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Grab Arthritis by the Horns and take Control of Life

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Are you tired of joint stiffness and joint pain dictating the activities you are able to do? Although there is no cure for arthritis, as it is a degenerative disease, there are ways you can manage the pain and also increase your activity level.  Osteoarthritis involves the degeneration of the joints, more specifically the cartilage that lines a joint.  When this smooth material is worn down, the joint no longer will move like it’s supposed to. This may stop you from enjoying even the most simple activities of daily life like walking up and down the stairs, carrying your grocery bags to and from your car, as well as enjoying family picnics and barbecues.

What exactly is osteoarthritis and what are the symptoms?  Osteoarthrits is caused by progressive degeneration and wearing down of articular cartilage over time which means there is less cushioning between the joints. Over time, your joints will not have the cushion they need to function optimally leading to ‘bone on bone’ and therefore increased pain and decreased range of motion.  It can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Joint inflammation that causes pain and stiffnes
  • Pain during movement of the joint
  • Stiffness after being in one position for too long
  • Tenderness along the joint line
  • Loss of flexibility or movement of the joint
  • Clicking or grinding noise in the joint

Since Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease, it will get worse with time and will prevent you from being able to do even the simplest of tasks like standing or walking.  It is best to seek care as soon as possible to decrease the risk of continuing to lose your independence from simple daily tasks such as washing your own hair or even standing to cook meals.

**Physical Therapy can help by decreasing pain and inflammation while increasing range of motion, strength, flexibility and your overall function. It can be painful to exercise when you first get started because of joint stiffness, but it is actually one of the best activities you can do to increase joint lubrication – Motion is Lotion.  Stretching tight muscles helps to improve flexibility and decrease joint stiffness.  Strengthening muscles helps support your joints, decreasing the pressure on overburdened, painful and stiff joints.  Even though it’s a progressive disease, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take control of how it affects you.  Symptoms can be effectively managed through lifestyle modifications such as weight loss and exercise.  Physical therapy is a great way to get started!**

Stiffness, pain and inflammation in the joints are common complaints from folks dealing with arthritis. These symptoms are usually intermittent but particularly present in the morning when you wake up because you are just starting to move around. The symptoms also tend to be noticeable after you have stayed in the one position for too long. Both these factors can lead to stiffness and pain. Weather factors can increase pain as well. When there is a change in barometric pressure, there may also be increased inflammation in the joint capsule. People with severe arthritis are often intolerant to the cold.

Pain often decreases after you warm up with exercise. While the reality of osteoarthritis is that there is no cure, you can manage the symptoms.

CALL Loudoun Sports Therapy Center TODAY at 703-450-4300.  Our Physical Therapists will develop a treatment plan specific to your needs and goals.

CLICK HERE for more on how physical therapy can help you. 

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