The joints of your body provide the ability to move in a variety of ways with coordination and strength. When you’re suffering from joint pain, it can reduce your mobility and interrupt the performance of daily tasks. A frequently recommended treatment is physical therapy.
It may seem counterintuitive to use a painful joint. A natural tendency makes us want to rest to avoid pain. However, your body is made to move and it’s an essential part of natural healing. The key is choosing gentle, supportive movements that aid recovery. It’s a fundamental principle behind physical therapy.
At 360 Orthopedics, our team specializes in physical and occupational therapy to help you manage pain and regain joint function. We recommend physical therapy for seven key benefits it offers our patients with joint pain.
The benefits of physical therapy
Joint pain may result from injury, overuse, or degenerative conditions. Arthritis is a collection of diseases grouped for their negative effects on your body’s joints, affecting over 58 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and a major cause of joint pain throughout the country.
Regardless of the origin of your pain, physical therapy techniques are a key part of treatment, from cold and hot compresses, to stretches and strengthening exercises. Your physical therapist customizes a program to suit your condition and needs.
1. Pain reduction
Often, the first goal of a physical therapy plan is pain management. Gentle motion encourages blood flow, which helps to deliver the natural resources your body needs to carry out repairs. Healthy circulation also reduces inflammation and prevents fluid accumulation, factors that aggravate healing.
2. Faster healing
Reduced inflammation and increased circulation promote not only pain relief but faster healing. Joints often have little vascularization, so movement is crucial for refreshing nutrients to tissue that’s nourished in other ways.
3. Improved mobility
Gentle exercise and stretching maintains and extends the range of motion in painful joints. Resting joints to avoid pain can lead to muscle atrophy, which restricts joint flexibility, requiring harder work to recover function later in recovery.
4. Strength building
Removing the strain from load-bearing joints like the knees and ankles can relieve pain. As physical therapy exercises build muscle strength, the support tissues around a joint assume more of the force affecting the area. This reduces pressure on the joint that contributes to pain.
5. Promoting weight loss
While weight loss isn’t usually a primary target for physical therapy, building activity into your day contributes to the weight loss process. Losing pounds is another way to transfer loads away from your joints.
6. Improved body mechanics
Physical therapy can help you overcome movement patterns that work against healthy joint motion, issues like inefficient gait or poor posture. Improved body mechanics can often prevent reinjury or repetitive strain.
7. The right assistive devices
Braces, canes, crutches, and orthotics can help to reduce or relieve your pain when fitted and used properly. Your physical therapist’s know-how is essential to get the most from your assistive devices.
No matter what joint condition or injury you have, consult with us at any of the three 360 Orthopedics locations. You can book your appointment by phone or online. Schedule your visit today to gain the upper hand on joint pain.