Can Physical Therapy Help Autoimmune Disorders? Your Questions Answered

There are a lot of autoimmune and musculoskeletal disorders which make it difficult for people to move. The irony is that moving helps make these disorders less painful. So, how does one move more and hurt less? Can physical therapy help people with these disorders? These questions, and more, are answered below.

Will I Not Hurt More the Next Day If I Move More?

There is some concern that moving more (when you have an autoimmune or musculoskeletal disorder) may cause more pain the next day. The fact is that you need to gauge how much to move. For lupus and fibromyalgia patients, a half hour to forty-five minutes of walking outside or on a treadmill can help ease pain without overdoing it. For persons with muscular dystrophy or arthritis, sixty minutes a day is ideal in order to keep the muscles loose and pain-free. Everything, from what you eat to how much you move, is about moderation. 

Can Physical Therapy Help?

Absolutely! Physical therapy helps you move more and in ways you might not have previously considered. Sometimes the physical therapist has some forms of exercise that reduce the impact you feel, such as water aerobics where the buoyancy of the water supports your weight while you move. Pilates on a yoga ball is another form of exercise that keeps you moving without taxing your already taxed systems. Your physical therapist can also help you determine how much movement is therapeutic and helpful versus how much movement is too much for you.

What Happens If I Feel Worse After Moving?

If you suddenly feel worse after moving, you may have moved beyond your body's comfort levels. Additionally, you may have injured something, in which case a physical therapist is the perfect person to see because he/she can treat the injured area and help you to continue moving. The therapist could recommend a day or two off from moving more as well, but you should never stop moving if you want to curb pain and discomfort. If you have a severe injury, then you can stop moving and just follow through on physical therapy and the stretches the therapist gives you until you are healed.

When Will I Notice Feeling Different?

Exercise, even light exercise, produces endorphins in the brain. You may feel a difference in your pain levels the first day or a few days later with consistent moving and/or therapy sessions. It is different for everyone, but if you do not give up right away, you will begin to notice less pain and more freedom of movement in your body.