Rehabilitation to Help Manage Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is a painful and debilitating disease and is so prevalent that according to the Arthritis Foundation, 22 percent of adults in the United States report having doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Research shows* it can be so painful that it causes many to leave the workforce early. The good news is that our arthritis rehabilitation programs can help those diagnosed with arthritis manage the pain and other debilitating side effects to lead healthy, active lifestyles.
* Springer (2008, February 7). Rheumatoid Arthritis Sends Many Into Early Retirement. Science Daily.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, affecting approximately 27 million Americans. It is described as the breakdown and loss of a joint’s cartilage. Cartilage covers the ends of the bones in the joint. When cartilage breaks down, the bones rub against each other and become rough and may even over-grow (developing bone spurs) resulting in joint pain, aching stiffness and swelling. The Arthritis Foundation says OA typically affects only certain joints, such as the hips, hands, knees, lower back and neck.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is the most serious form affecting approximately 1.3 million Americans. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the onset of RA is usually middle age, but it often occurs in the 20s and 30s. It is described as an inflammation of the lining of the joints and can lead to long-term joint damage, chronic pain, loss of function and disability.
Juvenile Arthritis (JA) is any form of arthritis, or arthritis-related condition that develops in teenagers or children under the age of 18. Common symptoms of JA include the usual -- pain, swelling, tenderness and stiffness of joints, causing limited range of motion.
Gout and Fibromyalgia are other common rheumatic conditions associated with arthritis. An estimated 3.0 million adults have gout (uric acid build up in joints), and another 5.0 million suffer from fibromyalgia (tender points in joints, muscles, tendons and soft tissues).
Note: There are different data sources for some of the arthritis-related statistics, therefore case definitions and terminology also vary.
Arthritis Rheum 2008;58(1):26-35. [Data Source: NHANES]
Arthritis Rheum 2010 Jun;62(6):1576-82. [Data source: Patient Cohort, Minnesota]
Arthritis Rheum 2008;58(1):26-35. [Data Source: 1996 NHIS]
Arthritis Rheum 2008;58(1):26-35
While research continues to make progress in finding treatments for arthritis, the best prevention for arthritis is early detection and exercise. If detected early, physicians can prescribe inhibiting drugs that may limit early onset of symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control recommends rigorous physical activity as a way to help arthritis patients reduce pain and manage other chronic conditions.
While there are numerous treatment options, rehabilitation can make a real difference in arthritis pain relief and coping skills. Our arthritis rehabilitation program focuses on:
- Learning about the disease process and ways to manage symptoms and pain
- Increasing mobility, strength, flexibility and dexterity
- Learning/practicing to protect joints and pace activities during daily tasks (grooming, dressing and driving), chores and work
- Maximizing independence
In some cases, doctors may recommend joint replacement surgery for more severe arthritis conditions. In these instances, we can help a patient by providing pre-surgical strengthening and conditioning of the affected area(s), which is proven to aid in recovery. Post-surgery therapy helps the patient regain maximum use of the affected joints. Ongoing physical therapy keeps the joints strong.
The Arthritis Foundation is a national not-for-profit organization that supports the more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions.