Many Canadians suffer from the painful effects of arthritis. It is a very common condition affecting the joints. It comes in several different forms which can vary greatly in terms of symptoms, but generally speaking, patients endure pain, stiffness and problems with mobility.
The two main categories of arthritis are:
Rheumatoid Arthritis – an autoimmune condition wherein the patient’s immune system attacks the joints.
Osteoarthritis – a condition affecting the lining of the joints, occurring in aging patients as a result of normal physical decline.
How is Arthritis Diagnosed?
If your doctor suspects that you have arthritis, they will likely perform a physical examination and order a number of tests, including:
- Needle Aspiration
- Blood Tests
- Urine Tests
These tests can help to confirm the diagnosis, and also help to identify the type of arthritis you are dealing with. Those with Rheumatoid Arthritis will often have antibodies in their blood that are referred to as rheumatoid factors, while those suffering from Osteoarthritis are more likely to have x-rays showing diminished cartilage or bone spurs.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Depending on the type and severity of your condition, you may have symptoms such as:
- Swollen joints
- Decreased range of motion
- Weakened muscles
- Joint Deformity
These conditions are often progressive in nature, meaning that they may worsen over time. Each person is different and arthritic symptoms can be effectively managed with some simple treatment and a good management plan. The good news is that, in addition to pain management through medications and/or injections, physiotherapy and massage therapy have been shown to help improve range of motion and relieve stiffness and pain.
Physiotherapy for Arthritis
Physiotherapy can be a large part of your arthritis treatment plan. Your physiotherapist will do a complete assessment of your condition, focusing on problem areas and physical limitations. They will then develop an individualized program in order to help you improve your symptoms and prevent further deterioration. Your appointment will include physical manipulation and strength training to help:
- restore muscles
- increase agility and range of motion
- enhance balance
- decrease pain
Your physiotherapist will also design an at-home exercise regimen for you to follow to keep up your flexibility and mobility between appointments.
Massage Therapy for Arthritis
Massage therapy is an excellent addition to your arthritis treatment plan. That’s because it can help to relieve tension in your muscles and stiffness in your joints, improves local circulation and reduces swelling and pain. In addition to these benefits, massage therapy helps to reduce overall stress which can often accompany debilitating illnesses.
Are There Times When I Shouldn’t Come For My Scheduled Treatment?
You know your body best. If you are suffering from an acute flare up and are concerned about your physio or massage appointment, let us know. We have resourceful ways to support you through your symptoms and help to relieve your pain without aggravating your problem areas. We are always mindful of your comfort level and want to make sure every visit at our clinic is a positive experience for our patients.
Are There Other Treatments That May Be Effective in Treating my Arthritis?
At Achieve Health we know that receiving care with complementary treatments can be beneficial to our patients’ overall well-being. That’s why from time to time your physiotherapist or Registered Massage Therapist may recommend additional modalities for you such as acupuncture or chiropractic care if they feel that you could see even better results with a multi-faceted approach.