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Dr. Brandon Evans Health Tips

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Can Physical Therapy Help My Arthritis?


Physical therapy is one of the best ways to prevent and treat arthritis. First, we help you minimize the symptoms. We reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation.

Increase your flexibility and improve your physical function and mobility. We also (as our name suggests) take a ProActive approach to preventing progression and worsening symptoms.

How Does Physical Therapy Help With Arthritis?

 Arthritis PT

Physical therapy has a hugely beneficial effect on the symptoms of arthritis. We help you walk, run, and work out a little easier, which positively affects all aspects of your health and wellness, mental health, and susceptibility to depression. 

We know that arthritis can be a painful and sometimes debilitating condition. Therefore, when we treat a patient with arthritis, our treatment aims to improve your symptoms and develop your ability to move well and live your life to its full potential despite arthritis. However, most of all, we want you to feel good and smile again. 

Standard treatment for arthritis is usually a range of “band-aids” like medication, weird and (not really) wonderful supplements, and lotions and potions that promise miracles but fail to deliver. In most cases, all these products do is mask the pain (temporarily) and empty your checking account.

Physical therapy is proven to be even more effective at reducing pain and functional disability than steroid injections.


Well, we prefer to get right down to it and find the root cause because it’s 100% more effective to treat the symptoms of arthritis and many other musculoskeletal conditions that way.

  1. 1
    We look at your posture to see how it might contribute to your symptoms.
  2. 2
    We analyze your body mechanics and walking gait and look for muscle imbalances and/or joint misalignment.
  3. 3
    But we don’t stop there. We also educate you on how to move better (in and out of the gym) to prevent issues in the future by ironing out super-tight connective tissue, reducing stress on your joints, and strengthening your body – particularly around affected joints – with a range of reconditioning exercises.  

But how does that help with arthritis?

In simple terms, the customized treatment plan we create for you helps reduce pain, improve your movement, and build your range of motion. In essence, it works to holistically improve how your body moves, which ultimately halts the progression of arthritis and reduces existing symptoms. 

We also guide you through a workout routine that you can do at home or at the gym to complement your physical therapy sessions and speed up recovery. All the while improving your fitness level, reducing fatigue, and making you feel better than you have in years. No more daily stiffness, aching joints, or balance problems. 

We know from studies that a consistent exercise regimen is one of the best ways to keep the symptoms of arthritis in check in conjunction with physical therapy. That’s why we prioritize it here at ProActive. So don’t skip the gym because you’re in pain with arthritis. Instead, let us help you fix the pain, so you can get back in the gym and keep your joints and the rest of your body fit, healthy, and pain-free.

Not to mention regular exercise also helps to boost those feel-good endorphins that are super-helpful when you have chronic pain. They work to improve your mood, but they can also directly help reduce inflammation in the body. 

What Is the Best Type Of Physical Therapy For Arthritis?

 Arthritis Treatment

We can’t answer that until we evaluate your specific set of symptoms. But your individualized treatment plan may include the following:

  • Joint and soft-tissue mobilization
  • Massage and hands-on therapy
  • Myofascial release therapy 
  • Resistance training
  • Therapeutic body-weight exercises
  • Resistance bands
  • Lifestyle and ergonomic advice

Is Physical Therapy For Arthritis Painful?

 Arthritis Treatment

Our aim with physical therapy treatment is two-fold – improve your mobility and minimize your arthritis symptoms. There shouldn’t be any worsening of pain or other symptoms.

However, in the early days of treatment, some of the movements we guide you through might initially be a little bit of a challenge. But never painful. Plus, as is the case when you do any type of new exercise – you might have a small amount of muscle soreness in the days that follow your first few sessions.

Having said that, you must tell us if the mild muscle soreness is too much to manage or affects your daily life too much. We can always reduce the intensity until your body adapts to these new movements. 

We always guide you through a warmup before the session and a cool-down at the end to keep you safe. The warmup helps gently stretch each of your muscle groups and joints before we begin, to avoid injury and excessive soreness afterward.

We always start real slow – at a low intensity- and work with you to gradually build up the intensity over time. There are also plenty of opportunities to take a break if you need to, and we encourage you to take enough time to rest and recuperate in-between sessions and home/gym workouts. 

All the exercises we guide you through during physical therapy sessions are low-impact movements that don’t put excessive stress on your already sore joints.

We also encourage you to adopt the same strategy when working out outside of the clinic by focusing on low-impact forms of exercise such as Pilates, yoga, swimming, and walking/hiking.

These exercises all help you stay active and improve your cardio fitness. They also help you work on your core strength, flexibility, and balance. If any exercise you do outside of sessions results in pain, inflammation, or excessive joint stiffness, don’t do it. Try something else instead. 

The ProActive Way To Treat Arthritis 

 Arthritis Treatment

Unlike physicians who treat arthritis reactively with medication, steroid injections, and sometimes even total joint replacement, we prefer to take a ProActive approach to treat and prevent the progression of arthritis.

Our approach is individual to your and the specific set of symptoms that your present with, but the ProActive treatment plan we create for you is likely to look something like this:

  1. 1
    First, we find out what’s going on and what is causing your pain and symptoms and educate you on exactly what’s going on inside your body so you know and understand what you’re dealing with. 
  2. 2
    Second, we focus on getting you out of pain as quickly and effectively as possible. How? That depends on what’s going on for you. The structures that are causing the problem. But don’t worry. Whatever is going on – damaged tendons, ligaments, or tight connective tissue, we minimize your pain fast.
  3. 3
    When we’ve successfully reduced your pain, we can get to work on increasing your mobility and range of movement, so if your knee is chronically stiff to the point where you can barely move it, we’ll get it going again and get you working on simultaneously stretching and strengthening the surrounding tissues. So basically, we get you moving better. 
  4. 4
    Next, it’s stability and balance, so you have strong foundations to build your house on – before we move, build real strength in your muscles again and get you back firing on all cylinders. 
  5. 5
    The fifth stage in our ProActive treatment of arthritis is your “why?”. Why do you want to improve your symptoms and reduce pain? Is it to play a particular sport like tennis, golf, or pickleball? Dancing? Hiking? Whatever it is for you, at this stage, we work specifically on helping you achieve your goals. 
  6. 6
    The final stage of treatment – or rather the advanced treatment is moving on to more general health, strength, and performance and achieving once unimaginable goals that you can work towards now we’ve fixed the underlying issue and increased your strength, mobility, and stability. 

Book A Free Consultation

Our founder, Dr Evans, believes that surgeries and prolonged use of painkillers is not the answer to treating arthritis. Instead, we use a more ProActive approach that is infinitely more effective at treating degenerative conditions like arthritis.

If you’re still not sure whether physical therapy is right for you, the good news, we offer all new patients a free 30-minute consultation. This complimentary session is a chance for you to come and get to know us and hear more about the physical issues that are stopping you from achieving what you want to do.

We listen to your story, give you feedback, a better understanding of what’s happening underneath the hood, and some quick and easy tips to immediately improve your situation. We also set out what’s needed to fix the issue long term. 

So, if that sounds like something you want to do to take the first step towards a pain-free life, you can book your free consultation here.

Brandon Evans

Brandon Evans

Dr. Brandon Evans is the Founder and Owner of ProActive Physical Therapy and Wellness. He received his bachelor's degree from Purdue University and his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Western Kentucky. Dr. Evans has vast experience in outpatient orthopedics, hospital physical therapy, health and wellness, and preventative medicine. Dr. Evans provides peace of mind, reassurance, and hope to people who have previously been told:
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