Arthritis is a general term that actually includes hundreds of different diseases. Whether you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or another type, one of the primary symptoms is inflammation and pain in the joints.
Whatever type of arthritis you’re suffering from, you’re likely struggling to overcome varying degrees of pain. If you’re taking opioids for arthritis pain, you need to know there is a better option.
Do you have arthritis?
It is fairly common for people who suffer with arthritis pain to resort to expensive surgery, steroid injections, and prescription medications to cope with their pain. Sometimes, these treatments can actually benefit patients with severe arthritis. More often than not, the better route to go involves physical therapy and natural treatments.
Arthritis does not discriminate either, and although it tends to be found often in elderly patients, it can affect anyone at any age. According to a study on JAMA, “[rheumatoid] arthritis (RA) occurs in about 5 per 1000 people and can lead to severe joint damage and disability.” Arthritis is also one of the top causes for disability in America. If left untreated by a professional, patients suffering with arthritis can experience extremely painful symptoms for long periods of time.
If you want to learn more about how physical therapy can benefit you and decrease your arthritis pain, contact St. Francis Rehab today.
PT and arthritis pain
Physical therapy can be an effective alternative to taking opioids for arthritis pain. There are several specific ways that a physical therapist can help an individual struggling with arthritis pain.
- Show How to Use Assistive Devices – During physical therapy treatment you can also learn how to correctly use devices such as braces, canes, or walkers.
- Provide Manual Manipulation – A physical therapist can provide massage or use hot or cold therapy to ease arthritic pain. Massage can help improve circulation which can reduce joint pain.
- Use TENS Therapy – TENS is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation therapy. This type of physical therapy includes pulses of electricity used to target arthritis pain. A physical therapist can place electrodes on the skin over the area of pain. Low amounts of electricity pass through to the joints. This can temporarily relieve arthritis pain.
- Suggest Home Modifications – A physical therapist will be able to make suggestions for your home environment that can help ease arthritic pain. These might include mats to stand on in your kitchen, ergonomic chairs, or certain types of mattresses or bedding you can use.
- Teach Exercises – A physical therapist can teach you exercises that will increase flexibility and strength. These exercises can also reduce the pain you experience when carrying out daily activities. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, research shows that individuals with arthritis can exercise without making pain worse.
Why opioids are not best for pain relief
- Opioids are a strong narcotic that works to numb pain. They have the ability to bind to the opioid receptors in the brain and limit the pain messages that are sent to the brain. Both oxycodone and morphine are considered opioids. While opioid medications can be beneficial when carefully used over short periods of time, they are not without serious drawbacks.
- They are highly addictive and often interact with other medications. In 2016 there were approximately 42,000 deaths related to opioid overdoses. If you’re currently taking some type of opioid for your arthritis pain, it’s important to know that there is a safer alternative that can reduce and even eliminate pain.
How arthritis affects your life
If you’re struggling with osteoarthritis you are likely suffering from pain, stiffness, and limited flexibility. Rheumatoid arthritis may cause similar symptoms as well as affecting organs in the body. Psoriatic arthritis and gout are also types of arthritis that can cause varying levels of pain, inflammation, and limited mobility.
Arthritis pain can affect even the simplest of daily activities. Doing laundry, cooking, and walking up and down stairs can prove difficult. The severity of pain can also change on a daily basis. It can become all too easy to rely on strong pain medication to cope with arthritis pain.
Isolating joint pain with physical therapy
It is true that sometimes the best remedy for arthritic joints is to get some bed rest. However, it’s very impractical for many of us to take long bouts of rest in bed or at home away from work.
There’s also the fact that not getting enough exercise or activity into your daily routine can worsen the condition by weakening your muscles.
Thankfully, there is a solution to this! Your physical therapist will know how to isolate a painful joint by bracing it. Bracing provides natural pain relief for patients with arthritis.
Treatment may include wrist splints or neck collars, depending on the central location of your pain. No matter where your pain might be, there is a specialized treatment option for that joint!
Find relief today
If you’re struggling with arthritis pain, a trained physical therapist can work with you to increase your mobility while decreasing pain.
Even if you’re already taking opioids an individualized physical therapy program may be able to help you reduce the amount of medication you’re currently taking. Contact a physical therapist to find out how you can reduce arthritis pain.