May 24, 2018

GLA:D Canada: Exercise for Osteo-Arthritis


Robyn is one of two certified GLA:D Canada therapists in Campbell River! Here is a little bit more information about the program:

The GLAD program has been shown in the research to benefit patients who present with mild to severe osteoarthritis (OA). Patients with mild OA present with intermittent symptoms which can include swelling in the knee or pain or a feeling of instability within the joint whereby the individual does not trust the joint during activities such as going up or down stairs. For many individuals this is the extent of the symptoms however for some these symptoms become progressively worse and more constant causing further limitations to movement and reducing their quality of life. It is these symptoms that lead to the changes in the functioning of the muscles that support the joint which then results in abnormal stresses to the joint.

The focus of the GLAD program is to maximize the muscle function in its supporting role of the joint. For individuals with severe OA changes, their muscle patterns have become abnormal over a period of time. As such changing these can be difficult and initially result in additional symptoms as the body adapts. The GLAD program works over the 12 sessions where patients can experience extensive improvements in their function.

However, symptoms may increase in the first couple of weeks as the muscles start to work in different ways. As patients move through this motor learning in the exercise sessions, the GLAD therapist will modify each of the exercises so that it challenges the muscles but limits the pain. For all patients, the joint pain should return to the previous level within 24 hours after the activity however the individual may feel a different type of pain from the muscles as they adapt to their new way of functioning.

Pain and symptoms are covered in the education sessions and it is therefore important that you attend where you will also be provided with the opportunity to ask questions about your symptoms. When you are considering participating in a GLAD program your therapist will talk to you about the program including the potential of additional symptoms and the need to attend all the sessions to experience the improvements. Throughout the program you need to monitor your symptoms and inform your therapist at the start of each session so that the exercises can be adapted to meet your specific needs.

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