Arthritis Specialist in Montecito, Santa Barbara CA

Arthritis can hurt. It creates stiffness, pain, limitations, and frustration. A common misconception is that there is nothing can be done about arthritis. All too often the advice given with the diagnosis of arthritis is, “Well you can take this medication for pain and inflammation, but that’s about all you can do…”

That’s horrible advice and leaves you feeling hopeless, stuck and without direction. You want relief from pain and a plan. It’s frustrating to be unsure what to do. Shouldn’t there be a treatment other than, “take these drugs or do nothing”.

Kineci is here to help. We understand arthritis and how it affects most everyone. So let’s explain a little bit more about arthritis and then what to do about it.

Arthritis comes in different forms, the more common wear and tear variety is called Osteoarthritis (osteo = bone, arthro = joint, itis = inflammation). It is an inflammation of the joint surfaces (cartilage lines the joint surfaces) where bones meet. It developed from abnormal wear-and-tear patterns which cause excessive stress and strain on the joints and the cartilage. Over time these abnormal stresses break down the cartilage and joint tissues leading to inflammation, pain, and limited mobility. In severe cases once it has degenerated beyond a certain point a joint replacement is common. Total knee replacements, and total hip replacements are the most  frequently replaced joints, but they can also do shoulders, ankles, and elbows. However, if the abnormal wear and tear patterns are never addressed those replaced joints will experience the same excessive stress and strain again leading to problems.

Our bodies are designed to move in 3 directions or planes of motion: forward/back, side to side, and rotate. Abnormal wear and tear patterns happen when there are imbalances in the 3 planes of motion. Moving in only one direction without balanced motion in the other directions is a big underlying alignment issue leading to arthritis.

If your car tires are bald it is because the alignment is off. If you simply replace the tires with new tires and never fix the alignment issue, the new tires will wear bald spots as well. New tires are like getting a joint replacement, you still need to address the alignment issue. Taking medications is like changing your oil to fix your bald tires. Medications never address the alignment issues.

The pitfall of arthritis is that it hurts when you move, so you stop moving, which actually makes things worse. Lack of motion leads to weaker muscles, more stiff and inflexible muscles and speeds up the degenerative process. Motion provides lubrication and nutrition to the joints and cartilage. When you stop moving or using a body part you stop feeding it nutrition and lubrication, which makes things more painful and stiff.

There are several things you can do on your own to help your arthritis feel better with less pain and stiffness as well as letting you enjoy activities. There are also things a skilled Physical Therapist can do to help.

 

What you can do to help your arthritis:

  1. Keep Moving!

You need to stay active and keep moving your body. Movement stimulates blood flow, lubrication, and nutrition to the joints. Pain and limitations get worse quickly when you stop moving, so keep active.

  1. Stretch the body parts above and below the affected areas.

For instance, if you have arthritis in your knee, stretch your hips and ankles/calves. If you have arthritis in your shoulder stretch your upper back and hips. If you have arthritis in your hip stretch your hamstrings and quadriceps as well as your low back. The body parts above and below the affected joint are where the muscles attaching to the painful joint live.

  1. Avoid specific activities that aggravate your symptoms.

Now that does not mean stop moving. It simply means if you can avoid aggravating and irritating the painful area then there will be less inflammation. Try smaller motions or shorter durations of your activity, or modify the way you do it to avoid aggravating pain.

Things your knowledgeable and skilled Physical Therapist can do to help:

  1. Identify specific movement imbalances and asymmetries that lead to more wear and tear on your joints.

A Movement Specialist can evaluate your movement patterns to figure out YOUR body’s specific needs. Everybody is different and unique. What may be right for one person may not be right for another person.

  1. Develop a specific Movement Prescription.

After evaluating your body’s specific needs an individual Movement Prescription will target your body’s unique imbalances. A good program will include your whole body and move in all 3 planes of motion.

  1. Joint and soft tissue mobilizations

A skilled Physical Therapist understands how to massage and mobilize the joints and muscles. There are lots of ways to use hands-on techniques to help your body improve the flexibility and health of the muscles along with helping the joints move better.

So here is YOUR plan:

  • Keep Moving and stay active.
  • Move in a variety of directions stretching parts above and below.
  • Get help from a skilled Physical Therapist to learn YOUR body’s specific patterns and needs.

More than your typical Physical Therapy in Santa Barbara. Kineci offers specialized care to meet YOUR needs.