J. Haxby Abbott is well known in New Zealand for his research into osteoarthritis. His latest findings are scheduled for presentation at the American College of Rheumatology’s annual meeting in Boston although they have yet to be published in a journal. His latest study investigated the long term benefit of physical therapy for osteoarthritis.
He took 206 people with hip and knee osteoarthritis with an average age 66. They were divided into two groups: one group received standard medical care (i.e. pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs) while the other group had regular exercise and physical therapy added to their standard care.
It was found that after two years, those who did exercise and/or physical therapy had greater improvements in pain, stiffness and physical function than those who received standard medical care alone.
The Pros and Cons of Physical Therapy for Osteoarthritis
The pros of doing physical therapy for osteoarthritis are well documented. This research backs up what has already been found. Massage and exercises help!
However there are definitely some cons.
1. You can’t get away with doing your exercises once a week. It simply isn’t enough. After 20 years in practice and 5 years of specifically helping people with OA I have found 3 times a week seems to work best. You have to start by doing a little bit every day, build up over a few weeks to get yourself to the level you want and then drop back to maintain that level of improvement by doing a program 3 times a week. You have to accept this and simply make it part of your lifestyle.
2. Most of us aren’t lucky enough to get on a study that will pay for our physical therapy for a couple of years. Medical insurance or a health care system will pay for usually 6 to 8 treatments per year. But this study had people attending weekly for 2 years so that leaves a large number of weeks that you as an individual have to bear the cost! As many of us with OA are on a fixed income this can be a huge problem.
There is a way around this problem though….
BECOME YOUR OWN PHYSICAL THERAPIST!
I don’t mean go and train for 3 or 4 years! All you need to do is learn to massage your affected joint and do a sensible exercise program to stretch (that reduces your stiffness) and then strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments around the joint (to provide a good scaffolding around the joint) allowing you to do more with less pain.
In How to Treat Osteoarthritis Naturally you will learn to become your own physical therapist (plus get a whole lot of other treatment tips and lifestyle changes!). At under $20 that less than 1/2 the cost of one session with a physical therapist!
So if you want to do physical therapy for osteoarthritis but can’t afford the treatment costs (or wangle your way onto one of J. Haxby Abbott’s research projects!) then click here and grab yourself a copy of How to Treat Osteoarthritis Naturally.