AIMEE PENHALE IS AN OSTEOPATH AT SWANSEA BODY KINETICS BASED IN SWANSEA. HERE AIMEE LOOKS AT THE COMMON CONDITION OF ARTHRITIS
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the U.K. It can affect any joint in the body with the most common being the hands, neck, knees and hips, and can seriously impact on a person’s ability to carry out everyday tasks. It happens because the surfaces within the joint become damaged (either due to long term wear and tear or due to previous injury to the joint) and the cartilage that would normally prevent the surfaces of the bone rubbing together wears away causing the bone surfaces to become rough and to develop bony spurs called osteophytes. As a result of this the tissues surrounding the joint will become inflamed as the body tries to protect the joint from further damage and it is this reaction that increases the pain and stiffness in the affected joint.
Causes of osteoarthritis
Age is an important factor in osteoarthritis. It is most common in older people but it can affect anyone over the age of forty. Women are more prone than men to developing osteoarthritis in the knees and hands and it is likely to be more severe for them. Being overweight also increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis as there is more pressure put on the joints, especially the knees, and it also means that existing osteoarthritis can be made worse. As mentioned previously, an injury to a joint will increase the chances of osteoarthritis developing as will years of heavy repetitive work as this speeds up the wear and tear of the tissues.
Treatment options for osteoarthritis
Common treatment options for this condition are painkillers and anti-inflammatories prescribed by the G.P. In more severe cases surgery to replace the affected joint (most commonly knee and hips) can be offered. Unfortunately these types of surgery are not always the miracle cure they appear to be, the recovery process can be long and painful and in the case of hip replacement can lead to the other hip needing to be replaced soon afterwards due to the alteration in a person’s gait causing increased wear and tear in a previously healthy joint! Manual therapy such as osteopathy can really help with this condition, in practice I have been able to reduce the pain and increase movement in the affected joints. Patients have also reported less reliance on painkillers and anti-inflammatories and that they are able to get a better night’s sleep after treatment. I use a combination of techniques such as mobilising the joint and working on the muscles surrounding it in order to relieve the pressure being exerted on it. Mobilisation increases the flow of nutrients into the joint improving the health of the tissues whilst soft tissue therapy relaxes muscles and improves their health.
Many patients find that after a few treatments they are able to resume hobbies that they had given up as they are able to do them without their arthritis “flaring up” and this increases their quality of life and wellbeing overall. In some cases patients have decided to not go down the surgery route as a maintenance treatment every month combined with exercises has made it unnecessary!
If you feel that we could help with this or any other musculoskeletal issues you may be having, contact us at www.swanseabodykinetics.co.uk or call 07540453280