By Asiah Ahmed
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in joints. It can occur in one or multiple joints affecting any age.
Arthritis is an umbrella term for several conditions and there are many forms, the two most common being Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. In the UK, more than 10 million people have arthritis or other similar conditions that affect the joints.
Osteoarthritis Vs Rheumatoid Arthritis
• Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease (wear and tear) affecting the repair process of the articular cartilage (found on the bone surface of a joint
• Risk factors include ageing, genetics, trauma, existing inflammatory or metabolic conditions
• OA usually occurs over the age of 50, though may be seen as early as age 30
• Symptoms: stiffness in the joints, aggravated by excessive use, usually affects the large joints such as the knee, hip or articulations in the spine (though often affects the joint at the base of the thumb),decreased range of motion, crepitus (clicking or noisy joints), muscle weakness and joint deformities
• OA is usually diagnosed based on clinical symptoms and possible imaging
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
• RA is an autoimmune condition (where the body attacks its own cells) and causes persistent inflammation in joints and affects general health
• Risk factors: genetics (particularly if first degree relatives have this condition), age, trauma, previous infection
• RA occurs in those aged between 30-50 and is more common in women
• Symptoms: stiffness for more than an hour in the morning, symptoms ease with activity, redness and swelling of joints, RA mainly affects the small joints on both sides of the body, decreased range of movement, muscle weakness and pain, fever and fatigue
• RA is a diagnosed using a blood test, clinical symptoms and imaging
How can osteopathy help?
Osteopathy takes a holistic approach to help individuals continue with their daily activities by maintaining symptoms.
Manual therapy: To improve muscle function, encourage more joint movement by improving adjacent joint health and improving fluid drainage of the affected area and thus decreasing pain.
Diet: Diet plays an important role as some forms of arthritis occur due to inflammatory processes and so encouraging a diet with a reduced inflammatory input may help with maintaining symptoms.
Exercise: Your Osteopath will likely prescribe and advise on exercise. Maintaining general health through exercise can be important as it can allow improved muscle strength, flexibility and joint movement, which enables an individual to manage symptoms.
If you’d like to speak to a member of our team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can call us on 0208 088 0614, alternatively you can book a FREE consultation with our at osteopathywestlondon.com/booknow