Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain, swelling, inflammation and often stiffness in the joints of the body. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, but there are many other types including ankylosing spondylitis, gout, psoriatic arthritis and reactive arthritis. Certain types of arthritis can also affect children. Common areas affected include the hips, knees, feet, hands, and spine.
Everybody gets grey hair and wrinkles as we get older. In the same way, it is normal for our muscles, bones, joints and associated tissues to change as we age. Ageing does not necessarily mean that we will experience increased pain or stiffness. However, if this does become a problem, people often find that treatment and advice from an osteopath can complement GP care and pharmaceutical products. If you do begin to notice problems, our Osteopaths can work with you to keep you healthier, allowing you to enjoy the pleasures of life into your older years.
Pain - this can be at rest or during movement
Swelling - sometimes associated with redness
Stiffness or a creaking feeling in the joints, this is often worse in the morning
Decreased function of joints
Weakness and muscle wasting
While Osteopaths cannot ‘cure’ arthritis, we can help to reduce and manage the symptoms effectively. Gentle manipulative and massage techniques by osteopaths can help reduce the pain and symptoms experience in many arthritis sufferers. Treatment is individual, gently moving and stretching an arthritic joint, massaging surrounding muscles and tissues to help ease discomfort. Sometimes an osteopath may work on general mobility of the other joints and muscles in the body to help the mechanics of the body work better.
Rehabilitative exercises is a primary part of Osteoarthritis care, therefore at Back in Balance you will be guided through an exercise routine to help get you moving, increasing your mobility and strength whilst reducing pain. Osteopaths may also give advice on exercises, diet, posture and changes to lifestyle. X-rays, scans or other tests may be required and an osteopath may refer you to your GP for any additional investigations and treatment.
Arthritis is a condition that requires management of symptoms. Although we are not able to fully cure the condition, we are able to target different triggers that can make the condition worse. Many of us do not realise the influence of diet, stress and types of exercise that have an effect on the progression of arthritis. It is important to fully understand how one can manage the condition before it begins to effect our daily living tasks.
150 minutes of exercise per week, in blocks of ten minutes or more (enough to make you warmer and breathe harder, whilst still being able to have a conversation) can help reduce the risk of circulation problems and falls. It can also help to improve your mood and levels of confidence. This might include activities such as dancing or brisk walking.
Doing some form of balance exercises twice a week can be recommend to help reduce the risk of falling, particularly if you are over the age of 65. Exercises will also be given to increase the strength of your legs and arms
The use of trainers or similar footwear can help absorb shocks and take the pressure off your knees, hips and spine when walking for longer periods. A short rest can help recover energy for the remainder of the day’s activities.