By Conor Schmidt, SPT
Fear and the Emotional Impact of Arthritis
Arthritis is a term that is frequently synonymous with fear, but at Capital Area Physical Therapy, our PT patients receive exceptional treatment for arthritis in Saratoga Springs and Queensbury NY.
Arthritis begins with many symptoms. Maybe our backs start to hurt, or our knees begin to ache, so we finally go to the doctor. X-rays are taken and the diagnosis is clear: you have breakdown of the cartilage in the joint and pretty soon it will be bone on bone, also known as arthritis. Your mind may instantly begin to race and evaluate the options; you don’t want surgery, let alone a full joint replacement. Someone you knew had one of those and the recovery process was long and painful. So what do you do now?
Arthritis isn’t always as bad as you may have been led believe. It’s estimated that nearly 60% of the population has some form of osteoarthritis, with 90% of individuals developing it after 60 years old. However studies have shown not all individuals with arthritis have pain, and not all those with joint pain have arthritis. What does this mean? Go to a movie theatre and sit down, then count 10 random individual people. If you were to x-ray all 10, 6 of them would likely have arthritis. However if you were to ask them if they have pain they would more than likely deny it.
So what then is causing your pain? You’re not making it up, so if it’s not arthritis what is it? A physical therapy evaluation would be able to identify exactly what the cause is for your specific case. More often than not it’s actually the way you move. This may sound strange at first…how do you move differently from anyone else? You walk, you’re functional, and you don’t have any injuries just like the majority of the population. However, there are very subtle movement impairments that you and the people around you may never have noticed. These impairments can, overtime, lead to significant pain which can worsen if left untreated.
So what to do?
The best place you can start is to get evaluated by the right physical therapist. They are trained to pick up on these subtle movements and determine what may be causing your pain. Most of the patients we see at Capital Area Physical Therapy have had tremendous improvements in pain and function even after they found out they had significant arthritis. You can always ask your doctor about physical therapy and joint pain, or if you’d like you may call the clinic right away and see if they accept your insurance without a doctors referral! Just remember – you don’t always need to live with pain, regardless of age or medical conditions. The right PT can make all the difference.
*Editor’s note (Andrew Gaetano, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS):
Often times, the same thing can be said for other anatomical anomalies that imaging may pick up; bulging or herniated discs, spondylosis, stenosis, bone spurs, etc. Patients may have these findings on a MRI and have had them well before having symptoms, or have symptoms without having these findings. Obviously, this isn’t true in some severe cases/patients who do not improve with the right therapy. Based on the presentation and symptoms, a referral to an orthopedic surgeon may be necessary for further evaluation. But in most cases, the right PT can help resolve the movement problem, as long as you get the right advice and techniques.
What To Know About Arthritis Physical Therapy
When you have questions, and need to know more about treatment for arthritis, a qualified physical therapist can help reduce your pain and increase function. At Capital Area Physical Therapy and Wellness, we offer specialized treatment for arthritis in Saratoga Springs, Queensbury and surrounding areas. Contact us at 518-289-5242 (Malta) or 518-289-5242 (Queensbury). Serving Ballston Spa, Clifton Park, Malta, Saratoga, Glens Falls, Queensbury, Lake George region.