Is Manual Therapy in Physiotherapy Effective for Arthritis Management?

man suffering pain in hand close up

Arthritis management physiotherapy involves a variety of physical therapy techniques aimed at relieving pain, improving joint mobility, and enhancing overall function for individuals with arthritis. It is a condition characterized by inflammation and stiffness in one or more joints, which can lead to pain and decreased mobility. Arthritis management in Edmonton plays a crucial role in managing arthritis by addressing these symptoms through exercise, manual therapy, education, and other modalities.

What are the Components of Arthritis Management Physiotherapy?

Here are some common components of arthritis management physiotherapy:

Exercise Prescription: 

Arthritis management in Edmonton designs specific exercise programs customized to the individual needs and abilities of the patient. These exercises typically aim to improve joint flexibility, strength, endurance, and balance. Range of motion exercises, stretching, strengthening exercises, and aerobic exercises may all be included in the program.


Various modalities like heat therapy, cold therapy, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and hydrotherapy may be used to alleviate pain, minimize inflammation, and improve joint mobility.

Assistive Devices: 

Our physiotherapists may recommend the use of assistive devices such as splints, braces, walking aids, or adaptive equipment to support and protect the joints during daily activities.

Functional Training: 

Functional activities and movements relevant to the individual’s daily life are incorporated into the treatment plan to enhance their ability to perform tasks and activities with less pain and difficulty.

Posture and Body Mechanics: 

Adjusting posture and instructing on proper body mechanics may decrease joint strain and mitigate additional damage.

Psychosocial Support: 

Living with arthritis in the fingers and knees can greatly influence an individual’s emotional well-being. Our registered physiotherapists may provide psychological support, counselling, and coping strategies to help patients manage the emotional aspects of their condition.


Our registered physiotherapist, who specializes in arthritis management in Edmonton provides education about arthritis, its effects on the body, and strategies for managing symptoms. This may include advice on joint protection techniques, ergonomic modifications, pacing activities, and self-management strategies.

Is Manual Therapy in Physiotherapy Effective for Arthritis Management?

Manual therapy can be effective for arthritis management when used as part of a comprehensive treatment approach. While manual therapy alone may not cure arthritis, it can help alleviate symptoms and improve joint function in conjunction with our physiotherapy interventions. Here’s how manual therapy can be beneficial for arthritis management:

Pain Relief: 

Manual therapy techniques like joint mobilization and soft tissue massage can help minimize pain by decreasing muscle tension, improving circulation, and promoting the secretion of endorphins, the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals. Here are some common manual therapy techniques used in arthritis management:

  • Soft Tissue Massage: Massage therapy can help relax muscles, reduce tension, and alleviate pain associated with arthritis in the knee. Techniques such as effleurage, petrissage, and friction massage usage can vary based on the particular requirements of each person.
  • Myofascial Release: This technique targets the fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds muscles and joints. Myofascial release aims to release tension and improve mobility in the affected area.
  • Trigger Point Therapy: Trigger points are hyperirritable spots within muscles that can cause pain and refer pain to other areas of the body. Our therapists use various techniques to release trigger points, such as sustained pressure or massage.
  • Stretching Exercises: Registered physiotherapists of Family Physiotherapy guide patients through stretching exercises to improve flexibility and range of motion in arthritic joints. Gentle stretching can help reduce stiffness in osteoarthritis joints and improve function.
  • Manual Traction: Traction techniques involve gently pulling or stretching the affected joint to relieve pressure and reduce pain. Traction can help improve joint alignment and reduce compression on nerves.
  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage: For individuals with rheumatoid arthritis or other forms of inflammatory arthritis, manual lymphatic drainage techniques can help reduce swelling and improve circulation. 

Improved Joint Mobility: 

Arthritis can result in stiffness and limited range of motion in affected joints. This is particularly evident in conditions like ankylosing spondylitis (AS), which primarily affects the spine and can cause significant stiffness and fusion of the vertebrae over time. Manual therapy techniques can help restore joint mobility by stretching tight muscles, breaking down adhesions, and improving the alignment of the joint surfaces.

Joint Nutrition: 

Certain manual therapy techniques, such as joint mobilization, may promote the movement of synovial fluid within the joint, which can help nourish the cartilage and improve joint health over time.

Adjunct to Exercise: 

Manual therapy can be used in combination with therapeutic exercise to optimize outcomes. By reducing pain and improving joint mobility, manual therapy can help individuals engage more effectively in exercise programs aimed at strengthening muscles, improving flexibility, and promoting overall joint health.

Patient Satisfaction: 

Many individuals with arthritis report high levels of satisfaction with manual therapy interventions due to the immediate relief of pain and stiffness they experience during treatment sessions. 

Empowering Arthritis Management:

By employing techniques such as joint mobilization, manipulation, and soft tissue mobilization, manual therapy aims to alleviate pain, improve joint function, and improve the quality of life for individuals living with degenerative osteoarthritis. However, the effectiveness of manual therapy can vary depending on individual factors, and treatment should be tailored to accommodate the unique requirements and preferences of every patient. Family physiotherapy in Edmonton helps individuals with arthritis create an individualized treatment strategy that addresses their unique symptoms and goals, ultimately helping them effectively manage their condition and enhance their overall health and wellness.

Consult with our registered physiotherapist today and discover the rejuvenating effects of this manual therapy technique. Whether you’re looking to alleviate pain, improve mobility, or enhance overall function, Family physiotherapy offers a holistic approach to arthritis management. 

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