There are many arthritic conditions. Of these osteoarthritis is the most common with 8.5 million people affected by it in the UK alone.
Also referred to as “wear and tear” osteoarthritis is the wearing thin of cartilage between our joints and the changes to the bones and surrounding soft tissues that occur as a result of this. The hands, spine, knees and hips are the most commonly affected joints.
You may experience joint pain, swelling and muscle tension in the affected area. Sometimes your condition will be fully diagnosed by x-ray or scan but usually your GP will recognise the condition from your case history and examining your joint. The usual course of treatment is anti-inflammatories or pain relief. Osteopathy can be used alongside treatment from your GP to help with joint mobility and strength.
Rheumatoid arthritis is less common but a more severe form of arthritis where the body’s immune system attacks and breaks down the joint often affecting the hands, feet and wrists. Joints are likely to be hot and swollen and often more than one joint will be affected. You may feel ill or have a fever with this type of arthritis. You should see your GP for this condition as it is managed differently to osteoarthritis.
How osteopathy might help
If your joints become stiff your muscles have to work harder to move them. Arthritic pain may be reduced by treatment aimed at gently taking the joint through its full range of movement. Soft tissue massage can help to relieve tension in the muscles surrounding the joint.
We can advise on exercise which has been shown to be one of the most effective ways of reducing athritic pain levels. The fact that arthritis is present in the joint cannot be changed but we can help you learn how to get that joint to function as well as it possibly can.
Case study of a patient with arthritis
A female patient in her 70’s attends the clinic twice a month for her “MOT”. Over the years she has had osteoarthritis diagnosed in her low back, both hips and her neck. Both of her hips have been replaced and she also had lumbar spine surgery. Inspite of her arthritis she tries to have a full and active life and enjoys gardening and looking after chickens and several dogs. Osteopathic treatment on a regular basis helps her to keep her pain levels down and her pain medication to a minimum. She feels that the regular treatment helps to keep her mobile and allows her to retain her independence and keep up her activity levels.