What is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is an important part of treatment for most people with arthritis. It’s run by physiotherapists, who are part of a team of healthcare professionals who help you to resume or maintain an active and independent life both at home and work. They’re experts in assessing movement and can show you how to protect your joints. Your physiotherapist will:
- offer advice and reassurance
- help you to feel confident about managing your condition
- address any concerns or uncertainties
- set appropriate goals to keep you as active as possible
Specialist physiotherapists are trained in diagnosing and treating joint and muscle problems, and your GP may refer you to a specialist physiotherapist rather than to a rheumatologist or orthopaedic surgeon.
Your physiotherapist will start by asking you questions and examining the joint(s) you’re finding painful. This assessment will let them tailor the treatment to your needs. Treatment may include:
- a programme of specific exercises
- general advice on increasing your activity level and avoiding exercise-related injuries
- pain-relief treatments such as heat or ice packs, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machines, massage, manipulation, acupuncture or taping
- providing walking aids or splints to help you stay mobile and independent.
Understanding How Arthritis Affects You
- Managing your pain
- Pace yourself
- Take regular graded exercise
- Improving your fitness
- Mobilising, stretching and strengthening
- Electrotherapy using techniques such as ultrasound and low-level laser therapy can help to stimulate the healing process and therefore reduce pain.
- Manipulation can help to improve the range of movement in your joint. It’s not appropriate for every patient, but your physiotherapist will be able to advise whether it could be useful to you