3 Critical Steps for Overcoming Arthritis - Genuine Care Physical Therapy
Youngsun Kim

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3 Critical Steps for Overcoming Arthritis

Arthritis

Are you blaming your age, job, or injuries for arthritis? Are you surviving with the help of temporary patch-work remedies such as painkillers or steroid shots? Maybe you think joint replacement is the ultimate solution? If so, it’s time to re-evaluate. Our modern world is intertwined with the medical industrial complex – its campaigns and commercials which all talk about magic painkillers, different kind of injections, and countless surgeries. But, people are fed up: none of these options provide the ultimate solution, and most actually have detrimental side-effects.

How can we begin tackling arthritis, then? Well, it’s good to have an understanding of what the affliction actually is. Have you ever heard of the phrase, bone-on-bone? This is a layman’s term that refers to a complete loss of cartilage, and therefore the total reduction of joint space. In effect, this is much of what arthritis is… though, cheer up – it isn’t all doom and gloom, you’ll see. The sad thing is, though, that the medical profession uses this unfavorable language and thus paints a very dark picture – one that often leads to invasive procedures, strong medication, injections, and surgeries.

Yes, losing cartilage is a problem: the absorption of body weight is hindered and it is, thus, problematic for motion. Yet, I’ve never seen a joint that truly is bone-on-bone. And importantly, what is present on an X-ray image cannot predict someone’s pain, especially not in the spinal or shoulder regions. There is hope: your pain can be eased. I urge you not resign yourself to a life full of tablets and surgery – there are natural wellness techniques and holistic therapies available… and they really DO work.

The good news is that natural physical therapy, delivered by a skilled and specialized therapist, can change the usual course of arthritis. With hands-on physical therapy, you will become more active and mobile, thereby allowing you to, once again, experience life fully.

Here are Genuine Care Physical Therapy, we have your best interests at heart. We’re so excited to help you get back to the pain-free life you deserve, and that’s why we’re about to talk you through 3 critical steps for overcoming arthritis. Take a look:

1. Uncover the Problem and Treat it Naturally

The first step on your path to a pain-free life is to find out exactly what’s wrong. In many cases, the actual cause of the problem is not what most people think. For example, arthritis is not solely a cartilage related issue, despite that common misconception. We need to find what the real, true source of the pain is. The results might surprise many people, especially after a vested belief in the bone on bone rationale. Often, in fact, stress and pressure placed on surrounding structures such as muscles, ligaments, joint sacks, tendons, or bursas, are the source of pain.

Old habits, poor posture, and non-alignment can cause stress on those parts of body. It can either slowly build, because of micro-stresses, or an injury can trigger rapid onset, that is, our bodies start to guard the painful or stressed body parts. In the end, we can end up limping and altering our gaits. That can trigger different kinds of problems – see my other article, namely, The Actual Cause of Arthritis. In order to get the RIGHT information, medical practitioners need to perform a thorough physical examination so as to note body alignment, posture, quality and quantity of body movement, gait, and the health of surrounding structures. Yet, all too often this type of examination never occurs. And that is why natural, hands-on, professional physical therapy is so important: the root cause of the problem needs to be found. Your recovery starts here.


2. Heal the Damaged Structure

After finding out exactly what is going on, the damaged structure needs to recover motion, strengthen, and heal. There are three aspects to achieving this goal:

  • Introduce motion without pain/stiffness. This can be done via the use of manual therapy techniques, that is, skilled hand movements applied to the body by a professional therapist. These movements may include mobilization/manipulation, massage, passive increase in the range of motion, etc. They are intended to loosen tight muscles and soft tissues, increase movement in joints, induce relaxation, mobilize soft tissue and joints, modulate pain, and reduce soft tissue swelling, inflammation, or restriction. Manual therapy techniques promote pain-free motion in those patients suffering from arthritis, thereby promoting a new-found confidence.
  • Regular exercises. Doing moderate intensity exercise – regularly – is a very important step. When you exercise, you’re lubricating your joints. Physical activity is absolutely essential on your road to health; a sedentary lifestyle is the number one culprit when it comes to stiffness and arthritis. There are three different exercises that will be particularly beneficial to you: stretching, as it will maintain loosened muscles; aerobic activities (e.g., walking, biking, swimming), as it will increase blood circulation and help your body stay active for a longer period of time; resistance training (e.g., weightlifting), as it’s beneficial for muscles and bone strength. We need to keep in mind that bone health is vital for a healthy immune system and the healing process – bone marrow and stem cells are produced inside of human bones, so strengthening exercises have great benefits when they are performed safely and gradually.
  • Diet and supplements. Changing your diet is helpful when it comes to minimizing inflammation. Research shows that losing 10% of your body weight offers significant benefits for joint health. In fact, the healthier your immune system is – as a result of an improved diet – the looser your joints are. Therefore, avoiding sugar, bypassing processed food (which contains much more added sugar and other chemicals), and consuming fewer animal-based, fatty foods can be very beneficial. Moreover, adding natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, both of which are found in colorful fruits and vegetables, will boost your immune system. Furthermore, preliminary research shows that dietary supplements can also help with joint inflammation; these include turmeric, collagen, hyaluronic acid, and Boswellia.

3. Develop a Healthy Body, Healthy Habits, and a Healthy Lifestyle

Yet, you can’t settle there. As soon as you begin recovering from arthritis – and even before you do – you need to develop a healthy body, healthy habits, and a healthful lifestyle. Changing your habits and lifestyle is not easy. But knowing this, you need to think about what might happen in five years if you don’t make any positive changes, right now. If no changes are made, you will have taken a hundred steps backwards in five years’ time. Picture yourself then – the sadness, darkness, and immobility – this image will help you initiate changes. You also need to change your daily schedule in order to include physical activities. Clear time-slots on your daily calendar, and make yourself available at a particular time of day to do exercises, meditate, or spend quality time with those you love in a healthful, active manner. Unless you set time aside, it is hard to change your old habits and lifestyle.

***

Be smart – determine how much you can push yourself. I recommend that you give yourself enough time to warm up and cool down during exercise: be observant of your body. The condition your body is in fluctuates daily, so you need to slow down when you feel tired. Alternately, when you feel good, you can increase the intensity or duration of your exercise. Make sure to increase your activity levels by no more than 10% at a time. Make the decision to embrace a healthy lifestyle. Participate in activities such as walking on a beautiful beach, watching the sunset, playing with your kids or grandkids, playing 18 holes of golf, attending Yoga or group exercises, traveling to your favorite vacation spot, and going out for a movie or to your favorite restaurant with friends and family. At Genuine Care Physical Therapy, we’re always here to help. Contact us for more information about how we can help you achieve the pain-free life you dream of. Don’t let arthritis ruin even one more day.

Dr. Youngsun Kim

Dr. Youngsun Kim is a founder and CEO of Genuine Care Physical Therapy. A graduate from Sahmyook University with a B.S. in physical therapy, he completed his doctorate in the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. Dr. Kim is a board-certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist and a board-certified Sports Clinical Specialist from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties, Manual Therapy Certification from the Evidence in Motion Institute of Health Professions, Certified Neuro-Development Technique(NDT) from Recovering Function, and a TPI Certified Level 1 from Titleist Performance Institute.
Dr. Youngsun Kim

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