What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is often described as “wear and tear” or rheumatism. It commonly affects the neck, lower back (spondylosis), hips, knees and hands.
Symptoms include stiffness, joint swelling, loss of mobility and pain. Many people think “hip pain” is felt in the buttock but actually arthritis in the hip is more commonly felt in the groin or knee.
How do you know if you have Arthritis?
Pain of arthritis is caused by a low grade, chronic inflammatory process in the joint as the cartilage (shock absorber in your joints) is worn down and the joint surfaces rub together. The muscles around the joint can also tighten up, through altered walking patterns and can become painful as a result. It isn’t unusual for patients to complain that the pain and stiffness go through ”phases” –increased activity or a new activity you aren’t used to, changes in weather and stress are common aggravating factors.
If you are concerned you may have arthritis please consult your G.P. who will be able to examine you or refer you to get an accurate diagnosis.
How can Osteopathy help treat the symptoms of Arthritis?
Osteopathy cannot treat the arthritis itself but can be very effective at relieving the symptoms, improving joint range of movement, mobility and treating restrictions or dysfunction in other areas of the body, which may be putting the affected joint under increased pressure. Exercises and even dietary advice can also be helpful to relive pain associated with arthritis and improve mobility – allowing you the freedom to continue with the things you enjoy in life.
If you have other more specific forms of arthritis such as rheumatoid, psoriatic or ankylosing spondylitis, Osteopathy may also be able to help reduce your discomfort and can be tailored so it is very gentle; taking into account the other complications that may co-exist.
Osteopathy is a physical therapy which uses manual (hands-on) techniques to diagnose and treat structural and mechanical dysfunctions of the body, without the use of drugs or surgery. Soft tissue massage, joint and muscle stretches are used to improve range of movement and reduce pain and stiffness in the muscles, joints, bones, ligaments, tendons and nerves.