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Does Physical Therapy Work for Arthritis?

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Written By Greg Specht

We are dedicated to providing comprehensive care for individuals struggling with arthritis. In this article, we cover the different types of arthritis, and how our physical therapists can help.

You don’t have to let arthritis restrict your life. With the right guidance and therapy, you can regain joint function and experience increased mobility.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a common condition characterized by joint inflammation, leading to pain, stiffness, and swelling. It affects people of all ages and backgrounds, hindering their ability to perform everyday activities.

There are different types of arthritis, but the main ones include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis.

What Kinds of Arthritis Are There?

Osteoarthritis: This form of arthritis primarily affects the elderly and those who have experienced joint injuries. It occurs when the protective cartilage covering the ends of bones wears down over time, causing friction and pain during movement.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks healthy joint tissues, leading to inflammation.

Gout: Affecting the joints, particularly the big toe, gout is caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals, resulting in severe pain.

Psoriatic Arthritis: People with psoriasis may develop this type of arthritis, which affects both the skin and joints. It can cause joint pain, swelling, and scaly skin patches.

A picture of a hand writing the word arthritis with a marker.

7 Ways Physical Therapy Can Help With Arthritis

Rehabilitation and Muscle Strength:

Arthritis can lead to muscle weakness and joint instability, impacting your ability to perform everyday activities. Our physical therapists will design personalized rehabilitation programs tailored to your specific needs and goals.

These programs focus on targeted exercises to rebuild muscle strength around affected joints, enhancing joint stability and overall mobility. Through guided exercises, you will improve movement, making it easier to carry out daily tasks with reduced pain and increased confidence.

Exercise and Stretching:

Physical activity is a cornerstone of arthritis management. Our therapists will guide you through exercises and stretching routines specially designed to improve joint flexibility and reduce pain.

These exercises can help maintain joint range of motion, prevent stiffness, and reduce the risk of joint contractures.

Isometric Exercises:

For individuals experiencing severe arthritis symptoms or during flare-ups, isometric exercises offer a safe and effective option.

Unlike traditional exercises that involve joint movement, isometric exercises involve muscle contractions without changing the joint angle.

By strengthening muscles around the affected joint, isometric exercises can improve joint stability and provide pain relief during acute arthritis episodes.

Lifestyle Management and Ergonomics:

Living with arthritis requires making specific lifestyle adjustments to minimize joint stress during daily activities. Our physical therapists are here to provide valuable advice on ergonomics, teaching you how to maintain proper posture and movement techniques. These adjustments can reduce unnecessary strain on your joints.

Mental Health and Coping Skills:

Chronic conditions like arthritis can take a toll on your mental well-being, affecting your overall outlook and emotional resilience. Our caring physical therapists understand the emotional challenges that often accompany arthritis.

They will provide support and coping strategies to help you navigate through difficult times. By adopting healthy coping mechanisms and maintaining a positive mindset, you can better manage stress, anxiety, and depression.

A physical therapist working with a patient to build a at home program.

Home Program and Pacing:

At our clinic, we believe that the benefits of physical therapy should extend beyond clinic sessions. Our therapists will work with you to develop a personalized home exercise program that complements your in-clinic treatment.

Consistency is key to achieving long-term results, and by incorporating exercises into your daily routine, you can maintain joint function and mobility.

Physical Therapist Treatments for Arthritis

Physical therapists employ a range of specialized treatments to alleviate arthritis symptoms and promote joint health:

Electrical Stimulation:

This treatment involves applying electrical currents to targeted areas to reduce pain and stimulate muscle contractions, aiding in muscle strengthening.

Therapeutic Exercise:

Physical therapists guide patients through therapeutic exercises designed to improve joint mobility and flexibility, providing relief from stiffness and discomfort.

Functional Training:

Functional training involves mimicking everyday activities to enhance joint function and movement patterns, ensuring better adaptability to daily life tasks.

Muscle Relaxation Techniques:

Techniques like deep tissue massage and gentle stretching can help relax tight muscles around affected joints, reducing pain and promoting healing.


Arthritis doesn’t have to control your life. Specht Physical Therapy is committed to helping you manage arthritis effectively, regain joint function, and experience enhanced mobility.

Through custom rehabilitation programs, exercises, lifestyle adjustments, and expert guidance, our physical therapists are here to support you to a more active and pain-free life.

Don’t let arthritis hold you back. Schedule an appointment and take the first step towards better joint health and improved quality of life today.