For many individuals who suffer from arthritis, pain is a way of life. The joints that are affected by arthritis feel stiff in the morning, sore by the afternoon, and downright painful in the evening. Arthritis is most common among the elderly, but young people may also be susceptible to it, depending on their habits and lifestyle. The condition can strike nearly anywhere in the body, and without proper treatment, the joint can degenerate quickly, causing further pain and limitation. Luckily, however, there are numerous solutions available if you suffer from arthritis and joint pain.
One such solution is to purchase a brace. Some doctors and physical therapists even recommend braces to patients as an alternative to surgery. Although braces won’t stave off surgery for every individual, for some, finding and consistently using the correct type of brace can have a significantly positive impact on their quality of life. Daniel Baumstark, a physical therapist in Washington, DC, for example, recently commented on his use of braces for his own degenerative joint pain. “I can honestly say,” he noted, “that years of pain… has been essentially eliminated when I consistently use my braces.”
Braces provide quite a few benefits for the arthritis-stricken wearer. First, they can help to keep the joint in place. This helps to keep the joint in proper alignment, which can reduce the ill effects of arthritis.
A brace can also help to reduce inflammation by realigning pressure on the sides of the joint. Because arthritis symptoms are exacerbated by inflammation, this realignment proves to be incredibly helpful for some patients.
Braces can also serve to restrict movement for certain patients. If an individual has a particularly weak or injury-prone joint or one that causes pain when it is moved in a certain way, a brace can help to stabilize it, thus reducing pain and overuse.
Braces are available in nearly all styles for nearly every joint. Knee braces are especially common, but it is also easy to locate and purchase ankle, spine, elbow, and wrist braces. Most braces are available in many types, so it will help if you do some research before deciding on a brace.
Single piece sleeve braces, for example, are very common. They are usually made of neoprene, and they are effective at treating mild and moderate arthritis by providing support, compression, and warmth. More “heavy duty” braces are also available for those individuals who suffer from more severe arthritis. These can be purchased in many drug stores or online. You also have the option of asking your doctor or physical therapist about the possibility of a custom-made brace, one that is sure to meet your needs and address your pain.
As for the above-mentioned physical therapist, Daniel Baumstark, he utilizes flexible braces in the area of his body facing joint degeneration: his thumbs. He does offer one caution to patients who choose braces, however: Because the brace will be doing most of the “work,” the muscle surrounding the joint could lose some of its strength over time. Therefore, it is very important for you to perform gentle, low-impact strengthening exercises for the joints affected by arthritis.
This type of exercise could also have another benefit in and of itself, as studies have shown that exercise can reduce arthritis pain.
If you think a brace could be right for you or if you have questions about how to treat your arthritis pain, talk to a doctor or physical therapist today. If you’re in the Washington, DC area, consider contacting Daniel Baumstark or visiting his physical therapy office’s website at PhysioDC.com.
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