Physiotherapy & Joint Pain

Joint Pain
Joint Pain

Physiotherapy Could Resolve Joint Pain Without Surgery

The number of South Africans that experience joint pain, often accompanied by reduced mobility when the knees or hips are affected, has been growing. Research conducted in many other countries suggests that this is a widespread tendency and may be due, at least in part, to a lifestyle that has become more sedentary and the associated rise in obesity. Whatever the cause, the effects are certainly debilitating, and are no longer just a problem among older people. Although surgery may often be the only means to provide permanent relief, physiotherapy can play an important role in reducing pain and improving mobility, thus delaying the need for surgical intervention. Post-operatively, it then plays an important role in the process of rehabilitation.

The individual causes of joint pain vary quite widely, but will either be the result of an accidental injury or due to some disease. In either case, any of the bones, cartilage, muscles, tendons, or ligaments that are responsible for stabilising the joint, and ensuring smooth articulation, could prove to be the root of the pain. Though the physiotherapist is not a doctor, he or she is trained both in the diagnosis and treatment of muscular and joint problems.

Rather than medications or surgery, however, the tools of physiotherapy are non-invasive in nature. They include remedies, such as exercise programmes, pain relief with the use of massage, manipulation, ice packs, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), and various aids to assist mobility. In addition, the therapist is qualified to advise patients on how to increase their level of physical activity in a manner that will not risk injury or exacerbate their existing symptoms. In practice, while exercising can sometimes be painful, the lack of physical activity can often be more damaging.

A common cause of joint pain is rheumatoid arthritis, and it is a condition in which physiotherapy can often be particularly helpful. The pain often deters sufferers from participating in physical activities, leading to increased stiffness and muscle weakness that can begin to affect even simple day-to-day tasks. In such cases, the task of the therapist is to provide treatment appropriate to the muscular strength and mobility displayed by a given individual.

Osteoarthritis and sports injuries are also common causes of joint pain. Although surgery may be required in both cases, a suitable exercise programme can be a very effective means to alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Should a total or partial joint replacement eventually become necessary to provide more permanent relief, or if a traumatic injury to a joint requires some form of surgical intervention, physiotherapy will invariably constitute an important part of the recovery process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *