Arthritis affects quite a number of people in the UK – and a large proportion of our patients. The types of arthritis include:
Out of these conditions, the most common arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is basically a degenerative condition causing 'wear and tear' of the joints of the spine, hips, knees, feet and hands most commonly. It leads to pain, stiffness and tension and, particularly in the hands and feet, an increase in the size of the joint as bony regrowth occurs as the body attempts to stabilise the joint.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease causing chronic inflammation of the joints throughout the body. Systemic (body-wide) symptoms such as fever can also arise with this condition.
Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can been hereditary, however, particularly osteoarthritis, can also be triggered by chronic bad posture, heavy lifting or manual work and previous trauma or injury. Patients with arthritis often complain of joint pain, back and neck pain, early morning stiffness, swelling and inflammation, difficulty moving around or doing manual tasks and general muscle pain.
Unfortunately there is no actual cure for arthritis, however Osteopaths with treatment of the pain, swelling and stiffness, increase the range of movement of the joint(s) and give the patient exercises and lifestyle advice to enable them to manage the symptoms. Treatment would include soft-tissue massage, gentle traction, stretching and mobilisation of the joints. It is also advisable to try and heat the joints, either by having warm or hot baths or placing hot water bottles or heated wheat bags on the affected joints.