While there are many types of arthritis the two most common ones are osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis can affect people of any age group, even children, but is more commonly seen in older ones. If you suffer from arthritis you well know the pain which comes with it. Sometimes arthritis affects just one joint, for instance the knees or wrists, but often it involves a number of joints. Other common symptoms, besides pain, are deformation and stiffness of the joints.
So what can you do if you have been diagnosed with arthritis or suspect that you might have it? If you haven’t got a diagnosis yet you should see your doctor first in order to determine whether you actually have arthritis and if you do, which type it is. For instance you can only be diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis on the basis of a blood test for rheumatic factors.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed the next step is to see a physiotherapist who will be able to suggest an appropriate plan for you. As I have mentioned in my earlier broadcastings during the initial session the physiotherapist will gather necessary information regarding your past and present medical history and will perform a thorough musculoskeletal assessment. In the case of arthritis this assessment includes an analysis of the range of motion and muscle strength of the affected joints as well as other specific tests. Based on this assessment your physiotherapist will prepare a treatment program to address your individual needs.
There is a wide range of treatment options which are effective for arthritis management. This includes electrotherapy, drug phoresis, SCENAR therapy, balneotherapy, also known as mineral baths, and special exercises. On the point of exercises I will note that these are generally prescribed to all patients, irrespective of which other treatment they are having with us. So don’t assume that you will just be getting passive treatment; you will need to put in some work yourselves in order to achieve results. Of course the first step is always to abolish, or at least reduce, pain and inflammation. Once this is achieved, however, the focus shifts to an active exercise program. This is very important as surely you don’t want to continue having to go back to your physiotherapist for a long time. While we are always happy to see our patients our ultimate goal is to help each one independently maintain the results which they achieved.