Arthritis is a common condition which can cause 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.
Osteoarthritis is a result of wear and tear of the joints in the body. It is common in people over 50 and most commonly affects the joints of the knees, hips, neck and back, base of the toes and hands.
Osteopathy cannot reverse the damage already done to the joints but treatment can certainly ease the pain, reduce swelling, relieve the stiffness and restore some joint mobility. As a result of this there is often less reliance on medication.
Treatment aims to get the best out of the affected areas by improving the mobility of arthritic joints as far as possible. Associated joints and tissues may also require treatment to ensure that they are functioning well enough to take the extra strain and compensate for the damaged joint so maintaining good overall mobility.
In chronic cases it may not be the actual arthritic joint that causes most of the pain. The body often naturally tries to protect the joint by splinting it with muscle spasm and it is the muscles and soft tissues that are the source of the aches and pains. Osteopathic treatment can reduce this excessive muscle tension, ease the pain and improve movement.
How we can help with Arthritis?
The gentle manipulative and massage techniques from osteopaths can help some arthritis sufferers. Treatment is individual, gently moving and stretching an arthritic joint and massaging surrounding muscles and tissues can help ease some of the 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. Osteopaths may also give advice on exercises, diet, posture and changes to lifestyle.
X-rays, scans or other tests may be required and your osteopath may refer you to your GP for any additional investigations and treatment