Although no cure for arthritis currently exists, its symptoms can be managed. Thanks to decades of research, patients dealing with lumbar spine arthritis are no longer relying on rest and immobility to help them combat the pain and loss of strength associated with this condition.
Today, the consensus of the medical community is that inactivity may actually worsen arthritis by allowing the muscles supporting the spine to become weak. At Hampton Roads Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine, our experienced physical therapy team will design a customized treatment plan to alleviate your pain.
What Are Some Risk Factors for Developing Spinal Arthritis?
Arthritis can be caused by age-related wear and tear and usually begins to manifest itself after age 50. Excess weight, physical trauma and family history all may contribute to developing arthritis. The repeated stress of athletic activities and repetitive motions involved in various jobs also constitute arthritis risk factors.
What Should You Expect from Physical Therapy?
First, your physical therapist designs a personalized treatment plan to improve flexibility, increase strength and promote coordination and balance. Physical therapy typically focuses on the importance of posture and body mechanics.
Physical therapists may recommend alternative treatment options, or assistive devices, to lessen joint pain and stiffness. Arthritis makes simple tasks difficult. Assistive devices help compensate for diminished range of motion. Your therapist will identify the tasks likely to be most difficult for you and make recommendations to help. He or she will also make suggestions to enable you to modify your home and work environments to improve your functioning, as appropriate.
How Does PT-Supervised Exercise Help Spinal Arthritis?
A physical therapist incorporates exercise into patients’ treatment plans on a case-by-case basis. Because, on average, patients with arthritis start physical therapy at a relatively low level of fitness, an exercise plan in PT will usually begin slowly and increase gradually in intensity. Three types of exercise are usually appropriate for arthritis patients in physical therapy:
- Range-of-motion exercises, such as gently bending forward, back and side-to-side, are used to increased flexibility and reduce stiffness.
- Strengthening exercises, such as gentle weight-lifting, condition muscles.
- Aerobic and endurance exercises, such as walking, enhance cardiovascular fitness.
By working as a team, you and your physical therapist realistically attain measurable results. A physical therapist approaches arthritis with these goals: pain relief, increasing function, decreasing limitations and minimizing disability. At Hampton Roads Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, our physical therapy team frequently receives heartfelt “thank yous” from grateful PT and rehabilitation patients. Our PTs are as invested in your success as you are! Please contact us at (757) 873-1554 to schedule your appointment or request an appointment online.