Written by Dr Yasmin Fitton, Osteopath
Often known as “degenerative changes” or ‘wear and tear’, osteoarthritis affects all of us to some degree as we get older.
Osteoarthritis is quite different to other inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid, psoriatic or reactive arthritis .
Research shows that manual therapy such as osteopathy can relieve pain, increase flexibility and improve quality of life for people with osteoarthritis , using gentle hands on treatment such as stretching and manipulation, as well as exercise, weight loss and pain meds to manage symptoms.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition which causes the smooth cartilage that lies within the joint to wear away.
Movement becomes more difficult when cartilage is damaged which can lead to pain, stiffness and inflammation.
Overtime, bony spurs (osteophytes) can develop within and around the joint making symptoms more severe.
In order to reduce pain and inflammation and increase joint flexibility, an osteopath will encourage better joint health by improving range of movement and increasing blood and lymphatic flow to and from the area.
By optimising function of related areas of the body, an osteopath can ensure loading of the painful joint is distributed evenly and strain patterns minimised.
For example, with treatment of the knee, alignment of the pelvis as well as ankle and foot dysfunction will be treated to take pressure of the knee by evening loading through the knee joint.
Osteopaths achieve this using a variety of techniques such as gentle articulation, soft tissue release and joint mobilisation. Rehab exercises would also be advised which can be done at home.
Similar principles would apply when treating any joint, and we can help reduce symptoms in the neck, back, shoulders, hips, knees, wrists and feet.
Book in with any of our osteopaths at Healthwise for a consultation, on how we can help you.