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Taking Charge of your Back: December 21, 2012

When Jackie Kelley’s back went bad, she took matters into her own hands, seeking help from a physical therapist.

“We started out with very, very gentle exercises lying on my back. Lifting my leg up just a little - one leg at a time, stretches, standing using leg weights,” says Jackie Kelley, arthritis sufferer.

Kelley has a common condition: back arthritis.

“Arthritis is a general term that means inflammation of the joints. Osteoarthritis is the wear and tear on the cartilage and the changes around the joint that is so common especially as we age,” says Kath Kinross, doctor of physical therapy with Lee Memorial Health System.

A physical therapist will assess the joints to determine the problem. Whether it’s loss of motion or lack of strength, they craft a plan to make that joint healthier. Beginning with alleviating the pain.

“On a small joint surface we might use ultrasound on larger joint surface we might use electric stimulation. And these help to get this pain settled down so you can do exercises that you need to,” says Kinross.

Kelley exercises several times a week now, and makes use of support devices that protect her back and better her posture.

“One of the things I learned from Kath is many people sit with their knees too high and that causes back problems. So this angle is important so your knees are lower then your hips,” says Kelley.

“It’s not just exercise; it’s learning the little things that aggravate the problems. We can teach them how to modify that so they don’t get the arthritis flared up again,” says Kinross.

The joint effort can put painful arthritis to rest.

“I would maybe sleep a couple of hours a night at the worse, now I sleep fine,” says Kelley.