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 joints. 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.
What to do?
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 and encouraging improved mobility. Soft tissue massage can help to relieve tension in the muscles surrounding the joint, this can often improve the mobility as well.
We can advise on exercise which has been shown to be one of the most effective ways of reducing arthritic 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.