Arthritis Month: What Matters in Life?May 17, 2016
Treating patients recently, I have received some questions about arthritis, such as:
Is it possible to reverse the effects of arthritis?
Can I change the structures involved in arthritis?
I’ve tried everything! Can physical therapy help?
My response is always the same:
What matters in life aren’t the physical structures
that limit what we can do.
Life is defined by what good health allows us to do.
Everyone from moms to athletes can suffer from this degenerative condition.
Every day, I see patients who do not care about what their x-rays show.
They care about walking, standing, and completing everyday activities without pain.
The most common form of arthritis that I see as a physical therapist is osteoarthritis.
The most commonly affected joints are the knees, hips, and spine. This results from the repetitive stress placed on the surface of our joints.
To help improve function, we need to decrease the amount of force placed on our joints. This means we need to re-assign the stress of movement.
What does this mean?
Here’s a simple example to either try or think about at home:
- Jump and land on one foot with your knee locked straight.
- Then try and jump again, but this time land with your knee slightly bent, cushioning yourself with slight movement from your hip and knee.
Which one was better? Which one felt easier?
You’ll notice that the attempt when you used movement to help soften the landing felt easier and more natural.