Suffering from Post-Viral Arthritis? Physiotherapy, Yoga Can Help

Posted by Arjun Viswanath on November 19th, 2016

Most viral fevers cause joint pains (called arthralgia), usually affecting the small and large joints of the patient’s upper and lower limbs. If the pain persists long after the fever is gone, then the condition may be called post-viral arthritis. Yoga and physiotherapy (hydrotherapy in particular) can help alleviate the pain. 

Post-viral arthritis may be caused by the dengue virus, enteroviruses, alphaviruses, hepatitis viruses including, cytomegalovirus, HIV virus, rubella and mumps viruses, Epstein Barr virus, herpes simplex virus, or variants of these. The condition should last no more than a few days. However, it may cause crippling symptoms and may even mask more serious types of arthritis. Proper diagnosis is, therefore, important. 

Most patients exhibit symptoms of post-viral arthritis in the later phase, usually when the fever has long subsided. They may experience swelling and pain in the joints in the legs and hands. Some patients also feel uncharacteristic stiffness in their joints, most notably in the mornings. 

In most cases, the blood’s parameters remain normal except for mild decreases in platelet and white cell counts. This is why post-viral arthritis is a clinical diagnosis, in most cases. Some patients exhibit elevated ESR and CRP. If symptoms last more than a few days, the doctor needs to rule out rheumatoid arthritis, undifferentiated arthritis, and other such conditions. 

In typical cases, doctors need to reassure the patient that the post-viral arthritis symptoms are unlikely to progress into a serious condition because they are self-limiting. Arthritis associated with viral infections do not lead to currently-recognised forms of chronic diseases and is therefore non-destructive. 

Physiotherapy and yoga have been shown to be useful in many cases of post-viral arthritis.

Mobilising, strengthening, and stretching exercises are often effective in keeping the joints working optimally. Post-viral arthritis causes muscle weakness and joint stiffness, thereby affecting a patient’s day-to-day activities. A physiotherapist can assess the muscle strength as well as the range of movement in the patient’s joints, and then advise on exercises and techniques to resolve the condition. 

A hydrotherapy pool is typically used so that the patient can perform the guided movements in warm water. Most patients find it easier to exercise in the water. The warmth soothes the muscles, and the water supports the weight of the patient, facilitating the movement of joints and muscles without strain. Hydrotherapy is also beneficial for those who have back pain, psoriatic arthritis, or osteoarthritis. 

About the Author: 

This article is written by Arjun Viswanath, the Clinic Director of London Physiotherapy and Wellness Clinic. London Physiotherapy and Wellness Clinic is an outpatient rehabilitation centre. Their staff includes clinical specialist physiotherapists and sports therapists. Their therapists have worked with all age groups and successfully helped them to recover from their injuries easily. They also offer special programs for youth athletics as well as for pregnant women.

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Arjun Viswanath

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Arjun Viswanath
Joined: April 26th, 2016
Articles Posted: 18

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