Arthritis describes a condition of inflamed and swollen joints. Advanced arthritis results in the painful breakdown of cartilage – the body’s natural cushion between bones.
Arthritis symptoms range from being mild to completely disabling, depending on the type and the severity. It falls into two broad categories:
- Osteoarthritis: Often described as the "wear and tear" type of arthritis, osteoarthritis is a problem of the cartilage, the tissue that provides cushioning and lubrication between bones. With age and use, cartilage can break down and the bones will rub against one another without protection. That causes stiffness, pain and limited mobility in the joints.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by long-term inflammation of the lining of the joints. The inflammation damages the joint tissue. That can cause pain and disability. The causes of rheumatoid arthritis are not well understood. However each year brings new hope for victims – as drug therapy, joint protection and exercise techniques improve.
How rehabilitation can make a difference
Rehabilitation therapy can make a real difference and enhance other forms of treatment. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control recommends rigorous physical activity for arthritis.
Although there isn’t yet a cure, HealthSouth's arthritis rehabilitation program can enhance medical treatment, focused on:
- Pain relief and management
- Increased mobility, strength, flexibility and dexterity
- Adapting for activities of daily living, such as grooming and cooking
- Maximizing independence
- Joint Protection and energy conservation
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