Joint stiffness is a feeling that the movement of a particular joint is getting restricted. The stiffness is generally accompanied by pain and occurs mainly due to arthritis or as a result of an injury to joint. Appropriate and regular exercises can help reduce stiffness and pain, increase flexibility, improve endurance, develop muscle strength and keep bone and cartilage in healthy condition.
What physiotherapy is all about? How it can be helpful in treating joint stiffness?
One of the allied health professions is physiotherapy, which by using mechanical force and movements, exercise therapy and electrotherapy, acts as a remedy for impairments and promotes a person’s mobility and joint function. The kind of physical therapy treatment which people receive for their joint stiffness mainly depends on the exact cause for the condition and other symptoms such as pain and inflammation.
Procedure for treating joint stiffness through physiotherapy-
- When you go for physiotherapy, the first thing a physical therapist would do is to ask you about the exact condition with respect to the symptoms, which you might be experiencing along with the joint stiffness. You should clearly state to the physiotherapist since when have you been experiencing stiffness. The very next thing which a therapist would ask is, your medical history if you have been suffering from arthritis.
- After all the preliminary diagnosis through the question-answer session, the physiotherapist would conduct a thorough physical examination and look to evaluate the joint and other structures associated with it to find out what exactly is causing joint stiffness and other symptoms like, pain, inflammation etc.
Now, after the completion of his questioning and physical examination, the comprehensive physical therapy treatment plan would be prepared as per the exact of your stiffness, symptoms and your needs.
First, by determining the exact cause of joint pain and then treating it with highly effective therapies, physiotherapy acts as a preventive mechanism for reducing joint stiffness and the pain associated with it.
The treatment options which physiotherapists generally go for are as follows:
- Manual therapy: this manual therapy generally involves soft tissue and joint mobilization to provide relief from joint restriction and muscle tension.
- Soft tissue massage: soft tissue massage involves therapists only using their hands o reduce back muscle tension and restore mobility to stiff joints, as an effort to allow the patient more flexibility.
- Acupuncture: the physical therapy of acupuncture helps in restoring the balance of energy in the body and thus provides relief from pain, inflammation and proceeds with the healing process. This is done through single-use fine needles, which are used at different ‘trigger’ points on the body, as per your symptoms, thus helping to stimulate the flow of energy.
- Ultrasound: while conducting an ultrasound, physiotherapist uses a transducer to send a stream of high-frequency sound waves into one’s body. These waves bounce off one’s organs, muscles, and tissues.
- Exercises: physiotherapist would instruct you to do some stretching exercises where you would require moving your limbs without support and muscle strengthening exercises which would make you kneel, stand and sit to maintain your own balance.
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