Arthritis: Moving More Equals Less Pain


Arthritis: Moving More Equals Less Pain

If you are one of the 54 million adults diagnosed with arthritis, you understand the pain of getting up and walking around after a night’s sleep. It can take an hour or more for your joints and muscles to warm up so you can tackle the rest of the day.

October is National Physical Therapy Month and if you are living with arthritis we want to use this month to remind you that being active can help decrease your pain.

Casey Geiman Bennett, DPT, Physical Therapist and Orthopaedic Certified Specialist at St. Elizabeth Healthcare says, “You do not have to live in pain with arthritis. Physical therapy will reduce your pain by improving your symptoms and quality of life, allowing you to return to activities that you enjoy.”

Symptoms of Arthritis

The definition of arthritis is inflammation in one or more joints. The most common symptoms of arthritis are:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Decreased range of motion

There are many different types of arthritis, but the most common form in older adults is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by a gradual loss of cartilage in the joint and it can result in the symptoms you are experiencing.

Physical Therapy Can Get You Moving Again

Casey explains, “It is common for people to think if they have pain, they should not move that part of the body. When it comes to arthritis, the opposite is true. Increasing safe movement of the arthritic joint allows for more function. Your pain will go down and your motion will increase.”

If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, a referral to a physical therapist can get you moving again. The goal of physical therapy is to help you deal with the pain. When you are living with arthritis pain and you aren’t getting the activity you need, it can cause secondary issues like reduced range of motion and function.

Casey explains what a typical physical therapy program will encompass:

  1. Education on how to live with arthritis and what you should do daily to make your pain and life better.
  2. Development of individualized goals for pain, function and mobility. If your goal is to get on the golf course again or go up and down steps with less pain, the physical therapist can develop a program.
  3. Development of an individualized exercise plan, including low-impact techniques that can increase strength, flexibility and mobility. Exercise strengthens the muscles, ligaments, and tendons surrounding each joint so that you can better support your arthritic joint.
  4. An exercise program you can do at home after you are done with physical therapy sessions.

Don’t just Google “exercises for arthritis.” Casey explains that every person is different, and the amount of arthritis they have will result in different impairments for different people. Casey says, “Globalized exercise isn’t going to fix every person and may cause more harm. A physical therapist can assess your impairments and restrictions and develop a program that is specifically for you.”

If you are interested in learning more about how physical therapy can help you call (859) 655-7400. Learn more about our physical therapy program.