Movement is Medicine!
Have you ever woken up in the morning feeling extremely sore, tight, or achy? Do you feel like you can predict the weather better than most meteorologists because even the threat of rain makes you feel achier than usual? Chances are, you are in the vast majority of people that suffer from osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis occurs over time as the joints in our body start to break down simply because of the wear and tear we place on them doing our daily activities. The once smooth joint surfaces cushioned by cartilage become uneven and inflamed. This disease can start as early as your 20s but is more commonly experienced in the middle to late ages. Osteoarthritis (or OA for short) usually follows a typical pain pattern most commonly with symptoms that are worse in the morning after laying in your bed all night long and also commonly worse towards the end of the day, especially if you’ve been more active than usual that day.
Okay, so you have OA- now what? The good news is that there are many interventions that can help you manage your OA so that you can live a healthy, pain-free, and active life. One of the most beneficial interventions for osteoarthritis is physical therapy! While we physical therapists cannot wave a magic wand and make your OA disappear (unfortunately!), there are still many different things that we can do to help manage your symptoms. When you have OA, the tendency is to become more sedentary because you are afraid of movement causing more pain or causing more “damage” to your joints. In reality, the BEST thing you can do for your body when you have OA is to move it!
That being said, all movement is not created equal. That’s where physical therapists come into play! We have special training and education on this disease process and the movement patterns that work best to help regain mobility, strength, and function all while reducing your pain levels. When you meet with a physical therapist, you’ll have an evaluation so that your personal needs can be assessed and addressed during your treatment sessions. We will take thorough measurements of how your body moves and how your muscles and joints function so that we can tailor all of your interventions specifically to you! Best of all you have the luxury of time with your therapist during all of your treatment sessions so you can ask questions as they come and not feel bogged down with trying to remember all of your questions during the initial visit.
When you come to therapy, you can expect that your therapist will provide you with different exercises and oftentimes use hands-on techniques to best address your current needs. We will make sure that your exercises are geared at helping you reach your own personal goals all while reaching the goals that we will create for you during your initial visit to maximize your functional abilities. Physical therapy will require some hard work and dedication on your part and things won’t get better in one visit (remember- this condition was caused by wear and tear that occurred over YEARS, so it won’t be “undone” overnight!), but we will also make things fun and help you see that movement really is the best medicine!