Arthritis is a common condition affecting around 10 million people in the UK. Those with the condition often suffer with pain and stiffness of the joint as well as difficulty with performing daily activities. This can cause low mood and a sense of isolation. There are a number of different forms of arthritis, including inflammatory arthritidies such as rheumatoid, psoriatic or reactive arthritis but, in the majority of cases, people who are given the diagnosis of ‘arthritis’ have the condition ‘Osteoarthritis’.
Osteoarthritis is characterised by ‘wear and tear’ in the joint(s) of the body through normal ageing, but it can be accelerated and come on earlier in life through heavy and repetitive overuse of these joints. Factors such as genes, weight and a history of injuries or accidents of the joint(s) can also lead to osteoarthritis. It most often affects hips and knees but spines, hands, wrists and ankles are also frequently problem areas. Wear and tear causes thinning of the discs or cartilage between the joint bony surfaces and subsequent friction. Pain, inflammation and bony deposits (osteophytes) resulting from this causes the surrounding soft tissue to shorten and the person reduces use of the joint. This reduced mobility deprives the joint of adequate lubrication, drainage and nutrition and the muscles around the area can become inhibited and weak.
Although this may sound scary, it doesn’t mean that person is ‘over the hill’ or that they have to put up with it or that the only option to recovery is surgery or long-term strong medication. In fact there are many ways in which people with osteoarthritis can help themselves to lead an active life. Osteopaths can not only treat to ease the symptoms but can develop an action plan that works for you.
Advice to those with Osteoarthritis: