. heat, lifestyle management and a home exercise program.