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Team-based Care for Arthritis can Unlock your Body’s Full Potential

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, you may be concerned that you’ll need to limit your lifestyle. Maybe you already have. However, given the right guidance and support you can truly thrive.

So, book your dream vacation and we’ll get you there. Just ask one of my clients. We will call her “Laura” for privacy.

Laura suffered from significant spinal osteoarthritis and pain that prevented her from travelling. In fact, it was painful for her to even get out of bed, so travelling seemed like a very distant goal. Yet, after a few short months working together, she was able to fly to Italy and do all the touring she wanted without any assistance.

Her success took perseverance, commitment, and the right support team.

While your goal may not include an Italian adventure, you may hope to get back to a pain-free daily walk or comfortably lift your grandchildren. These goals are attainable and sustainable for long term comfort and mobility.

Why exercise therapy helps

Although joint pain may be a barrier to regular physical activity, exercise has been shown time and again to be the best treatment for pain and physical function for eight key reasons.


  1. Increases the synovial fluid (joint oil, if you will)
  2. Strengthens the supporting muscles, taking pressure off the affected joint
  3. Increases circulation to the joint
  4. Helps maintain a healthy body weight, thereby reducing strain on the joints
  5. Releases endorphins that reduce stress and pain, and boost your mood
  6. Promotes improved sleep and energy
  7. Retrains the brain’s response to pain, lowering the perception of pain over time
  8. Improves muscular strength, balance, and mobility to help reduce the risk of falls

It can feel overwhelming to start a physical therapy program when you’re in pain, but the results are worth it. With support and a tailored plan, you can slow the progression of osteoarthritis and possibly avoid surgical interventions.  

Best exercises for osteoarthritis

The Osteoarthritis Research Society International, American College of Rheumatology and Arthritis Foundation all promote programs consisting of either strengthening, aerobic, balance and/or neuromuscular exercises across all affected joints – regardless of existing health conditions. Additionally, exercises like Tai Chi or Yoga are recommended as core treatments for arthritis, highlighting the importance of holistic well-being.

To see benefits, walking, swimming, or other aerobic activities should be done at least 150 minutes per week, plus 2 sessions of strength training. For greater results, meeting a minimum of 6000 steps per day has even been shown to delay functional limitation on the joints.

These general recommendations provide a basis for effective therapy. Unlocking your body’s potential requires customized therapy that starts where you’re at and progresses with you.

Unlock your potential with one-on-one therapy

At Harrison Healthcare, we begin by getting to know you and your medical history, including a complete full-body movement assessment to evaluate asymmetries or limitations in movements. We pay special attention to movement that causes pain or discomfort.

From here we can start to design your unique program based on how you will see the most improvement.

For some, like Laura, this will begin with highly supported movements.

Laura progressed from supported, bed-based exercises and stretches to unilateral exercises (single limb) within 6 to 8 sessions.

We progressed her range of motion week by week, increasing strength and tolerance through full functional range of motion. This was combined with 20 to 30 minutes per day of moderate walking or recumbent step aerobics. Her hard work and persistence was rewarded a few months later when she comfortably navigated walking tours and the many charmingly uneven stairs in Italy.

This was all done alongside her physician, who helped manage her pain, and her dietitian, who made specific, supportive dietary recommendations.

Like Laura, my clients often combine their physical therapy with expert care from their physician for pain management, and their dietitian to help them reduce inflammation through a personalized nutrition plan. Since osteoarthritis is an inflammatory condition, it’s believed that focusing on an anti-inflammatory diet can help increase the longevity of your joints, while reducing pain.

Find your healthy, pain-free life

 While arthritis is a chronic condition for which there is no cure, finding relief and living a healthy, active, and pain-free life is very possible.

If pain and lack of mobility have led you to limit your movement or stop doing the things you love, it’s time to seek out an approach that can help you live comfortably and actively for years to come.

So, don’t forego that dream adventure or your daily enjoyments. Arthritis doesn’t have to change your life. Together we can get you moving forward.


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: 403-879-7000

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  : 604-753-6000

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All services offered by Harrison Healthcare Inc. are for Canadian residents, and information provided on this site should not be considered solicitation for residents of other countries.

We would like to acknowledge with gratitude that we operate on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations in Vancouver, and of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina, the Mountain Nakoda Nations, and the Métis Nation (Region 3) in Calgary. With appreciation, we recognize that these lands have been stewarded by them since time immemorial.

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