Arthritis is a condition characterized by the gradual breakdown of joint cartilage. As the joint is broken down it can lead to joint stiffness and increased strain on the muscles in that area. Additionally, as joint function changes, it can lead to movement compensations and place strain on other areas of the body as well. Although degenerative changes are common with age they do not automatically result in pain. Research now shows that it is not the degeneration of the joint that is responsible for pain but the effects the degeneration has on how the joint is function – particularly the stiffness and muscles strain.
We focus on restoration and maintenance of function by emphasizing joint movement and increasing the ability of the muscles to support and stabilize the affected joints. Treatment is dependent on stages of degeneration but generally includes joint manipulation / mobilization, Myofascial Release Technique (MRT), and spinal stability exercises and/or functional rehabilitation. Low-intensity laser therapy can be a useful modality to help settle pain and inflammation associated with an arthritic joint. The goals of care are to maximize function of the joint and prevent further degenerative changes.