May is National Arthritis Awareness Month

By: Dr. Lindsay Weston, PT, DPT

Each year, May is recognized as National Arthritis Awareness Month. Arthritis is a condition that affects 350 million people worldwide and 50 million people in the United States, including 300,000 children. That’s 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 250 children in the United States. Arthritis is also the nation’s top cause of disability, costing $156 billion annually in medical expenses and lost wages. The effects of arthritis are not only devastating to individuals and families, but also to the nation’s economy. These numbers will continue to increase unless we take a stand.

The first step to combating arthritis is to know the facts:

There are 3 common types of arthritis

  • Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and occurs when the cartilage at the end of the joint wears down so that the painful bone nerve fibers are exposed.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the joints, specifically the synovium, which is the lining of the joints. This causes inflammation of the joints as well as an inflammatory response throughout the body. Over time, this systemic inflammation breaks down joint tissue to permanently damage the joint.
  • Psoriatic arthritis occurs in people with psoriasis. The immune system attacks the joint, causing swelling and pain not only to the joint but also the tendons and ligaments that attach to the bones.

Arthritis is not “an old person problem.”

  • Systemic juvenile arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects infants as young as 1 year old. Two-thirds of people with arthritis are under age 65, however, the risk increases with age with half of adults over age 65 experiencing arthritis.

Almost half of people with arthritis have another disease or condition.

  • 57% of adults with heart disease have arthritis.
  • 52% of adults with diabetes have arthritis.
  • 44% of adults with high blood pressure have arthritis.
  • 36% of adults with obesity have arthritis.

Arthritis is life impacting.

  • 23 million people in the United States with arthritis have limitations in their functional mobility, including walking, squatting, and climbing stairs. This limits their ability to work, their hobbies, and participation in daily life.

Physical therapy can reduce arthritis symptoms.

  • Physical therapy cannot reverse the damage to the joints caused by arthritis. However, it can reduce pain by improving bone alignment, strength, and movement patterns.
  • Physical therapy at Body Gears uses specialized Functional Manual Therapy TM techniques to realign joint surfaces to reduce friction against the parts of the joint where cartilage has worn down. Your Body Gears Physical Therapist then trains the muscles to activate in a way that supports the joint in its new alignment during the activities that cause pain, such as walking, stairs, and playing golf. After treatment, our highly skilled exercise technicians instructs you in exercises to improve the muscular imbalances that contribute to poorly aligned joints. This specific treatment combination creates lasting changes in the joints so that you can return to daily life with greater mobility.


If you or someone you know is experiencing arthritis related pain or dysfunction, call Body Gears at (877) 709 – 1090 or schedule an appointment today.



“Arthritis Facts.” Arthritis Statistics and Facts. Arthritis Foundation, n.d. Web. 12 May 2016.

“May Is National Arthritis Awareness Month – News.” News. Arthritis Foundation, 07 May 2015. Web. 12 May 2016


aw2016logo May is National Arthritis Awareness Month

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