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Easing the Pain of Arthritis: October 1, 2012

Last May Jackie Kelley’s busy life took a backseat to arthritis.

“I suddenly developed hip pain, between the hip and the back. Very, very painful when I was sitting and horrible when I was laying down trying to sleep. It was just there all the time getting worse and worse, pain medicine didn’t help at all,” says Kelly.

The trouble spot was her lower left spine. The pain so excruciating she feared the worst.

“My mind immediately went to back surgery, that’s where I thought I was heading and it was nice to have another option way before that,” says Kelley.

That’s when Kelly met physical therapist Kath Kinross with the Lee Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness.

“Every day we have people come in here, restricted in distance they can walk, or the amount of activities they can do around the house or recreational activities they can’t maintain and by doing the physical therapy they are able to get through their day-to-day activities without pain,” says Kinross.

Osteoarthritis, which is the wearing away of cartilage around a joint, is the number one reason for joint replacement surgery. Focusing on the joint, making it strong and flexible is helping people take the pressure off.

“We try and build up a picture of what things we can do to help make that joint more healthy. If it’s a stiff joint we might do some hands-on movements or some exercises that try and restore flexibility. If it’s a situation where the muscles have gotten very weak we are going to try and do some exercises to strengthen that muscle. And very often it’s a combination of those things,” says Kinross.

Kelly learned a series of movements and exercises to practice at home.

Two months later, she was discharged; a new person.

“Oh I feel fantastic, we use a pain scale and I think I reported an eight or a nine pain scale and I have zero pain now. Zero,” says Kelley.

“The longer we can keep our own joints mobile and strong, the longer we can put off the more destructive changes of arthritis and therefore the longer we can put off needing joint replacements,” says Kinross. 

With a therapeutic work out, arthritis patients are making their joints work for them.