Causes of Arthritis and the Need for Physical and Occupational Therapy

A look at the causes of arthritis can highlight the need for physical and occupational therapy. There is no single reason why a person can be afflicted with arthritis. Research and various studies conducted have shown that there are various causes of arthritis.

causes of arthritis

The causes of arthritis are hereditary in most cases.

The Primary Causes of Arthritis

Causes of Arthritis #1 – Heredity

There are more than 100 known types of arthritis and studies indicate that only a few of them are hereditary in nature. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are two very common forms of arthritis. However, they are not regarded as being hereditary in nature. On the other hand, gout and ankylosing spondylitis show a tendency to be hereditary.

Causes of Arthritis #2 – Weight

A tendency to be overweight often leads to development of arthritis. This is because the joint has to support a lot of excess weight and this wears off very fast. According to CDC data, 66% of adults with doctor diagnosed arthritis are overweight or obese. Research done by Framingham Osteoarthritis Study and published in Arthritis Rheum showed that overweight women who lost as little as 11 pounds reduced their risk of getting arthritis by as much as 50%.

arthritis pain

As people grow older the chances of getting arthritis pain increases considerably

Causes of Arthritis #3 – Age

As people grow older, they are more likely to get arthritis. This is because the cartilage becomes brittle with age. It also loses its capacity to repair itself, leading to joint damage and arthritis. According to published NHIS data, in the years 2007-2009, 50% of adults of 65 years and more in the US reported arthritic conditions. According to an article published in Arthritis and Rheumatism 2006, by the year 2030, 67 million Americans of 18 years and above are projected to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

Causes of Arthritis #4 – Previous Injury, Infection or Illness

Joint infections or injuries to the joint can lead to the onset of arthritis. Injuries such as fracture, ligament tear or tendon injury can be the cause of arthritis. Very often, bacterial and viral conditions which cause Chlamydia and mumps leave patients with arthritis.

Arthritis Pain and Physical Therapy Benefits

physical therapy benefits

The ability to strengthen muscles around weak joints are one of the many important physical therapy benefits.

Arthritis can lead to crippling pain which affects normal day to day activities. Arthritis patients often suffer from inflammation, pain, swelling and tenderness of the joint. The joint is often stiff and inflexible, affecting their mobility. Arthritis relief can be found with physical therapy.

  • Physical therapy helps to strengthen the muscles around the weak joint. The joint thus finds greater support leading to enhanced flexibility and mobility.
  • Physical therapy also teaches arthritic patients on how to use their joints in the correct manner. It spells out how to make specific movements. As a result, the stress on the joints reduces and the patient experiences relief.
  • By teaching patients on how to use their joints correctly, physical therapy is able to improve the functioning of the joint. This combined with better pain management can help prevent surgical interventions.

Arthritis Pain and Occupation Therapy Benefits

Occupation therapy is different from physical therapy as it does not work on treating the joint.

  • Occupation therapy involves on-site assessment and making changes in the home and work environment of patients suffering from arthritis.
  • The environments are modified and changed so that arthritic patients can carry out their normal day to day activities without too many problems.
  • This easing of conditions will help to reduce stress on the joint and this provides arthritis relief.
  • The occupation therapist will also suggest appropriate devices or aids that can help improve patient mobility and functionality. This may include walkers, canes or crutches.

Arthritis can often leave a person completely crippled. However, appropriate treatment accompanied by physical and occupational therapy can ensure relief from arthritis pain. It can also bring about significant improvements in quality of life. Identifying the causes of arthritis and taking preventive measures is what you should primarily aim to do.


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