Physical therapy can help relieve—and prevent—joint pain related to psoriatic arthritis.
"The physical therapist's goal is to make sure that you have a pain management program, number one, and also that you have a routine to keep your body moving and in tip-top shape so you don't have any more stress than possible on your joints," said Andrew Gorecki, a physical therapist (PT) at Superior Physical Therapy in Traverse City, Mich.
Here are five tips for making physical therapy an affordable and more convenient part of your pain management plan:
- Make a strong connection with your PT. Find somebody who uses a whole-body approach to your therapy. This person should "appreciate how things are interconnected and will spend one-on-one time with you," Gorecki said. Be sure to tell your PT about your lifestyle and the activities you want to keep doing.
- Work on insurance concerns together. Understanding your insurance coverage and talking it through with your PT is helpful for everyone involved, he said. A good clinic will be upfront with how its physical therapists can work with your insurance coverage. For example, you may want to base how often you visit your physical therapy on your copay. There's a big difference between a per-visit copay of $40 versus no copay.
- Take advantage of clinic resources. Ultimately, your physical therapist should give you enough instruction and help that you can continue exercises at home even after you've maxed out on the number of annual visits you get, Gorecki said. At his clinic, this means providing patients with videos so they can re-visit the exercise routines on their own time.
- Be patient. Quality physical therapists will develop a plan for you, and these consistent sessions will pay off over time. "A couple of days a week, for four to six weeks—that's plenty of time for a program. It takes time, but it shouldn't be drawn out."
- Introduce your rheum to your PT. A physical therapist who partners with your rheumatologist is ideal, Gorecki said. "The team approach is best," he said. "I can teach patients what it is they should do and what exercises are safe in periods of remission and when they're feeling good, and then also in periods of flare-up, so they don't have to rely on pain medication."
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