What Role Does A Physical Therapist Play For The Treatment Of Arthritis?

Suppose you are tired of trying various medications or drugs to treat arthritis but cannot get relief from the arthritis pain. It is time for you to switch to another treatment that can prove effective. Physical therapy can be beneficial for the treatment of providing relief from arthritis pain. It can help in the manipulation of damaged joints to increase their mobility. 

There are two types of arthritis – Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. A certified physical therapist can be beneficial in treating arthritis pain.

Role Of Physical Therapy In Treating Osteoarthritis

It is usually seen that osteoarthritis affects the knee joint, fingers, spine, etc. Physical therapy is generally recommended for patients suffering from osteoarthritis because it provides the benefits of pain reduction and improving the body’s functioning. There are various modalities that the physical therapist may use for the treatments of osteoarthritis, such as:

  • Exercise
  • Massage Therapy
  • Electrotherapy
  • Providing Walking Aids To The Patients

Physical therapy for treating hip and knee osteoarthritis may include the following:

  • Hydrotherapy – It leads to the utilization of water for the treatment of arthritis. Various specialized exercises are being performed underwater by maintaining a temperature of about 33-36 degrees celsius. Physical help guides the patients with specific stretching, strengthening, and aerobic exercises for treating osteoarthritis. 
  • Manual Therapy – Manual therapy is another approach where the physical therapist uses hands-on techniques to relieve pain and stiffness. Manual therapy can be beneficial in treating arthritis in the hip and knee. 
  • Hip Protection Strategies – It involves guiding the patients about the techniques for protecting the joints. In this, the patients are suggested to avoid carrying excess weight that may pressure their joints. The experienced physical therapist for relief from arthritis pain also provides you with certain gait aids, and they are usually advised to use appropriate footwear.  

Other approaches, such as dry needling and thermotherapy, have proven very effective in treating hip and knee osteoarthritis. 

Role Of Physical Therapy In Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis:

Physical therapists are usually seen performing a test for physical assessment before starting treatment. Proper assessment involves evaluating the gait, range of motion, muscle strength, posture, respiratory functions, etc. 

Some methods of physical therapy for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis may include the following:

  • Hot Or Cold Therapies – These therapies are usually given to patients suffering from acute and chronic forms of rheumatoid arthritis. Cold packs are generally given to patients suffering from acute conditions, whereas hot packs are usually given to those with chronic rheumatoid arthritis. Hot therapy is generally given for about 10 to 15 minutes once or twice daily. The modalities for the application of cold packs may include ice nitrogen sprays, cryotherapy, etc. 
  • Electrical stimulation – Electrical stimulation is the most common form of electrotherapy used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It is seen that the patients who received electrical stimulation therapy experienced less pain after receiving the treatment once a week or once a month. 
  • Hydrotherapy – The patients get early relief from rheumatoid arthritis after hydrotherapy is given at regular intervals. The hydrotherapy technique helps treat both acute and chronic conditions. 

Benefits Of Physical Therapy For Treating Arthritis

Following are some of the benefits of physical therapy used for the treatment of arthritis:

  • Increasing The Joint Of Motion – Osteoarthritis usually leads to joint stiffness. Physical therapy can be beneficial for increasing the ability to bend and strengthen the joints. 
  • Strengthening The Muscles – Physical therapy helps in strengthening the muscles. When osteoarthritis affects the protective cartilage in the joints, it creates painful friction in the joint bones. A skilled physical therapist can help a lot in treating the condition, which can increase the strength and stability of the joints in your body. Muscle-strengthening exercises can decrease friction.  
  • Improved Balance – If you are suffering from osteoarthritis, you may suffer from the problem of impaired balance which can be caused due to weakening of the muscles, a decrease in joint mobility, and various other factors. Physical therapy can help incorporate balance components in their treatment plan, which may be very effective in improving the condition and the body’s overall balance. 
  • Postural Adjustment – Maintaining good posture can reduce the stress on the arthritis joints in your body. A physical therapist for arthritis pain at Aurora, Co can be very beneficial in educating you about maintaining a good body posture. Some simple changes, such as adjusting the sitting position while working, adjusting your car seat, etc., can be beneficial for maintaining good posture. It may include certain modifications in your home and your workplace. 


Exercise and other natural therapies can play an effective role in providing relief from arthritis pain and swelling. An experienced and certified physical therapist can help determine the best course of therapy or treatment for arthritis based on the causes and your symptoms. The goal of the treatment should be to reduce the stress on the joints so that you can enjoy a better life. 

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