According to the Center for Disease Control, arthritis affects nearly one in five adults in the U.S., totaling nearly 54 million men and women. To raise awareness for this pervasive condition, as well as offer ways to alleviate pain and promote wellness, the month of May is deemed ‘Arthritis Awareness Month’.
Osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis that commonly affects the hips, knees, neck, and back, but can occur in almost any joint in the body. It is the result of regular “wear and tear” of the joints. This common and chronic condition, occurs when the cartilage or cushion between joints wears down. This results in stiffness, swelling, pain, and discomfort. Though people at any age may be diagnosed with this type of arthritis, it is most common in people older than 65 years old. According to the Arthritis Foundation, common risk factors include increased age, overuse of the joint, previous injury, and genetics.
Because osteoarthritis is a chronic, or long-term, disease, there is no permanent cure. However, you can maintain control in several areas. You may manage your pain symptoms, improve joint flexibility, maintain a healthy weight, and remain active. Though your knees, neck, and back may feel stiff and sore, physical activity may be one of the most helpful ways to combat osteoarthritis. Incorporating strengthening exercises can strengthen the muscles around your joints, thus relieving them of the burden while reducing pain.
Physical therapy is another key aspect of managing your osteoarthritis. A skilled physical therapist can create a plan of care that will improve your range of motion, flexibility and increase your strength. This will greatly be reducing your risk of further damage. You will also learn ways to properly use your joints, to decrease the abnormal stress that is causing more wear and tear that may aggravate your symptoms.
If you suffer from chronic hip, knee, neck, and/or back pain, as well as pain in any joint due to osteoarthritis, schedule an appointment with us today at (303)327-5511. With the help of physical therapy, you may soon be able to continue doing the things you love without pain holding you back.