When you think of swimming, you likely picture summer days at the beach or pool. However, swimming is more than just a recreational activity. Swimming is one of the best natural ways to alleviate joint pain, strengthen muscles, and improve overall health. Our team at Free Body Physical Therapy, physical therapy Chicago IL, would like to discuss how swimming can help your joint pain, so continue reading to learn more.
What Causes Joint Pain?
If you experience frequent joint aches, you’ll probably want to know what causes them and what can be done to alleviate your pain. Joint pain can stem from various causes and is extremely common. This type of pain can affect nearly every part of your body, from your fingers and hands to your lower extremities. Some of the prevalent causes of joint pain include:
- Tendon Injuries – Injuries to the tendons like inflammation and swelling or tendon tears are common causes of joint pain.
- Osteoarthritis – Osteoarthritis is one of the leading causes of joint pain that occurs when the lining of the joints is worn down. While osteoarthritis can damage any joint, it commonly affects the hands, hips, and knees.
- Ligament Injuries – Injuries to the ligaments around the ankles and knees can contribute to joint pain.
- Meniscus Injuries – Injuries to the cartilage in the knee that stabilizes the joint are another common cause of knee pain. The meniscus is usually injured during athletic activities.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can lead to joint inflammation and pain.
Why Is Swimming Good For Joint Pain?
Swimming is one of the most popular recreational activities for a reason. You don’t need to be a skilled swimmer to reap the benefits of this exercise. Many people use water therapy to aid in the rehabilitation of bone and joint injuries. If you’re looking for low-impact exercises to get back into shape, Free Body Physical Therapy can help! Whether you’re dealing with arthritis, lower back pain, or post-surgical joint pain, swimming is one of the best activities you can perform under the guidance of a skilled physical therapist. Here are some of the reasons why swimming is good for joint pain:
- Low Impact – When you swim, your body is supported by the water, which takes some of the pressure off of your joints. This makes swimming an excellent exercise for people with joint pain, as it is gentle on the joints and does not put too much strain on them.
- Improves Muscle Strength – When the muscles around the joints are strong, they can provide more support and stability to the joints, which can help to reduce pain.
- Improves Range of Motion – The movements involved in swimming can help to increase your range of motion and flexibility. This can, in turn, help reduce joint pain and the risk of future injuries.
- Low-Stress Cardio – Swimming is a great way to get in some cardio without putting too much stress on your body. Cardiovascular exercise is important for overall health, but it can be difficult for people with joint pain to do high-impact activities such as running or jumping. Swimming is a great alternative that will still provide cardio benefits without putting too much strain on your joints.
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Swimming is a fun and enjoyable activity that has many health benefits. If you are looking for a way to reduce your joint pain, swimming is a fantastic option. Not only is it low-impact and gentle on the joints, but it is a great way to improve your overall health and fitness. To learn more about the benefits of swimming for joint pain, be sure to contact Free Body Physical Therapy, physical therapy Chicago IL, and request an appointment today!
While dry needling may sound intimidating, this modality is a safe, minimally discomforting, and effective technique for patients with certain musculoskeletal ailments. At Free Body Physical Therapy, physical therapy Chicago IL, we offer dry needling to help patients find relief from numerous conditions. Continue reading to discover what dry needling can treat and if it could be right for you!
What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling, also known as trigger point needling, is a treatment that aims to improve range of motion and relieve muscle pain. As the name suggests, dry needling involves the insertion of extremely thin needles into the skin to target specific tissues underneath. Unlike acupuncture treatments, which aim to restore energy flow in the body, dry needling is a technique based on science with more precise treatment goals. Dry needling has been shown to successfully treat a variety of conditions, including:
- Tennis Elbow.
- Neck and Back Pain.
- Joint Problems.
- Plantar Fasciitis.
- Myofascial Pain.
- Shoulder Impingement.
- Shin Splints.
- Trigger Points
Trigger points are one of the more common conditions treated with dry needling. Trigger points are sore areas of knotted muscles. These knots create referred pain, which can take alternate pathways to create symptoms in other parts of the body.
How Does It Work?
Irritated, inflamed, or damaged tissue often causes nearby muscles to contract. When this occurs, blood flow in these areas is restricted and worsens your condition. Dry needling in the area of injury stimulates a healing response. The tiny needles cause micro-tears, which prompt your body’s natural defenses and bring nutrient-rich blood to the site, boosting tissue repair.
Unlike hollow needles that contain and deliver medications, this technique uses filiform needles that do not contain anything. There are various theories about how dry needling works. Dry needling stimulates a local twitch response, which is an involuntary contraction of muscle fibers. This stimulation triggers a reaction that has an analgesic effect. Inserting the dry needles also causes small lesions that stimulate regeneration and tissue repair in the days following treatment.
What To Expect During Your Treatment
Before administering dry needling, our team at Free Body Physical Therapy will evaluate your condition and verify your eligibility before beginning any treatments. If you are eligible, our team will explain the process to ensure you are comfortable and receptive to treatment. Patients with the following conditions should consult with their healthcare provider to determine if dry needling would be beneficial:
- Vascular Disease.
- Compromised Immune System.
Certain medications like blood thinners should be cleared for dry needling. Dry needling treatments generally take up to 15 minutes. At the beginning of your session, your therapist will sterilize the affected area and prepare the needles. There are several different dry needling techniques, including:
- Superficial – The needle will be inserted into the skin just above the trigger point for around 30 seconds. The insertion may be repeated a few minutes later.
- Non-Trigger Point – Rather than inserting the needles directly into the knots, this technique involves placing needles in the muscle tissue surrounding the trigger point.
- Pistoning – Pistoning technique involves quick insertion and removal of the dry needles into the trigger points. The needle pricks the knot but is not left in for any time.
While this treatment may sound intimidating and painful, dry needling is only minimally uncomfortable. You may experience muscle soreness or twitching during the treatment, but these are considered a good sign and indicate that your muscles are responding to treatment.
Dry needling is a highly effective technique that is intended to relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. At Free Body Physical Therapy, physical therapy Chicago IL, our knowledgeable staff is here to guide you through your healing journey. If you are interested in dry needling to relieve your pain and expand your range of motion, be sure to contact us today and request an appointment!
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks that many people consume daily. When it comes to arthritis, there is often discussion about whether it is good or bad for your condition. Our team at Free Body Physical Therapy, physical therapy Chicago IL, would like to discuss some of the health implications of coffee, how it can affect arthritis, and how our team can help manage your arthritis symptoms. Continue reading to learn more.
Benefits of Coffee for Arthritis?
If you are living with arthritis, you may wonder if drinking coffee could worsen your condition. Coffee is a widely enjoyed, low-calorie beverage that can provide caffeine, antioxidants, potassium, and other nutrients. Research regarding the relationship between coffee and arthritis symptoms does not provide a clear picture since several factors play a role in how coffee can affect your joint health. When consumed in moderation, coffee can have numerous benefits for your health, including:
- Improved Metabolism
- Decreased Fatigue
- Improved Cognition
- Increased Alertness
The various antioxidants in coffee can help protect your body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals, which increase damage and inflammation in the body. This beverage also has anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is the primary symptom associated with arthritis, so reduced inflammation in your body is better for your health. Caffeine can also work as a pain reliever. While the exact mechanism is not known, it is thought that caffeine may block certain pain signals from reaching the brain.
Does Coffee Aggravate Arthritis Symptoms?
While there are benefits to drinking coffee, it could potentially aggravate arthritis symptoms. Factors like the type of arthritis, amount of coffee, and caffeine content all play a role in how it affects your joints. For some forms of arthritis, coffee can potentially increase your risk of developing the disease. However, it can be protective against other forms of arthritis. Here are some of the ways that coffee can affect your arthritis:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – Since coffee has several anti-inflammatory properties, it could potentially benefit those with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Reducing inflammation can help ease joint pain, and caffeine’s stimulatory effects can help combat mental and physical fatigue common with this condition.
- Osteoarthritis – Excess caffeine intake can negatively affect the growth of bone and cartilage, which can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
- Gout – Coffee can help reduce uric acid in the body. Gout flares are associated with high serum uric acid levels. Consuming coffee in moderation may help individuals with gout.
In most cases, caffeine intake is not contraindicated when taking medications for arthritis. However, coffee can influence how you feel on those medications. For example, coffee’s stimulatory effects may make the insomnia side effects of prednisone worse but can potentially reduce intolerance to medications like methotrexate. If you live with arthritis, you may want to consider limiting your coffee intake or avoiding it altogether. While there are some potential benefits to drinking coffee, there are also some potential risks. Talk to your doctor about whether or not drinking coffee is right for you.
How Can Physical Therapy Help Arthritis?
Arthritic joints can interfere with your daily comfort, mobility, and quality of life. While it’s tempting to avoid movement when you’re in pain, arthritic joints will only feel worse if you leave them motionless for too long. Physical therapy at Free Body Physical Therapy is the ideal solution to this problem. Our dedicated staff will teach you strengthening exercises and stretches that help reduce arthritis pain and improve your quality of life. Not only can this help reduce swelling and pain in your joints, but it can also help you maintain your joint health in the future.
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If you have arthritis and enjoy coffee, be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of drinking coffee with your doctor. If inflamed, stiff joints interrupt your life, Free Body Physical Therapy ,physical therapy Chicago IL, is here to help. Be sure to contact us today to learn more about our arthritis treatments and request an appointment!