Knee Arthritis Alternative Therapy Options
Physical therapy is a beneficial way to help diminish pain in the soft tissues, restore weakened muscles and improve knee and leg strength and mobility. The type of physical therapy and the duration will be dependent on the extent of your knee arthritis.
Acupuncture, massage or chiropractic sessions have also been known to reduce pain and improve muscle and bone alignment experienced with osteoarthritis.
Once your initial arthritis pain starts to decrease, a physiotherapist will also set up an individualized leg strengthening, stretching, range of motion and endurance exercise program for you to perform at home or in the gym based on your needs and abilities.
Individuals will often exercise or lift weights on their own to try and build up their strength; however in doing so, they can do more damage. It is extremely important to restore your joint movement, and to stretch and strengthen your muscles properly as they may have weakened during the period of non-use. A personal trainer or physio therapist will help to ensure your rehabilitation process is effective. For best, long-term results use STR Therapy treatments (via the Knee T•Shellz Wrap®) in conjunction with physical therapy and an exercise program that incorporates stretches you can do at home.
Natural Therapeutic Products
Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, managing the symptoms of pain and inflammation is possible. Using Soft Tissue Repair Therapy (via the Knee T•Shellz Wrap®) will improve blood flow within the knee joint.
By improving blood flow, a healthier environment in the knee joint is created and inflammation stays under control. As a result, your pain will be reduced allowing you to continue your rehabilitation and strengthening exercises in a more comfortable manner.
We recommend that you consult your doctor and/or physiotherapist before using any of our products, to make sure they're right for you and your condition.
To increase your comfort and prevent further damage you may want to use a splint, joint assistive aid, compression or stability knee brace, or a knee unloading brace (when one side of the knee joint is affected) which will help support the area and reduce stress on the injured tissue. These braces can be used until the injury is gone or during contact/active sports for additional stability. However they should not be worn at all times, as they can limit muscle development, cut off circulation and impede healing of your muscle tissue.
Shock absorbing insoles, heel wedges or orthotics can also help reduce impact and protect your joint from deterioration of osteoarthritis.
Evaluate how you use your knee in daily activities to determine if you can decrease stress on the arthritic tissue. This may involve changing your technique, using correct or supportive equipment (proper shoes, mobility aids) and/or implementing ergonomically-sound structures to help you perform your tasks more effectively and safely (prevent you from squatting or bending your knee as much). Taking more frequent breaks during your work or activities can also alleviate stress on your knee joint. Speak with an occupational therapist or a professional in your specific activity or work setting to get the proper information.
Self management is one of the most important things you can do to help treat the osteoarthritis in your knees. This involves eating well, educating yourself about arthritis and maintaining an active lifestyle, which will help you have a positive attitude to fight depression and anxieties that are associated with arthritis.
The best way to accomplish this is through:
- Weight loss and/or weight maintenance, which involves eating a balanced diet full of protein, complex carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants. This will help support a healthy system and will help you to maintain your weight. Limiting your caffeine, alcohol and nicotine consumption will also improve your health.
- Getting more physical; this allows you to burn energy and have an outlet for your emotions. Physical activity also releases endorphins (body's natural "feel good" chemicals), that produce a sense of well-being and positive attitude.
- Learning about living with osteoarthritis, restructuring your thinking and dealing with negative emotions; this will help you to distinguish fact from fiction. The unknown can be very scary, therefore adjust your thinking so it's reflective of your actual circumstances (not what think you know). This will allow you to look at things objectively and avoid making mountains out of molehills. The power of thought is very influential (you are what you think you are), therefore focus on what you can do, not what you can't do.
- Setting up realistic goals and working towards them; this permits you to focus your energy in constructive ways. The use of relaxation techniques, on-line arthritis support groups (ask your doctor about classes in the area or check with the Arthritis Foundation), or interactions with people who understand arthritis is also very helpful.