How Physical Therapy Manages Arthritis Pain

Merrill Physical Therapy in Merrill, Wisconsin, shares how their expert care can help you manage your Rheumatoid Arthritis pain or Osteoarthritis.


Do you suffer from arthritis pain? Arthritis pain can negatively affect your lifestyle and keep you from enjoying the things you love, but with the help of physical therapy, we can help you enjoy your day-to-day hobbies and lifestyle once more.

Regardless of whether you’re dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis or Osteoarthritis, our team at Merrill PT is qualified to help you reduce pain, improve mobility, and boost overall functionality.


What Can I Expect From My Time at Merrill PT?

First, will  help you by customizing a treatment plan designed for your specific needs. We will then teach you safe and efficient exercises for arthritis management, with a focus on your affected joints and muscles.

We will then train you on the correct exercise techniques, the use of assistive devices if necessary, and how to adjust activities to prevent further joint damage.

What Are the Key Benefits to Managing Arthritis Pain?

Some notable benefits of physical therapy for arthritis include:

  • Alleviating pain and inflammation: Physical therapists use modalities like heat, ice, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation to relieve pain and reduce joint inflammation. These methods increase blood flow, promote healing, and decrease discomfort.
  • Enhancing joint mobility and flexibility: Arthritis often leads to stiffness and restricted movement. Physical therapists may prescribe exercises and stretches to improve joint mobility and flexibility. By strengthening the muscles around the affected joint, we can help restore function and improve movement.
  • Strengthening muscles and boosting endurance: Weak muscles can exacerbate arthritis symptoms and add stress to the joints. Physical therapy includes targeted exercises to strengthen the muscles around the affected joints, providing better support and stability, reducing pain, and improving overall function.

3 Great Physical Therapy Techniques for Arthritis

Here are a few physical therapy techniques that can ease your arthritis:

  • Manual therapy techniques: This involves hands-on manual adjustments made by a physical therapist. This includes joint mobilizations, soft tissue mobilizations, and manual stretching. Manual therapy aids in improving joint function, reducing pain, and increasing range of motion.
  • Therapeutic exercises: These are specific exercises designed to improve strength, flexibility, and endurance. These exercises are customized to your needs and may include low-impact activities like swimming or cycling. They help stabilize joints, improve balance, and alleviate pain and stiffness.
  • Thermotherapy and cryotherapy: These are common modalities in physical therapy. Thermotherapy relaxes muscles, increases blood flow, and reduces pain, while cryotherapy reduces inflammation and numbs the area for pain relief.  Your treatment plan may include one or both of these modalities to help manage your symptoms.

Is Exercise Good for Managing Arthritis Pain?

You bet it is! Here are some great exercises you should try for effective arthritis pain management:

  • Low-impact exercises: Activities such as walking, swimming, cycling, and using an elliptical machine are gentle on the joints and promote cardiovascular health.
  • Range of motion exercises: These exercises aim to improve joint flexibility and reduce stiffness. Gentle stretches, yoga, pilates, and foam roller exercises help maintain and increase joint mobility.
  • Strengthening exercises: These exercises target the muscles surrounding the affected joints, providing them with increased support. Resistance training with light weights or bands, or using your body weight can help build muscle strength.

It’s crucial to consult with a physical therapist before starting any exercise program. They can provide personalized guidance based on your current fitness level, arthritis severity, and any other health conditions.

How to Safely Exercise with Arthritis

Exercise is a great way to manage arthritis pain. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Warm-up and cool-down routines: Always warm up your muscles and joints before starting an exercise routine. After exercising, cool down to reduce stiffness and soreness.
  • Use of assistive devices: Depending on the severity of your arthritis, you may need assistive devices to support your joints during exercise. Consult with your physical therapist to determine suitable devices for your needs.
  • Avoid overexertion: Pay attention to your body’s signals and avoid pushing yourself too hard. Start with low-impact activities and gradually increase the intensity and duration per your body’s tolerance.

By following these safety tips, you can exercise with arthritis in a way that aids pain management and improves your overall mobility. Always consult a physical therapist to create a personalized exercise plan tailored to your needs and limitations.

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