Moving Toward Arthritis Pain Relief
By Julie Keysor, PT, PhD
More than 50 million Americans have been diagnosed with arthritis.
That's a massive patient population, but that isn't the only reason it can be a difficult population to treat. When pain gets in the way of daily living, encouraging people with arthritis to improve their health through movement and exercise can be a challenge.
Arthritis steals movement and sometimes the things we love to do-but we can help our patients get it back. Exercise is one of the best ways to improve pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion, which are common symptoms of arthritis. Many people with arthritis think exercise will be painful-probably because they've tried and it was! But extensive research has shown that people with arthritis can exercise without worsening their pain!
And as we come to the end of National Arthritis Awareness Month, it's a good opportunity for physical therapists to remember that we don't need to rely solely on our one-on-one time with patients to improve their quality of life.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with APTA support, created resources to help clinicians find community-based physical activity programs to help people manage their arthritis and other related chronic conditions outside a therapeutic setting. You can find those on the APTA website: http://www.apta.org/Arthritis/
Meanwhile, APTA offers extensive information for the public at MoveForwardPT.com's Health Center for Arthritis.
Let's finish May by making a difference in the lives of our patients and clients by helping them change their behavior, allowing them to improve their pain and quality of life through movement. After all, movement is great medicine.