Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative arthritis or OA, is a common ailment. It occurs as a result of the breakdown of joint tissue and cartilage. The joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis include the knee joints, the hips, the spine, and the fingers.
Physiotherapy for Osteoarthritis is highly recommended because it poses a low risk of adverse effects and it creates extensive benefits for patients. It is particularly recommended for hip and knee OA. In many cases individuals can make huge improvements through physiotherapy.
Physiotherapy Techniques That Are Used To Treat Osteoarthritis
Physiotherapy for Osteoarthritis can come in many forms, including exercise programs, massages, the use of walking aids, or even some form of electrotherapy. Physiotherapy for the treatment of osteoarthritis varies from patient to patient. The type and intensity of the therapy that is undertaken depend on a clinical assessment made by the physio and not a blanket standard that applies to everyone. For this reason, patients with osteoarthritis should see a doctor or a physio and they should not embark on a therapy regimen that hasn’t been specifically prescribed to them.
Physiotherapy for Knee Osteoarthritis
Hydrotherapy is a common treatment for knee osteoarthritis. Patients perform a series of guided water based activities, including stretching, aerobics, and strengthening exercises. While this method has its shortcomings, it is popular across the world, and it has proven to be effective time and again.
There are many other forms of exercise that are beneficial for individuals with knee OA, strong muscles above and below the knee help to lessen the load placed on the knee when weight bearing.
Manual therapy is the practice of using hands on techniques to reduce joint pain and stiffness. This method has been known to increase mobility and reduce pain in many patients with OA in the knee.
Acupuncture otherwise known as dry needling can help to reduce the pain associated with arthritis.
Thermotherapy is also one of the methods used to treat osteoarthritis. In this method, ice is applied to the knee joint, and it has the effect of relieving pain.
Physiotherapy for Hip Osteoarthritis
For hip osteoarthritis, physiotherapy is undertaken to reduce pain, to improve mobility, to increase strength and to make day-to-day tasks easier. Manual therapy and massage therapy techniques are commonly used to reduce pain. Physical stretching exercises are used to improve mobility. Special cardio and weight training exercises are carefully crafted to increase strength without creating too much strain on the patients. Exercises and rest patterns are also designed to ensure that patients recover as fast as possible.
While similar physiotherapy methods are used to treat different variations of osteoarthritis, no two patients are exactly the same. It is, therefore, wise to seek the advice of a physiotherapist before embarking on any physiotherapy regimen.