Some people think that since arthritis is a condition that stems from degeneration and aging, it cannot be helped by physical therapy.
The truth is that although the pain is chronic and caused by irreversible factors, that same pain CAN be changed through physical therapy. Research shows us these findings:
One study compared patients with knee osteoarthritis who were treated in therapy with both manual techniques (stretching and knee mobilizations) and with exercises versus people who just did exercises at home. The patients who went to therapy had twice the pain relief and improvement of function compared to the people who did exercises on their own. This relief lasted when they were rechecked a year later!
Another study compared patients with hip osteoarthritis who were all treated by physical therapists. Half of the patients received manual therapy (stretching and mobilizations techniques to the hip) and half did exercises for the hip only. The patients who had their therapists performing manual therapy on them showed better improvements with pain, stiffness, motion, and function compared to those with exercises only. The improvements with the manual therapy group were still better 29 weeks later when rechecked!
From Physical therapy treatment effectiveness for osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized comparison of supervised clinical exercise and manual therapy procedures versus a home exercise program & Comparison of manual therapy and exercise therapy in osteoarthritis of the hip: a randomized clinical trial.
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expert physical therapist!
1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste. 1
Orange, Ca 92868