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Let’s talk about arthritis and physiotherapy’s role in that

    Arthritis is part of the lives of some 6 million Canadians. The burden associated with this musculoskeletal condition is considerable. Be it incidence, costs, disability, quality of life, economic pressure, or future implications associated with ageing population, there is a pressing need to prioritize the most effective and affordable physiotherapy therapies to address this.

    Arthritis is more than just one disease with a firm set of symptoms. It branches out in about 100 separate conditions that affect the body utterly different. Out of all of these, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are fighting for the first place as the most prevalent form of the disease. By 2040, it is projected that one in every four Canadians will have osteoarthritis, while rheumatoid arthritis is predicated to affect one in every five, by 2036.

    The standard of treatment involves invasive procedures such as knee replacement, or a drug treatment plan. However, many patients can feel like they are option less if for any reason they are not eligible for a surgery or to be put on specific medications. And this is something healthcare professionals are starting to observe quite frequently. Facing the growing challenges of ageing populations around the world, the number of various arthritis forms will increase as well. So what can these patients do to keep their symptoms under control and lead the best life they possibly can?

    A breakthrough study published in ‘Orthopedics This Week’ in 2018 has done a head-to-head comparison of non-surgical treatments and total knee replacement surgery. Their findings concluded that all patients should undergo a program of non-surgical therapy such as physical exercise and physiotherapy before committing to something as invasive as a medical procedure. Furthermore, the results showed that non-invasive options resulted in greater improvements and two out of three patients have the possibility to postpone undergoing total knee replacements by two years with physical therapy. Findings also highlighted improved outcomes and greater pain relief.

    Generally speaking, the objectives of physiotherapy in people suffering from various forms of arthritis aim to prevent disability, boost functional capacity and as well offer appropriate education and self-care advice. Physiotherapy has the capacity to heal in the least severe of cases, while the more advanced ones can benefit from it as a recovery aid. It can teach patients how to live with inflammation, improve their posture and movements as well as strengthen the muscles and restore joint mobility. The best part of this alternative treatment is that it can be customized to meet the needs of any person suffering from any type of arthritis.