A few years ago, I treated a man with severe arthritis in his shoulder. He could not raise his hand above his shoulder and was in tremendous pain. We spent several sessions together working on his shoulder to get it to have a greater range of motion. I’m happy to say that he was able to regain full use of his arm and that it remains fully functional to this day despite having severe arthritis.
Don’t Ignore Arthritis!
It’s sad to think that, with over 54 million adults suffering with arthritis, more people aren’t getting the care that would relieve their pain and restore them to a condition that would allow them to enjoy their life.
The problem with losing mobility is that it tends to snowball:
- If arthritis is ignored or simply masked with pain killers, a person is likely to become less and less mobile as time goes on.
- If a person loses mobility in their arm, they tend to use that arm less and less.
- At the same time, they become less active overall.
- This has negative consequences for a person’s health over the long run as many of the body’s systems begin to be affected.
This is all avoidable with the implementation of proper care.
A lot can be done to help a person with arthritis.
Treatment may vary depending on which joint the arthritis is in. Generally speaking, treatment involves stretching and strengthening the muscles around the arthritic joint.
- Stretching is done to allow for appropriate flexibility and greater mobility.
- Strengthening the muscles around the arthritic joint helps to decrease stress to the joint. You can imagine that the muscles around the joint act as a type of “shock absorber” to help protect the joint.
Exercise should not cause a lot of pain.
In fact, when exercises are done gently and appropriately, they can help alleviate pain. As flexibility and strength are gently increased, a person will be able to resume their usual activities free from discomfort.
Hot and cold treatments might be useful depending on the situation.
Proper use of heat and cold can help reduce the inflammation that is associated with arthritis as it stimulates blood circulation. Cold therapy can be very useful in managing pain and is especially helpful directly after an activity that has caused pain to the arthritic joint.
In very severe cases, an assistive device might be in order. Splints and braces can be used to support the joints. Shoe inserts may also be helpful to help reduce stress on some joints.
The most important thing to remember with arthritis is to keep moving!
Never assume that your current physical state is the one you are stuck with. There is almost always something that can be done to help you return to your regular activities. Don’t settle for being in pain or sitting on the sidelines.
When it comes to arthritis, relief is attainable!
Read our article about Osteoarthritis for more information.