Arthritis is a catch-all term used to describe more than 100 different kinds of joint pain and joint disease. While arthritis is commonly believed to be a condition that afflicts the elderly, it can strike people in early middle age. In fact, elite male athletes are more likely to develop arthritis than the general public. Arthritis medications and pain medicines can cause some nasty side effects. So, if you’re looking for a natural treatment for arthritis, consider meeting with a physical therapist at Therapy Choice in Philadelphia, PA, to learn how you can kick the meds and reduce your arthritis symptoms.
Osteoarthritis: The most common type of joint inflammation is osteoarthritis. This is caused by a reduction in joint cartilage as it wears away through age or “wear and tear.” This causes bones to rub together, which leads to pain and swelling. Physical therapy can often help to reduce arthritis pain without medication.
Inflammatory Arthritis: In certain cases, the body’s immune system will attack joint tissues with intense inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis is one example of this type of condition. Inflammatory arthritis often has a genetic cause, and doctors usually treat it aggressively with drugs. However, depending on the severity of symptoms, physical therapy may be recommended for treatment as well.
Metabolic Arthritis: The most common type of metabolic arthritis is gout, a condition caused by uric acid crystals building up in the joints of the extremities, especially the feet. It’s typically caused by reduced kidney function. Physical therapy can help gout patients restore range of motion in the affected area and even reduce the buildup of the acidic crystals that accumulate in the joints.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, about 30 percent of elite male athletes who engage in contact sports such as football will develop arthritis in the knees and hips. That’s compared to about 19 percent of the general public. The wear and tear on the joints that results from high-contact sports increases the likelihood of developing arthritis. Soccer and handball players were found to be twice as “at risk” of arthritis later in life, and hockey players are three times as likely to develop arthritis.
Depending on the type of arthritis that a person has, doctors may prescribe NSAID pain relievers, corticosteroids, antirheumatic drugs or antibiotics. All of these carry a risk of side effects, and some can be extremely serious. NSAIDs can lead to an increased risk of blood clots, heart attack or stroke. Corticosteroids can contribute to cataracts, cause high blood sugar levels or even contribute to bone loss — which is terrible when you consider that the patient is already dealing with arthritis!
The goals when working with a physical therapist for arthritis treatment will include preserving a good range of motion, increasing strength to reduce stress on the joints, and other natural treatment options. Here are some of the benefits of working with our physical therapists:
Every treatment regimen is different based on your body’s needs and your particular type of arthritis. In order to access your joint pain and condition, contact us at Therapy Choice to schedule a consultation today!