Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease of the synovial joints. It most commonly occurs in the weight bearing joints e.g. knees, hips, spine but it can also occur in shoulders, hands & feet and the jaw.
Common signs & symptoms of osteoarthritis are: pain on weight bearing, stiffness in a joint especially in the mornings and after periods of sitting, joints may appear slightly swollen, heat and there may be creaking noises in the joint – crepitus.
Damage from mechanical stress can cause impairment to a joint and if this joint is unable to repair itself fully, the damage will have a lasting effect – it is this process that is believed to be the primary cause of osteoarthritis. The damage to the joint could be from a trauma such as a fall onto the joint e.g. a slip where the person lands on their knee or it could be because of altered mechanics elsewhere e.g. a foot/knee problem on the left- could lead to increased strain through the right lower extremity, increasing the chances of osteoarthritis at the right hip or knee.
See below for details on how osteoarthritis can be managed and how by booking an appointment with a Brighton based osteopath such as Bright Osteopathy can help.
Management of Osteoarthritis.
To manage osteoarthritis well, it is important to have a multi-disciplinary approach, there is not a cure for osteoarthritis but there are many things you can do which could provide symptomatic relief.
- Keep Active!! Within limits of course! Movement is very important- this is what your joints and muscles are designed to do. Gentle walking & swimming are good activities to try and fit into your life. Often people with osteoarthritis find following a very active day their symptoms flare up, so it is good to find the right balance for you and don’t over do it.
- Weight Loss: if you are over weight it could be helpful to lose those few extra pounds, as this would reduce the pressure on your joints especially knees, hips and lower back. If you make your main goal to be more active, then this may just follow!
- Lifestyle Advice: Maybe having a walking stick for those long periods of walking or standing that you might not be able to avoid could be helpful. Aids at home could also make you life just that bit easier, these usually need to be more specific to the patient, depending on their home and the support they have there, so contact us for more specific advice.
- Pain Relief: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are the most common form of pain relief for osteoarthritis. Your GP will be able to recommend & advise on what pain medication is best for you.
- Manual Therapy: Such as Osteopathy could help with the secondary symptoms of osteoarthritis. As a joint becomes painful and stiff, the surrounding tissues e.g. muscles, ligaments and other joints such the lower back are relied on more & more. This may cause these structures to become tighter and painful. Gentle osteopathic treatment from a registered and professional osteopath could provide relief for some of these symptoms.
For more information on Osteoarthritis you can visit the Arthritis Research web page for some really go info www.arthritisresearchuk.org/osteoarthritis