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Osteoarthritis  #BOP top tips  

Arthritis affects around 10 million people in the U.K. Those suffering with the condition will often feel pain and stiffness around 1 or more joints as well as difficulty performing everyday activities. This can cause low mood and a feeling of isolation.  

There are a number of different forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid, psoriatic or reactive arthritis. In the majority of cases (around 8.5 million) people in the U.K. 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.  

Although this might sound scary, 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 in the short term, but also create an action plan to keep you living a full and active life long term.  

Advice: 
Osteopathic treatment – NHS guidelines shows that, together with weight loss, pain medication (as appropriate) and exercise, Osteopathy can improve joint range of movement (both of the affected joint and related joints), relieve pain, promote better blood flow to the joint, increase flexibility and improve quality of life for those with Osteoarthritis. 

Stay active – research shows that gentle encouragement or, even better, strengthening of the muscles around the joint can really help ease the pain and keep the joint mobile. 

Try to avoid exercise or activity which puts a lot of weight through the arthritic joint.  For example, swimming or cycling are preferable over running if you have knee or hip arthritis. 

Stretching helps to keep the muscles supporting the arthritic joint(s) supple and mobile 

Stay positive – research shows that quite a number of people with arthritis showing on XRays or MRI scans are completely free of symptoms.  

If you would like a chat or some advice on how we can manage your osteoarthritis symptoms, give us a call at Bramhall Osteopathic Practice to find out how we can help you live better.

Chris Heywood (M.Ost)
Registered Osteopath