If over-the-counter pain relievers no longer ease joints aching from arthritis, it may be time to consider physical therapy. Though many people turn to physical therapy, or PT, after surgery or an injury, PT is also effective for reducing arthritis symptoms by improving joint function.
Your first PT session will start with an evaluation of your joint problems and your goals. Do you want to be able to reach into your upper kitchen cabinets without shoulder pain? Do you hope to walk around the block or work in the garden without hip or knee pain? Once your therapist knows your goals, they will develop an exercise plan or offer other treatments.
Your therapist will show you how to do exercises that strengthen and support joints and build flexibility so you can move better. Many exercises are easy to do at home, and you’ll improve faster if you follow your therapy plan between PT visits.
PT can also teach you proper posture and techniques for doing daily activities with less strain. Your therapist may be able to recommend products like braces, splints or shoe inserts that alleviate joint stress.
If arthritis makes it hard to do what you love, ask your doctor for a referral or search the American Physical Therapy Association website for licensed therapists in your area. A couple of sessions every few months can go a long way in keeping arthritis pain at bay.